Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

As previously mentioned, school’s back in session.

This means malls are an absolute NIGHTMARE.

It’s truly unfortunate.

Today while being bored I decided, against my better judgment, to go waste some time in the heavily air conditioned mall and perhaps spend some money on unnecessary things. I completely forgot that the mall would be bombarded with pre-teens stocking up on Justin Bieber shirts, slutty moms stocking up on clothes their teen daughter shouldn’t even wear, and slews of strollers, slow-walkers, and PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE.

It made me re-evaluate some of my previously-held beliefs about people & malls. Here’s my update of what I’ve learned:

1. Strollers are cruel, leashes are not. I mean, strollers clog foot traffic and make everyone around the stroller-pusher secretly wish ill upon the baby inside of it, thus eliminating the need for a stroller if we eliminate the need for a baby being in the middle of a mall on a Saturday afternoon. It’s cruel for me to be held up in my quest to get costume jewelry at Forever 21 because mom and her stupid “Baby on Board” stroller are blocking my path. Conversely, children running around like rabid chickens with their heads cut-off don’t make foot-traffic easier. Even though most find kid-leashes demeaning, I would actually like to personally congratulate all parents who have one on being proactive… and for publicly humiliating their annoying child. Now can you move out of my way, I need a Wetzel’s Pretzel.

2. I hate teenagers. Hate them. I was a teen, too, but I don’t remember bumbling around the mall like a complete imbecile, making a huge ass out of myself in public. Why teens think this is okay, I will never know. Irregardless, when these teens inevitably fall to the cruelty of the trendy school bullying, I won’t feel bad. In fact, I was kind of hoping some bully would come out of nowhere and steal their lunch money, just so I could (albeit somewhat sadistically) watch them cry. Cruelty teaches kindness sometimes, like that one quote.

3. Don’t let people bully you out of your parking spot. I was waiting for a couple to approach their car when I realized I was parked in front of it. When I went to reverse, some beeyatch behind me refused to move. Obviously, I was blocking in the people whom I needed to leave to take their spot… but the Honda Civic behind me tried her hardest to bully me out of my spot by refusing to move. While normal people would cave from the pressure, say ‘screw it’, and drive off to find something else while Queen Bitch got the easy way in, I backed up dangerously close to her precious little car, allowing justenough room for the couple to exit before I squeezed into the spot. She wasn’t too fond of me at that point, decided to slowly drive by and give me the finger, to which I yelled some very inappropriate obscenities, returned the finger-flipping-favor, and happily traipsed to H&M. Bitch.

4. Under no circumstances, Hayley, do you EVER work retail again. I did it once and realized I had dug myself a very deep hole where, for 3 loooooong months, I wished I could shoot myself in the face with the sensor-tagging gun. Whenever I shop, I’m careful to pay attention to the hard-working clothes-folders of the world by carefully replacing items I’ve grabbed and no longer want or gently extracting my size from the middle of a neatly-folded pile… because at one point, I was the girl who spent two and a half hours perfectly folding sweaters to have some fat skank rip out a large off the bottom and ruin my creation. Going to the mall only reinforces my promise to myself to never, ever return to the evil world of working retail. Even for the discount.

5. You’ll usually be one of the most uniquely-dressed people there. Surprising, since I was only wearing a plain white shirt and some cut off jean shorts with Converse. But since most people (especially in my town, an upper-middle class city where looks and money dominate) spend approximately 2.5 hours to strategically place those ugly feathers in their hair, make themselves look effortlessly frumpy with their $100+ clothes from Urban Outfitters and strap on their highest heels to walk around all day, YOU, the person wearing a simple shirt and shorts, look the most unique there. Must be the lack of feathers; I’m so unfashionable.

After these realizations, I sped the hell out of the mall, came home and made cupcakes. If I’d stayed there any longer, I probably would have turned into the Incredible Hulk and ripped some people apart. Then it would be embarrassing, since I’d be naked, and no one wants to see a large naked chick ripping humans apart in the mall.

So I left and made Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes.

It made me realize I truly love pb&j sandwiches, despite my tumultuous, love-it-or-hate-it relationship with peanut butter.

I made these with grape jelly, #1 because my family either eats green jelly or grape jelly, and grape sounded better here; and #2 because I don’t think we’ve ever owned a jar of strawberry, raspberry, or apricot jelly. We’re pretty true-to-grape here, but you can use whatever berry jelly you have on hand.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1 small box sugar free/fat free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup grape jelly
Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe & ingredients follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with 24 paper liners. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. Beat in dry pudding mix until combined. Equally portion batter into muffin cups, about 2/3 full, and bake, approximately 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
2. Using a small paring knife or the wide-ended bottom of a frosting tip, carefully carve out a small hole in the center of each cooled cupcake. Do not cut through the entire cupcake. Eat or discard the cupcake innards (I strongly prefer the former).
3. Using a small teaspoon, spoon a little grape jelly into each cupcake well, filling to the top but not over-filling it. You should have extra jelly leftover; that’s for the topping.  Set aside. Prepare frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 c milk (if needed, mostly to thin out and make the frosting creamier if it becomes to stiff/thick)
About 6 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together softened butter and peanut butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting comes together. Frosting will be very thick and may begin to ball up; if this happens, add a small teaspoon of milk to blend it together, and continue to add more powdered sugar. End result should be a stiff but spreadable frosting that shouldn’t fall easily off of the beater.
2. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, making sure to start your pipe in the center of the jelly-filled cupcake to cover the filling and the hole completely. Using the back of a 1/2 teaspoon, make a small dent in the top of the icing and spoon with a small bit of remaining jelly on top. Store covered in fridge and eat at room temperature.

Mm. What makes it even better is the lack of annoying teenagers, stroller-pushing moms and mean parking lot bullies and the surplus of awesome peanut butter frosting, yummy vanilla cupcakes and grape jelly filling.

You best make these now, because you never know when you’ll have a revelation that requires the attention of a PBJ cupcake to soon follow.

Have a good weekend!

xo, Hayley

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