a tragedy of peanut butter-ian porportions
19 March 2011 1 Comment
Those of you who follow this site’s twitter feed know I’ve been on something of a chocolate peanut butter kick lately.
First there was the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Bomb cupcakes – chocolate cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting and salty chocolate peanut butter ganache.
Next there were Stuffed Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, made by wrapping David Lebovitz’s Peanut Butter Cookie batter around Brown Eyed Baker’s Better Than Brownies chocolate cookie dough (and, yes, drizzling them with a bit of that leftover salty chocolate peanut butter ganache - I got a lot of mileage out of that cupcake recipe!).
At this point I should probably confess that my jones for chocolate and peanut butter is not exactly recent, unless you consider the better part of the last three decades recent. Even this early Reese’s ad campaign from my childhood couldn’t dampen my ardor and, I assure you, it was only slightly less weird and creepy when it originally aired.
(I had originally planned to make a joke here about being soothed as a baby with a chocolate peanut butter pacifier, but you don’t want to know what comes up when you google “chocolate pacifier” – believe me, the Reese’s commercial was the least appalling choice) ( But really, why is she randomly walking down the street chowing down on a jar of peanut butter? Why is she eating it with her fingers? Why would she pull something a stranger dropped into her food out and start eating it? WHY???)
In other words, I like to think of myself as someone who knows their way around some chocolate and peanut butter. And when I noticed that Starbucks had little mini chocolate peanut butter cupcakes (and that one of the top Google hits for this blog was “Starbucks Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake”), I felt duty-bound to give their Peanut Butter Mini Cupcake a try.
On first inspection, it certainly looks adorable. A tiny chocolate cupcake with a swirl of peanut butter frosting topped with a chunk of peanut butter cup.
The taste starts out with a decent peanut butter flavor from the frosting, but the cake itself is dry and the whole thing is pretty quickly overwhelmed by an odd, artificial flavor. I also take a bit of an issue with the whole “little treat” campaign. Sure, these things clock in under 200 calories and at about 10g of fat. That’s comparable to, say, about half a regular Starbucks chocolate chip cookie or a bit less than a small order of fries from McDonalds. But keep in mind that the mini cupcake is, well, mini. It’s small – 44 grams – think about an ounce and a half (or, you know, a mole of carbon). And it doesn’t really taste all that good. I mean, congratulations on creating a mini dessert that weighs less than 20 cents of pocket change, has as many calories as a serving of steak, and tastes kind of crappy.
When you consider that 30 grams of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (2 regular sized cups; 160 calories, 9g fat, 16g carbohydrates) have the same calories but less fat and carbohydrates than the Starbucks mini, I’d skip this one when you stop to grab coffee and look elsewhere for your chocolate peanut butter fix.
…Hey come to think of it, half of one of these massive chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and salty chocolate peanut butter ganache also has less fat, calories, and carbs than the Starbucks mini. And yep, it does go great with coffee. So I guess that’s three great tastes that taste great together. Suck on that, Reese’s.
Starbucks Mini Peanut Butter Cupcake
Bottom Line: Cute, tiny mouthful of chemically peanut butter and dry chocolate cake. Calories 180, 10g fat, 21g carbohydrates.
The verdict: Make a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, try out this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from Smitten Kitchen, or just eat a darn Reese’s cup, because unless you’re about to stab someone in the eye if you don’t get a chocolate peanut butter fix, these mini-cupcakes are so not worth it.