Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

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Ya’ll knew that we would never give up our love for our favorite combination, PB&C—and throwing in banana with that is always ideal. There’s the great cookbook from some of my favorite baking pros, called Baked Elements. I love how they organize each section by flavor, and since I tend to be mood oriented with what I feel like baking or even listening to, this concept couldn’t be more perfect for me. I loved their Bananas Cake recipe, but unlike 2.0 (who is the yin to my yang) I am more of a lazy baker and wanted to try the idea with cupcakes instead of a three layer cake. This is a delicious hodgepodge of their cake, a thicker version of their ganache and a Peanut Butter Buttercream frosting. I would have to say, (sorry not sorry) it’s bananas.

Two Carolines Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

 

Cake recipe:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

Ganache Topping:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake sheets with 24 liners and spray liners to prepare them. (There will be some leftover batter to make a mini loaf, if you have a pan—prepare with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. Beat butter, shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 10 to 15 seconds after each addition, until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla and bananas and beat until well mixed. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Divide batter evenly between cupcake liners (and possible extra mini loaf).
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until cake springs back when you gently touch it.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  1. Cream together the peanut butter and butter for 2-3 minutes—until the color lightens a shade or two.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and salt, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Set aside until ready to top cupcakes.
  4. When ready to frost, divide frosting evenly and dome the frosting as much as possible.

Chocolate Ganache Topping:

  1. Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan on low heat.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, stir until chocolate mixture is completely melted.
  3. Let cool to room temp.
  4. Put in refrigerator for 5 minutes, this will cool the sauce enough that when you mix it, it thickens enough to top the domed peanut butter frosting.

-CK 1.0

Banana Pudding

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I’ve been looking up ideas lately that are quick and that maybe take a break from our chocolate obsession. This one fit the bill perfectly and seemed like ideal treat to bring to a family BBQ. I love bananas, I love pudding and I love meringue (although it tends to be my nemesis). I added more Nilla wafers and bananas than the original recipe, and everyone was quite pleased with the results.

 

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, separated and divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 11-ounce box Nilla wafers (you won’t use the entire box, unless you pour the rest in your mouth—which—no judemgent here.)
5 bananas

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Make custard: whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, milk and egg yolks in a pot set over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until it just begins to bubble, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn heat down slightly, and allow mixture to simmer, still stirring constantly, for 1 minute, then remove mixture from heat. Whisk in vanilla, salt and butter.
  2. Make meringue: put the egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch, about 3 minutes (This will melt the sugar). Transfer to the stand mixer fitted with whisk, and beat until stiff, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Line a 13-by-9-inch oven-safe casserole pan with two layers of Nilla wafers (I did one side face up and the other side face down to fill in the gaps) and layer all of the  banana slices.
  4. Pour the custard over the bananas and cookies, then use a spatula to spread the meringue. Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the peaks are the color of a toasted marshmallow. Allow to rest until ready to serve. (The author talks about how the meringue can weep a bit, I couldn’t find a way around that, but maybe those who are more masterful with meringue have some tips for that…)

-CK 1.0

Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Copious Chocolate Chips

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We recently had a big family event + Mother’s Day, so it was so fun to have us all together to celebrate. As always, we need to celebrate with food and I was asked to bring a lil’ something. I had a surplus of bananas, and wanted to make a banana bread, however—I wanted to add the two best ingredients to go with that—peanut butter and chocolate. I know, I know, I’m predictable. But at least deliciously so? I know that I already posted the divine Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cake, BUT bread is a whole different machine, right? It’s something you can feel good about eating for breakfast or a snack, and with all the all the peanut butter and banana, because it’s totally good for you, right? RIGHT? Just nod along and make and eat this tasty form of denial.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Copious Chocolate Chips

Yield: One 9-by-5-inch loaf + a small little loaf (mine was a bit too full for just one loaf)

1 1⁄2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 mashed bananas
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup cream
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour. Remember you will have enough batter to make a mini loaf or 5-6 muffins, if you pour it all in one loaf pan you’ll have a big over-flowing mess.

In a large bowl, whisk together 11⁄2 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda.

In another large bowl, whisk together the bananas, oil, eggs, cream, and peanut butter. Toss the chocolate chips in the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, then stir the chocolate chips into the banana mixture.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ever so gently until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

The loaf can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped tightly, for up to 3 days.

adapted from Baked Elements

 

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

 

TwoCarolinesPeanutButterBananaChocolateChipCake

The above title is a list of a few of my favorite things and they taste way better than raindrops on roses. (Confession, I’ve never seen that whole movie—don’t freak out on me!) If you are still reading, congratulations, you are about to try one of the best recipes I’ve ever cobbled together. I’ve tweaked this recipe quite a bit over the years with suggestions from my sisters who have also made it and it’s definitely near the very top of the King Family favorites arsenal. This cake is moist deluxe and so flavorful and just a little bit rich. It may have even been referred to as Hype Cake before. So, get ready and be prepared to get some hype people and devour this cake!

For the cake:
4 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy or crunchy according to texture preference)
2 cups chocolate chips

For the topping:
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Butter a 9×13 square pan. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon—then add to the banana mixture. Add the peanut butter and when that is combined, add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and granulated sugar. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the pan, then sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

-CK 1.0

Best Banana Bread

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Toasted Banana bread may or may not be one of the best, most perfect foods there is. Especially when your mom made it and sends it with you for you big move. Being able to crack this open and eat this really made me feel at home during the big adjustment. We, as a family, have tried many banana bread recipes over the years—but this one by Tyler Florence is the whole family’s favorite. It has killer flavor and the texture is what dreams are made of: moist deluxe on the inside and a bit crispy on the edges. And bonus—when you toast this delicious bread and add a little butter, it puts it way over to top to magical perfection.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas (I like two of them to be frozen and thawed)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don’t get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that’s no mistake, it’s typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy the smell, toast the bread, and thank your lucky stars you get to eat this glorious treat.

Banana Bread Granola

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Since living in Berlin, I’ve adopted a few local habits. 1) giving dirty looks to people on the train who are taking up two seats, 2) riding my bike everywhere—as often as possible, 3) I say the word “genau” too much, and 4) I start almost every morning with some form of müsli or granola and fruit. I live with a pretty lo-fi kitchen here, without all of my normal accoutrements and gadgets, so I always am on the lookout for simple recipes and things I can put together very easily. This recipe from Minimalist Baker perfectly fit the bill. I adjusted a few things based on what I have, and some personal preferences, so here is my version of the recipe.

3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/8 cup toasted wheat germ
1/8 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup (or honey) and vanilla extract. Once liquid, remove from heat and whisk in mashed bananas until well combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly onto baking sheets prepared with silpat or baking paper and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once, halfway through baking. Watch well after 25 minutes, to reach desired crispiness.

Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and toss just a bit to let the heat escape. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Sometimes I return it to the turned off oven and leave it in overnight to dry it out a bit. The granola can be stored in an air-tight container for a couple weeks—if you can last that long! Genau!