Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ChocoNanaButter, Experiment 2

The chocolate-banana-peanut butter experimenting continues. I feel a little like a mad scientist, just concocting stuff with three ingredients and hoping it'll hold together. My more wackier ideas are looking better and better as I work on the balance of said ingredients. The key seems to be the banana is very easily overpowered by the strong chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Even here, with banana creme filling in the cupcakes, the intense chocolate and creamy peanut butter completely take over and then just a hint of banana comes through in a bite.

I'd like to start toying with more predominantly banana recipes (like banana ice cream with chocolate or maybe peanut butter cup chunks stirred in) to see if that helps balance the flavors. I also bought banana flavoring which I am, admittedly, terrified of (mostly because it's "imitation" and alcohol based). I'm just not too comfortable with putting something like that in my cooking...

But even if you're not feeling adventurous or, you know,
inclined to this ChocoNanaButter creation, the straight peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes are amazing. They're Ina Garten's (with a guest author for the peanut butter icing) so you know they're good.

The icing is sweet buttery goodness..

Adapted from Ina Garten

Chocolate Cupcakes

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Banana Creme Filling, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before filling with banana creme and frosting.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Banana Creme Filling

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 large banana
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the milk in a heavy bottomed pan until very hot but not boiling.

Mix the sugar, flour and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the hot milk and beat until well blended. Pour back into the pan and continue to stir vigorously over low heat for minutes, until very thick and smooth. Add the egg yolks and cook for a few more minutes. Cool, stirring from time to time.

Mash the banana and beat it until smooth. Add tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional), and stir the mixture into the cooled filling.

Cut a cone out of the cooled cupcakes. Trim tip of top cone, fill cupcake with cooled banana creme and return top of cupcake.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.


sarahbauer said...

my god but those look tasty!

I love making banana bread and muffins, but even with those recipes I used to always want a more banana taste. my solution? MORE BANANAS. I think my original banana mix recipe calls for three bananas, but when I make it I use five large ones.

Grace said...

frankly, in my presence, those components would never reach the end formation. i'd spread the frosting straight into my mouth, maybe use a spoon on the banana filling, and just devour the chocolate cupcakes as is. :)

Katie said...

Oh wow I love the idea of filling them with a banana creme. Just the thought of it is making my mouth water.