I’m well into my 20s and just now learned how to properly peel a banana. How I went all this time not knowing the proper way is beyond me. A few weeks ago, I was working late and decided I needed a snack. I went to the kitchen, grabbed a banana and tried to open it. Not wanting to give, I dug my nails in. I tried snapping off the stem. Still no luck. Then a co-worker of mine walked over, turned the banana over and peeled it with total ease. It totally blew my mind. I thought he was a genius. I mean, it’s sort of a life changing revelation. I’ve been eating bananas since I was a kid, quite often actually, and just now learned this. I feel like this is the type of thing you learn along with tying your shoes, folding clothes, opening a door–it’s like an essential piece of information as a human being. Apparently this is the way gorillas and monkeys peel bananas. I love that I open it the same way they do now. I think it’s pretty cute. I feel like it makes us friends now or something. I feel like if I bumped into them in the jungle and we both picked up a banana, they’d respect me, you know, ’cause I know how to do it the right way. They’d give me that nod of approval they’re always doing.
Anyway, in an attempt to exploit my new banana peeling skills, I decided I was going to make lots of stuff with bananas. I made a few banana milkshakes, and those were cool, but not really anything too exciting. And sure, banana bread is cool too, but I mean, the internet is filled with recipes of banana bread. Then I remembered these awesome little cupcakes I made awhile back for a brunch I went to. They’re disguised as cupcakes but really banana bread, and what makes them even more awesome is that they have icing on them.
And I decided that instead of putting any ol’ icing, I’d put this icing recipe that I found on Tasty Kitchen; it’s appropriately called “That’s the Best Frosting I Ever Had”. This seriously is the best frosting I’ve ever had. I’ll never go back to anything else.
P.S. If you’d like a tutorial on how to open a banana like a money, then click here.
Banana Bread Cupcakes with “That’s the Best Frosting I Ever Had”
Some people love their banana bread super-duper moist. If that’s the case, I recommend putting 1 3/4 cup of mashed banana. Also, a few tips with the icing: on Tasty Kichen there was much debate about whether or not the butter should be room temperature and I found that it should be a little bit in between. It shouldn’t be super soft, meaning that if you cut the butter with a plastic knife it should give a little but not turn to mush. If it’s too melted then the sugar won’t properly incorporate and you’ll have grainy icing on your hands. Not fun.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup Milk
5 Tablespoons Flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter, barely room temperature
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
Since the icing has 2 steps, I’d start it first. So in a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If you’re in a hurry, place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.)
Then turn your attention to the cupcakes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Add chopped walnuts and fold in. Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups (I filled them up about 3/4 of the way full) and place in preheated oven. You’re going to want to bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are in the oven, go back to the icing and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the cooled milk/flour mixture. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.
NOTE: The milk/flour/vanilla mixture MUST be cooled before you add it to the butter and sugar mixture. Also, if you’d like to see the step-by-step post that Ree did about the icing, then click here.
Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake.