May 3, 2009

Monkey Butt Cupcakes

I was intrigued by the second annual Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup. What could be better than ice cream and cupcakes combined together?

Within minutes of reading about the roundup, I had my entry formulated in my mind if I could find and adapt the recipes. Peanut butter, chocolate and bananas have been a long-standing favorite flavor combination of mine. When I recently added heath bits to the mix, I knew I created the concoction worthy to enter the contest.

Here's my Sunday adventures with Monkey Butt Cupcakes. And you might be asking yourself the same question my husband did, "Why do you call them Monkey Butt?"

The answer is simple ... because I can. :-D

Monkey Butt Cupcakes

I knew I wanted a banana cupcake, so I looked online for somewhat healthier options. I found a recipe that I adjusted by adding wheat flour, using egg substitute and swapping in a portion of splenda rather than all sugar. The cupcakes turned out moist and sweet.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup splenda
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, splenda, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, blend the remaining ingredients together well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool five minutes before cooling completely on wire racks. Makes 18 cupcakes.

In an ideal wo
rld, I would have made my own ice cream. However, I opted for convenience's sake today and used store-bought chocolate ice cream to fill the cupcakes.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, remove tops of cupcakes with sharp knife. Be careful to keep tops intact. Spoon one to two tablespooons of slightly softened chocolate ice cream onto each cupcake. Then press the cupcake top back on the cupcake to seal in the ice cream. I found it helpful to put the cupcakes in the freezer at this point to let the ice cream freeze solid before I attempted to frost the cupcakes.

I found my peanut butter frosting recipe on, and it didn't need any adjustments for my cupcakes. I absolutely love this frosting!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used approximately 1/3 cup crunchy because I ran out of creamy)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. milk (or as needed)

Beat butter and peanut butter together until well mixed. Gradually add powdered sugar. When mixture gets thick, slowly incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep frosting spreadable. Beat at least three minutes to make frosting fluffy.

Spread frosting on top of each cupcake, sealing in all cupcake and ice cream. Since this frosting is so delicious, I don't see any reason to use a thin layer. This frosting recipe also will probably make double the frosting you need for your cupcakes ... unless you eat half of it while making your cupcakes.

The final step is to roll the cupcakes in a bowl of toffee bits to generously coat each cupcake with toffee. Well, that's the penultimate step. The true final step is to bite into a Monkey Butt!

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Since I have a supply of frozen blueberries, these muffins seemed like a good option. The lemon flavor is subtle but distinct, and they are excellent warm from the oven. The original recipe called for a glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar, but I left the muffins plain and thought they were delicious.
Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon rind and egg. Add to flour mixture, and stir until just moist. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes or until tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove from tins immediately and cool on wire racks. Best served warm (in my humble opinion).

Carrot Wheat Bread with Pecans and Raisins

Since I had some flexible carrots in the refrigerator, I decided it was time to make a bread that called for carrots again. This bread also called for walnuts and raisins ... I made do with pecans and golden raisins since those were what I had on hand. (I prefer golden raisins in breads, though, for some reason.) The dough is really pretty with speckles of orange. This is a really good, somewhat sweet, bread. Very satisfying.

Carrot Wheat Bread with Pecans and Raisins
2/3 cup water (I used water left from cooking carrots)
2/3 cup cooked carrot puree
2 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat the water and carrot puree until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and honey. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, oil and wheat flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in raisins and pecans. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350
ºF. Bake 25 to 45 minutes until loaves sound hollow and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.