a dozen little treats for the new homeowners…

A couple friends of mine bought their first place and moved in over the weekend! How exciting is that!!! Although it means I don’t have my morning companion to walk into work (boo) it does mean that there will be some great bbq’ing going on this summer :0) (hint hint Courtney).

I wanted to bake them something – since both of them have patiently participated in my baking taste tests over the course of the past few months… so here’s my take on “welcome to a new home” treat – incorporating firm favourites… so you all know that means there will be some sort of peanut butter, banana and CHOCOLATE. But heck – why fix what ain’t broke?!

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
3/4 c. self-rising flour
1/4 c. dark chocolate cocoa
1 LARGE handful of peanut butter chips

1/2 batch Peanut Butter Frosting

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer. Once creamed, add the brown sugar and combine the two together until fluffy. Add the banana, the eggs (as always, combine each egg with the beater individually), and the milk. Once your wet mixture is well combined, add the flour and the dark chocolate cocoa. Beat everything together to smooth. Add the peanut butter chips and using a wooden spoon, mix everything (make sure you scrape from the sides).

Take your small ice cream scoop and scoop into the paper liners (you should be able to get 2 scoops into each liner).

Bake in the oven for 14 minutes. When mine come out I still like the cupcakes to be a little gooey. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Remember how I had that left over peanut butter frosting (from my May 25th blog)? Take that out of the freezer and frost the cooled cupcakes.

I hope that these cupcakes make Courtney and Jamie feel even more at home in their new place.

Congrats guys!

a nutty birthday treat!

Today is a special guy’s birthday… he turned 9 and loves peanuts and chocolate. I have to say – he’s got great taste (since that combo is probably one of my favourites too)!

I decided to create a little birthday treat – so my nutella and peanut butter came out of the fridge and were put to use in this recipe. A handful of peanuts add a nice crunch to top these babies off…

Happy Birthday Manu!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
3/4 c. plus 1 tbsp self-rising flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 c. nutella

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners – set aside.

In a large bowl, and with your hand mixer, beat the butter until it’s fluffy. Add in the brown sugar and beat well. Add in the eggs, one at a time, combining after each one, then beat in the milk, flour and cocoa powder. Start off with the mixer on low so that all the flour doesn’t fly everywhere :0) then speed it up until everything is well combined and smooth.

Using your ice cream scoop (or a spoon) put a scoop of the batter into each muffin liner. Smooth it down a little with a teaspoon and then add a tsp of nutella on top of each cupcake. Now top each of them with the remainder of the cupcake batter.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack.

If you wanted to add some mashed banana to the cupcake batter these could be over the top delish. Or add a tsp of espresso powder to turn these into double chocolate espresso cupcakes… all of these combos work well with these basics – simple recipes for you to twist however your tastebuds dictate… I know I’m looking forward to making them again – with a slight twist (of course)!

Now to make a super simple frosting…

Peanut Butter Frosting
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
handful of peanuts, to top

In a large bowl beat everything together until smooth.

Top each cupcake with the frosting – and then top the frosting with peanuts. If you have any left over frosting (I sure did) – put in a plastic container and freeze. Defrost the next time you need some.

Probably one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had…

the lowly banana…

I realized late last night that I haven’t baked in quite some time… so I pulled out those overly ripe bananas that I keep in the freezer before I left for work this morning and came home excited to bake some… MUFFINS!!!! Some of my favourite memories of my childhood are of me coming home from school to the smell of my mother’s oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. She’d bake dozens at a time, and with five kids – all of whom had a weakness for these muffins – they’d last all of a week (if we were lucky).

My inspiration for this recipe comes from that recipe. I decided to change certain things about it… including replacing chocolate chips with my homemade nutella :0) A dollop of that hazelnut chocolaty goodness in the centre of this muffin modernizes one of my all time favourite baked goods… hope you enjoy this as much as I will!

Oatmeal Banana Nutella Muffins

3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. oatbran
1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp b. powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 c. buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c. nutella

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners – it’ll keep the muffins moist and makes for easy clean-up.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together – flour, oats, bran, cornmeal, sugar, b. powder and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, beat together the mashed bananas with the egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir everything until just combined (your batter should be moist, but not over mixed).

Using a small ice cream scooper – scoop batter into the paper liners. Put a tsp of nutella on top of each scoop of batter. Now cover the nutella with another scoop of the muffin batter.

Bake in your oven for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Not only does this batter make a dozen good sized muffins – but the smell of them baking will bring a smile to your face (and probably a rumbling tummy too)!