January 21, 2012

Monkey Nose Cupcakes

You'd think that making the best banana bread ever would be enough in itself. But I felt compelled to turn the recipe into the best banana bread cupcakes ever. This recipe can be topped in multiple ways to emphasize your favorite flavors.

As far as the cupcake's name, Peanut Butter Banana Bread Cupcakes is too lengthy. I had already created Monkey Butt Cupcakes using bananas, so the next logical thing is Monkey Nose Cupcakes. Don't question my logic. 

My adaptations to the original recipe were minimal, but here's the end result:

Monkey Nose Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Crumble
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients until crumbly, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating one at a time until blended. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.

Line 24 cupcake tins with paper or foil wrappers. Divide batter in half, and then fill cupcake tins evenly with half the batter, roughly a spoonful in each. Then divide the crumb mixture evenly among the cupcakes, and top with chocolate chips. Use remaining batter to evenly fill cupcake tins. Each cupcake should be approximately 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

To make frosting, beat together butter and peanut butter. Gradually add powdered sugar, and then beat in enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread frosting on cupcakes.

To decorate the cupcakes, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave using a sturdy plastic bag. Cut a corner in the hole of the bag, and drizzle chocolate onto the cupcakes. Let chocolate cool to harden. (I was going to add cinnamon when I melted the chocolate, but I forgot. Whoops. Maybe next time.)

Note: I was torn when it came to frosting these cupcakes because so many things sounded delicious. As tempted as I was to make multiple batches of frosting, I stuck with my first instinct on the peanut butter. Here are other options depending on your favorite flavors:

1. Reserve some of the crumb mixture to top the cupcakes. I did half my batch like this, and they look like a muffin and therefore can be a breakfast treat. Right?

2. Reserve some of the crumb mixture to top the cupcakes, and then use a 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips for a drizzle. Again, this was simple to do, so I did one as a sample. Close enough to a muffin to eat for breakfast or at least a mid-morning snack, right?

3. Frost the cupcakes with a Cinnamon Penuche. Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter. Drizzle cupcakes with the melted deliciousness. (This would be my first choice after the peanut butter frosting I used.)

4. Frost the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting. Melt 1/4 cup peanut butter, and drizzle cupcakes with melted peanut butter.

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