Death to Cupcakes: A New Era Begins (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes)

Last year, I called it. Just saying.

Its official Crumbs, one of the nation’s largest cupcakes chains, has closed its doors. It seems Americans are tired of this once trend. We no longer feel the need to have a portion sized, personal cake with frosting decorated to wow us. We no longer want art on a platter, we no longer feel the need to pay $3.00 for a cupcake. Americans are tired of your shit cupcakes, you’re out.

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So that leaves me wondering, what’s the next trend? Cheesecake on a stick would be awesome! But then we would have to find portable ways to keep it cool. Gourmet Brownies, that’s something I can get on board with. What about good ol’ fashion cookies? Nah, too… ordinary.

What do you think the next food trend will be? Well if you figure it out let me know… in the meantime…

Chocolate and peanut butter go together like Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, Tom and Jerry and Beyoncé and Jay-z. It just works, the salty and sweet, sweet and salty, throw a little sea salt on top and you have an edible euphoria unlike any other.

According to The thechocolatestore.com Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, which is approximately 11.6 pounds per person.  On the other hand according to the National Peanut Board (yes this exists), Americans spend $800 million a year on peanut butter, that’s a lot of jars! Obviously this paring is not going out of style any time soon!

Courtney’s coworker requested chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for his birthday and I am always more than happy to deliver. I made a rich chocolate cupcake using both dark chocolate coco powder, and regular coco power. I also decided that this needed a peanut butter filling, so a mock Reese’s filling was pumped into the middle of these suckers, topped off with a peanut butter butter cream.

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Chocolate Peanut butter cupcakes:

If you are allergic to peanuts, these will surely kill you. But if you are a chocolate peanut butter fanatic, these are sure to melt your heart!

Makes 24 cupcakes

The cake was adapted from: Hersey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” chocolate cake recipe

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Hersey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa powder

1/2 cup Hersey’s cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

 

Filling taken from a Wilton recipe:

1 1/2 Tablespoons warm melted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter room temp

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Peanut-Butter, Butter Cream adapted from the wonderful Martha Stewart:

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick of butter, softened

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons whipping cream

 

 

 

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  3. Pour into cupcake liners or greased cupcake tins, fill 3/4 full.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle come out clean

Filling:

  1. Core the cupcakes using either a knife or a cupcake corer if you have one
  2. Melt the butter and mix into the peanut butter and confectioner sugar till combined
  3. Resist the urge to eat all of it
  4. Using a spoon, or a bag fill the cored cupcake with this mixture.

Frosting

  1. Mix butter and peanut butter together, add in confectioners’ sugar, and add in whipping cream.
  2. Whip till desired consistency
  3. Again resist the urge to eat it all
  4. Either pipe, or spread on cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

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Running Away (Gluten Free, Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Heart pounding, I run. My lungs, once full of air are now deflated and scrambling, but still continue. My shins absorb the impact of the worn concrete, walked by countless people, yet run by me. Aching arms continue to sway mechanically back and forth, they scream for a break, but none comes. Head held high and with determination holding me from looking back, I run.

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Saving the orangutans one run at a time.

I like to run. Trust me it’s not as bad as it sounds. As a former 3 sport college athlete I need something to keep my adrenalin going, something to hold hope that there will be one more game. I run because I can, it keeps me in shape, it clears my mind. The benefits of running are strongly outweighed by the cons and keep me happy, healthy and strong.

Last Sunday, April 27, 2014 I ran my first 5K. It was the Philly Run Wild through the Philly Zoo all to benefit the orangutans. First of all you have to understand that 3.1 miles for me is a warm up. I can easily run for 7+ miles without skipping a beat. In fact I think I held myself back a little during this race because I was still budgeting my energy for a longer run. But it was so much fun! The next day I came back to work and signed up for another 5K at the Working Dog Winery in East Windsor NJ!

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Right after Jess finished, is it just me or does she look a little tired?

With 5k fever on my mind I thought about eating cleaner, which is rough when your two best friends are Ben and Jerry’s, and the new Core Flavors, MMMM let me tell you, such an amazing game changer. Anyways, yes it’s true I don’t eat as clean as I should. I also have a small problem with gluten, or rather it has a small problem with me. I eat it, it kicks my ass, you get the picture. So I decided to cut out as much gluten as possible, and add more protein to my diet to hopefully gain those sexy running muscles (HA!).

