Recipe courtesy of Carla Hall

Strawberry Cupcakes with Macerated Strawberries and Peanut Brittle

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 18 cupcakes
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Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Peanut Buttercream:

Peanut Brittle:

Directions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin trays with 18 cupcake liners. In a small bowl, mix together the strawberry preserves, chopped fresh strawberries and lemon juice.
  2. Grind the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder using a coffee grinder or food processor. Sift together the strawberry powder, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Beat in half of the strawberry preserve mixture and the vanilla until just combined. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just combined after each addition. Evenly distribute the batter between the lined muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick can be inserted in the center of a cupcake and comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out the cupcakes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting: Beat the butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time to the desired consistency. Season with a pinch of salt, if desired.
  5. For the peanut brittle: Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Stir together the sugar, honey, water and salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar and honey are dissolved, about 30 seconds. Stir in the peanuts and cook, stirring often, until the mixture turns amber in color (or reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the butter until it is completely melted. Working very quickly, stir in the baking soda (the mixture will foam a bit). Immediately pour onto the prepared baking sheet; take an offset spatula, spray with cooking spray, and spread the peanut mixture over the baking sheet to create a thin, even brittle. Top with crushed freeze-dried strawberries, gently pressing down into the peanut mixture. Let the brittle cool until completely hardened, 15 to 20 minutes. Break into pieces.
  6. Using a paring knife, cut a 1/2-inch-deep piece from the top of each cupcake. Fill each hole with 1/2 teaspoon of the reserved strawberry preserves mixture. Then pipe the peanut frosting over that. Top with brittle pieces.

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