The Brownie Doctor: Parent Trap Brownie Cupcakes

Aka "Papers Suck and I Desperately Need Some Brain Food Brownies."

With the onset of the Christmas season comes the onset of its nemesis, cause of crushed  rather than 'tis the season spirits: finals.

Luckily, I have a prodigious arsenal of antidotes, a large number of which start with "brown" and end in "ie."


Do you guys remember this pivotal scene from The Parent Trap? When Annie James and Halley Parker begin to connect the dots that will lead them to finally realize the (obvious, but just go with it) fact that they're twins, and it all starts with a single delicious catalyst: their mutual quirky love for oreos and peanut butter?


That movie is such a childhood classic. Actually, scratch that. I STILL love this movie! In fact, Audrey and I just watched it together over Thanksgiving. And yes, there were oreos and peanut butter involved ;)

That's where the inspiration for these brownies came from. It starts with a brownie base, which is topped with an oreo spread with peanut butter. Like so:



Then the oreos are liberally covered in another layer of brownie.


Finally, the baked brownies are topped with a generous dollop of peanut butter frosting. And sprinkled with mini chocolate chips, if you're feeling fancy. I was.


Or you can skip the frills and just get down to the delicious business of stuffing these in your face. In fact, that's my prescription for all students that have to endure finals season before they can enjoy the holiday season.

Because these brownies are pretty dang yummy. And their combination of salty + sweet is what brain food is made of. Trust me. You may not know this, but I'm actually a double major in English and Psychology, with a minor in Stress Eating. I know what I'm talking about.


- Molly

Parent Trap Brownie Cupcakes

Brownies:

one box brownie mix of choice
12 oreos
peanut butter

Mix brownie batter as per box instructions. Fill the cupcake liners 1/3 full. You might want to start out only filling 6 or 9 of the liners. Because there's an oreo in the middle that needs to be completely covered, each cupcake requires a lot of brownie batter; you don't want to run out and up with insufficient batter to cover your oreos!

Spread a desirable amount of peanut butter on top of each of the 12 oreos, then nestle one oreo atop the batter in each liner. Divide remaining brownie batter evenly between cupcakes. Make sure batter fully covers oreo, especially along the sides.

Because these are cupcakes, not pan brownies, the box directions for baking time are more of a guideline. I ended up baking mine for 25-30 minutes, but this may differ depending on how many cupcakes you made and what mix you used.

While the cupcakes are baking, make peanut butter frosting (recipe to follow). When brownies are completely cool, frost generously. Pro tip: This frosting also tastes very good on a spoon. 

Enjoy while watching The Parent Trap, letting the wholesomeness of the movie and your snack serve as a reminder to follow Halley Parker/Annie James's examples and stick to simple, clean-living indulgences like oreos and peanut butter, not become a hot mess like miss Lindsey Lohan.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
**Note: These measurements are halved from the original Cake Mix Doctor recipe, the better for frosting 12 cupcakes verses an entire cake!

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff. Don't be afraid to play with proportions. These are by no means hard and fast measurements. If you want the peanut butter flavor to be stronger...add more peanut butter. If you like sweeter or thicker frostings...add more sugar. If you like smoother, thinner frostings, add more milk. I don't believe in settling for less than perfection. So play around until you have your perfect peanut butter frosting!