With protein on my mind, and gluten out of my body I set out this week to develop a cookie that I won’t feel too bad eating, Ha, yeah right. While this recipe does not contain flour, it does contain a cup and a half of sugar, so you win some, you lose some. But on the positive side I do feel better when I grab 2 for breakfast.

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Fresh from the oven!

Flourless, Gluten Free, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

In the past I have made a gluten free, soy free, lactose free cookie similar to this, but not quite. If your dietary needs are all that and more please refer to Kim’s Kookies!

Makes about 36 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups natural crunchy peanut butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put peanut butter, sugar, beaten eggs, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and mix.
  3. Mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop into tablespoon sized bowls and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie trays.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they start to golden.

 

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Unpopular Opinion: I LOVE THE SWEAT!! (chocolate chip banana bread)

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Bananas left for dead

Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

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Brown sugar and butter

One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game.

The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

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LETS GET BAKED

The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

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sorry I already licked the bowl

As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

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LOOK AT THAT GOODNESS!!!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here.
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator.

                Ninety

                Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

                Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

                One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game. 

                The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

                The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

                My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

                As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here.
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator. 

Unpopular opinion: I love the sweat!!!! (Chocolate Chip Banana Bread)

 

                Ninety degrees and sunny, I love it. The sun slowly turning skin to leather, I love it. Sweat dripping from my body, I love it. Yes I am one of them, I am a summer worshiper. While most people morph into lobsters, and crawl around grouching about how burnt and hot they are, I tend to jump around embracing my inner firecracker.

                Growing up in Jersey the summer always consisted of my mom complaining about the 108% humility and redoing her flat lifeless hair into perfect curls at least three times a day. My father, on the other hand, is where my approach to the summer came from. My father, if not at work, would spend the day bear footed in the garden or catching leathery skin on the boats all day.

                One thing my family could always agree on was the fresh pick of summer. During summer our garden turned into Wonderland, and walking out the backdoor was falling down the rabbit hole. Colors glistened in the sunlight and water droplets, living illusions of rainbows lay hidden under every petal. There were rows upon rows of bushy carrot tops, hundreds of long green slender string beans, cucumbers whose vines reached across the earth, like a cat waking up from an afternoon nap. The zucchini as long, and heavy, as metal baseball bats and the tomatoes the size of softballs to complete the game. 

                The things that came out of these marvels could make even the pickiest person love their veggies. Homemade tomato sauces and pizza sauces, glazed carrots, Italian string beans in a red tomato sauce, and of course zucchini bread.

                The breads of summer were always my favorite. Zucchini bread was the most popular in my household do to the sheer quantity o f Zucchini we had growing in the garden. My mother had a recipe for everything. But this zucchini bread was unlike anything I have ever had in my life. Somehow the outside of this bread was crunchy, while the inside moist and light. While the zucchini flavor could be tasted, you could also taste the sweet labors of summer. I have yet to get my fingers on this aged recipe card, but one day, one day it shall be mine… until then…

                My second favorite summer bread that my mom would make was banana bread. The only reason we would have banana bread was if I did not eat the bananas my mom bought at the farmers market that week, and if that happened it ended in a shouting match, rather than a bread baking festival like I had hoped. I was often more scared of banana bread than happy to see it because if often reflected the agony and lecture that I had to go through.

                As the years wore on I have come to love banana bread and have even tried to adapt a crispy outside similar to that of the zucchini bread.   Today I had no sugar, but many bananas that needed to be put out of their misery. Instead of white sugar I used brown giving this bread a bit of a sweeter taste.  I made chocolate chip banana bread, as well as chocolate chip peanut butter. These breads had a crunchy top a slight banana taste and a very sweet base. By far this banana bread takes the cake 100% in my book!

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

2 Eggs

1 Cup, or 2 medium bananas mashed

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ All-purpose flour

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Preheat a mini loaf pan. If you don’t have one you can use a standard loaf pan or you could buy one here. If using a regular loaf pan adjust the cook time to one hour. 
  3. With a stand mixer combine sugar and butter in bowl at medium speed, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and continue beating, scrape down side of bowl as needed.
  5. At low speed beat in bananas and vanilla.
  6. Beat in the rest of the ingredients at low speed.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and the optional peanut butter chips
  8. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
  10. Scarf all down while warm, because let’s face it that is when they are the best.
  11. I mean, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap. Store in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator. 

