Thursday, February 24, 2011

Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes

So my brother requested NO chocolate for his birthday cake/treat.  I obliged, but it was so hard NOT to find something chocolate. But Broooo?! I have SO many GREAT chocolate ideas. Ok well this comes as no surprise to me but still...  This is why Halloween always worked so well for us as kids. He got all the Reese's and Smarties.  I got pretty much every thing else chocolate and the ones neither of us deemed fit went to my dad whom thoroughly enjoyed all those wierd candies that were in those non descript yellow, black or orange wrappers. You know, before everyone was PETRIFIED to take actual candy from strangers.  Before razor blades were in apples and Halloween didn't get rescheduled to a different day and there was no 'town curfews' oh and there was this thing called GOOSEY NIGHT.

Ah yes, back in the day.

SO of course I called Betty Crocker and scoured her recipe arsenal for something un-chocolate.  She started listing off a cook book of cupcakes that were making my stomach growl.  I chose this one because I knew if I purchased banana's they wouldn't go to waste in my house. The Toddler will eat bananas all day every day if I allowed.  Plus having leftover butterscotch chips lying around could prove yummy later on for another culinary excursion.   I've never used buttermilk before but immediately thought, well there ought to be an easy pancake recipe I can make with the unused portion. SCORE.  Win win on making every supermarket purchase worthy and not wasting any pennies!  I try to find recipes that include things that are part of my regular shopping as not to incur any over spending.  Budgets suck big time but sometimes it proves a fun challenge to make use of every crumb! Speaking of crumbs, the Toddler totally enjoyed making my home made cheese crackers into crumbs.  She apparently was not impressed. Cheddar & Crazy Salt Cracker's post Coming Soon!

Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes  Recipe Makes 12

1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 medium bananas - broken into 1 inch pieces
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk (any fat content)
1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips


1/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (dark is fine...frosting will just be darker)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until blended and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the banana pieces, mixing until they are blended into the mixture; you will still see some small pieces of banana.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended.  add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute.  On low speed, add half the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.  Mix in the buttermilk.  Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.  Stir in the butterscotch chips.

Fill each paper liner with a scant 1/3 cut of batter, to about 1/4 inch below the top of the liner.  bake until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cook the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.  Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.  In a medium saucepan, heat the half and half and brown sugar over low heat, stirring often, until the brown sugar melts.  Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute stirring often.  Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until cool to the touch.  About 4-5 minutes.  (DON'T TOUCH IT WHILE IT IS HOT OR YOU WILL HAVE A SUGAR BURN AND YOU WILL FEEL AS THOUGH YOU JUST MELTED YOUR FINGER RIGHT OFF!!!!)

In a large bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes.  At first the mixture will look crumbly, but then it will form a smooth mass.  Add the vanilla and brown sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Use a small spatula to spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of frosting on top of each cupcake.  The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for us to 2 days.  After discussing the process with Betty Crocker we both decided warming up the frosting for ten seconds in the micro then dipping the cupcake top itself right in the bowl was the best way to frost these babies. Way perfect.  As you can see below, the butterscotch chips dissolved in the baking. It leaves behind a lovely little cavern of butterscotchyness that is wonderful.  The first batch I crushed up the chips. Too many caverns. The second batch had only 4 oz of chips and I left them whole. THAT was perfect!

These cupcakes were so darn good that the day after we had them for Bro's  birthday I made another batch.  The icing was enough for 24 cupcakes.  So next time I'll just half it. Or make 24 cupcakes which is more likely cause they were REALLY GOOD!

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