In France, Halloween isn’t a very big deal, and so it’s one of the few times that I allow myself to be super-American. I got dressed up as a vampire, went out to a Canadian bar with a bunch of Americans from my school and basically allowed myself, for one night, to be everything that I hate about American ex-pats living in France: loud, boisterous and ultra-American.
My obsession with Halloween did have one good side-effect, however: I bumped baking Saturdays to baking Fridays in order to make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, the recipe for which I found over at Peabody’s site. She fills them and frosts them with ganache, but by the time I had gotten through the fiasco that was baking the things (baking in my tiny Paris kitchen is often a fiasco), I decided to use the filling as a frosting instead.
You can find the recipe on Peabody’s site, but I made a few changes. I only had sweetened baking chocolate, so I used that and cut the sugar in the recipe to a quarter cup. I also added about a half-shot of espresso when I added the boiling water (you could also use espresso powder). These changes left the cupcakes sweet, but not cloying, and topped with the frosting, they were the perfect Halloween treat.
The pumpkin toothpicks and cupcake wrappers that my mom brought back from the States helped too.