Sometimes Jeremy has to travel for work, and while I miss him while he's gone, it gives me a lot of extra time to catch up on all the baking I've been daydreaming about (like making these cupcakes), and I'm able to give the place a thorough deep-clean without any distractions. Plus, when he goes on these trips he always brings me back a little something special, and it was on such an occasion a few weeks ago that he returned home from a work trip in Napa with a small paper bag of treats. Upon opening it, I discovered that he'd brought me back some chocolate bars, but not just any chocolate bars. He had gotten me the wildest, most flavor-intensive chocolate bars he could find.
One was a dark chocolate bar with little pieces of bbq potato chips in it, and the other was a milk chocolate bar with little pieces of beef jerky in it, (he is well aware of my propensity towards sweet & salty flavor combinations). Now, I know those flavors sound a bit crazy, but trust me when I say that the salty and chocolatey flavors of these bars taste insanely good when combined together. So after I'd inhaled them and was riding high on my cocoa-induced mania, I looked at the label again to see who made these amazing bars of joy, and saw it was Wild Ophelia.
I immediately googled them (who is this mysterious company?? And why are they making such decadent chocolate???) and was excited to read that they were a small U.S.-based chocolatier whose ingredients were locally-sourced and organic whenever possible. And because I really loved these bars, (like, really really loved them), I decided to reach out to Wild Ophelia to see if they'd be interested in doing a giveaway, and they generously agreed! Huzzah!!! They happily offered to give away a set of their chocolate bar flavors (which you can see above, in full delightful packaging regalia). To enter, just use the rafflecopter widget after the next paragraph! Also, if you don't win don't get too bummed, because starting last month their chocolate bars became available at Walgreens nationwide, so you can always pick one up there.
I decided to use their banana peanut butter chocolate bar as an inspiration for these cupcakes, and made banana chocolate chip cupcakes with a peanut butter ganache. But I melted down their banana peanut butter chocolate bar and used it as the base for the chocolate ganache filling. So basically, these were the chocolatiest peanut-butteriest banana cupcakes ever. The banana made the cake portion super moist, and the salty-sweet pb buttercream provided a great flavor contrast. And the cupcake liners I used made my cupcakes look like they were wearing little Dracula collars, which I enjoyed. But the soft ganache center was what really brought it alllllll together. Thank you, chocolate. Thank you for making my life so much fun to live.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
3 slightly overripe bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Peanut Butter Banana Buttercream
1 and 1/3 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 ounces chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add all of the liquid ingredients, including the eggs and mashed bananas, and mix until until well-blended. Set them aside.
Mix together the remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl and then stir them into the banana mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them up 3/4 of the way. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are set and the tops are a light golden color. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.
While they're cooling, you can make the ganache. In the top of a double boiler, mix together the chocolate and cream and continue stirring gently until the mixture is melted and completely smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to firm up to a frosting-like texture and cool to room temperature.
While the ganache is cooling, you can make the buttercream. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the peanut butter and continue mixing until completely incorporated. Set aside.
Once the cupcakes and ganache have cooled, use a spoon to scoop out a hole in the top center of each cupcake, about 1-inch deep. Spoon in some of the chocolate ganache, then pipe the frosting over the top of the cupcake to cover the hole. Repeat until all the cupcakes have been frosted. Serve immediately.