When I first heard that The Peanuts Movie was in development, I was all full of mixed emotions. I so wanted to see “Good ol’ Charlie Brown” on the big screen, but I wasn’t completely sold on the idea either. I feared that someone was trying to make a quick buck off the Peanuts gang and the movie would be nothing short of obnoxious. When I finally got to see the movie, I was ecstatic to find that my fears were all for nothing. The Peanuts Movie is so soft and endearing and I can’t help but feel it’s a wonderful tribute to the late, great Charles M. Schulz and his beloved characters.
Charlie Brown is still the Charlie Browniest as he falls for The Little Red-Haired Girl and tries desperately to impress her. (The poor kid comes down with a serious case of inadequacy.) Lucky for him, his faithful friend Snoopy sticks close to his side and helps him along. But that doesn’t stop Snoopy from trying his darndest to steal the spotlight. Snoopy’s journey to the aerodrome has got to be my favorite part of the movie. (Sneaky, little, evil Snoopy on Peppermint Patty’s lights is too funny!) Oh, and I just love when Snoopy steals Charlie Brown’s cupcakes. Yeah, cupcakes. That Charlie Brown himself bakes. That’s quite a step up from toast! It’s not like Charlie Brown had a choice though when Peppermint Patty signs him up to make cupcakes for the Winter Dance. Okay, he sets out towards school with only 6 cupcakes, but judging from Snoopy’s actions they had to be good.
Recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups milk, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Green food coloring
Sprinkles (Optional) They look like either gold or green jimmies, but any sprinkles are fine.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in four additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
Divide cupcake batter amongst tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cupcakes are tested. Cool in tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins and cool on the rack completely.
In a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add vanilla extract. Beat powdered sugar in, a little at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add heavy cream. Add a little green food coloring and beat until smooth.
Putting It All Together:
Top each cupcake with a large dollop of icing and smear/smooth with an offset spatula or tool of your choice. Top with a pinch of sprinkles. Now they’re ready for any winter dance or just for you.
Can Charlie Brown really bake cupcakes and whip up icing all from scratch? I have no doubt in my mind that he can. If he can read War and Peace and write a superb 1000-word book report on it all in one weekend, he can make cupcakes no problem. (I know I can’t do that. Let me have a crack at Leo’s Toy Store instead.) Despite countless failures, Charlie Brown even manages to fly a kite. (Something else I can’t do.) I’m pretty sure that he can do anything, because every time he gets knocked down, he gets right back up. He’s also kind, compassionate, honest, brave, and funny. And I’m glad that he gets some recognition for it! So he’s not perfect. That doesn’t mean he’s an insecure, wishy-washy failure. He’s a good person and people like him. Why else would I still be watching him after all these years?
Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!