Cup O’ Cake with a Side O’ Science

Chemical compounds (or actually chemistry in general) were never my strong point. I never understood why certain things could not go together, what made elements positive or negative or why it was frowned upon to spell things from the periodic table of elements. Science and I are not cut out for each other.

Baking and I however, we go hand in hand. In a way baking is like science: specific measurements, following directions to a T, and adding things in a specific order so you don’t cause an explosion because apparently that (while amusing) is frowned upon also.

Science at work

Science at work

My first revelation that science and baking are similar was when I was in third grade, the stereotypical volcano experiment. Red food coloring + vinegar + Baking soda = one pretty sweet volcano. Even at the cute little age of nine I realized that baking soda and vinegar were two ingredients that we cook with on a pretty regular basis, and I was convinced that I would blow up if I ever ate the two together.  When I was teaching this experiment to my younger cousin a few years ago I was trying to explain what ingredients we had to use, but he had a different idea.  Instead of the standard vinegar and baking soda we used Mentos and Coke; it had the same (yet stickier) result.

Today I am going to teach you a miracle of science: Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake. It is the perfect treat for when you are banging your head against the table trying to remember those annoying chemical formulas and you wish you could just make up your own.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

MMMMMMM.

MMMMMMM.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon of sugar

2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon oil

Some chocolate chips

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Directions:

Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until mixed and all the clumps are out. Stir in the milk and oil until smooth. Throw in the chocolate chips and mix them around a bit. Finally put the peanut butter in but make sure you get it under some of the wet mixture.  Put it in the microwave for about a minute, let cool for a few seconds and eat as fast as possible.

Science is pretty cool isn’t it? You can turn a list of several ingredients into a masterpiece of edible art. Now if only my professors would accept my homework in the form of mug cakes.

Look at that melted peanut butter.

Look at that melted peanut butter.

Not so on-the-go, On-the-go Breakfast

Time check: thirty minutes to class. Eah, I’ll drive to the nearest convince store and get a coffee and something (probably loaded with calories) to munch on.  BETTER PLAN!!!! How about a not so on-the-go, but still kinda on-the-go breakfast? Its saves you money, you don’t have to go outside, and in a world where looks are everything, it saves you from putting on a few pounds.

Its easy to take snacks from your favorite convince store and turn them into a homemade treat made healthier  and made your way. Today I will be taking my favorite convince store, Wawa, and turning there chocolate banana cream smoothie into my breakfast on-the-go. Wawa’s chocolate banana smoothies are so good I will drive five miles out of the way, into center city, during a gang fight to get one, yeah there that good. But, MINES BETTER! I took Wawas concept, and added PEANUT BUTTER! This way my life is spared and I get what I want.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie:

what you need:

1 Blender (preferably cleaned out from your margaritas last night, but hey I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, just what to eat)

1 Cup of ice cubes

1/2 to 1 cup of Milk  of any kind (If you want a thicker smoothie only put 1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk in, if you want it less thick put 1 cup of milk)

1 Banana (Frozen or fresh)

1 tablespoon of Peanut Butter (Or more, whatever makes you happy)

1 tablespoon of Chocolate syrup ( if you love chocolate add 2 or 3) 

Directions:

1. Pour the ice and the milk into the blender

2. Blend the mixture on medium until most of the ice is crushed

3. Add in the banana, peanut butter, and chocolate syrup

4. Blend on medium speed until desired thickness

5. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

WARNINGS: Due to bad personal mistakes I feel as if I need to add these

  1. Seriously, clean out your blender. Tequila may sound like a good idea at 8am, but it doesn’t taste so great with this smoothie.
  2. Keep the lid on your blender, you do not want to clean up that mess (nor does your roommate).
  3. Do not poke mixture with a knife, in the blender, while the blender is on. Actually, don’t poke anything with a knife, put the knife down and take a step back.

Chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie

After drinking your smoothie, the day is yours. Feel free to run around and boast to all your friends that you made a kick ass not so on-the-go, on-the-go breakfast.