Last week was a bit of a doozy. But you know what? These Brownie Cupcakes totally helped! L and I went away for a long weekend, which was so, so fun. We saw most of our extended family at a really fun wedding, L walked down the aisle as the most darling flower girl, and then we got to spend two days with my best friends and their girls at my parents house (where my mom graciously fed us meatballs and supplied the girls with endless toys!). And minus the early and super late flights needed to get us there on direct flights, it was great—until Miss Linden came down with a cold.
She was home most of the week from preschool, so I spend my days doing puzzles with her and working during her naps—which was a much calmer version of our life during her first year. The weather was lovely so we spent many hours on the porch and even took some walks. The downside? Convincing her that it was a good idea for her to go back to preschool on Friday.
I’m often torn between feeling guilty that I like to work and that having some separation between “mama Amy” and “Amy” makes me happier. But I know that it both helps me feel more balanced and that it’s good for her to be stimulated in ways I can’t do. We love her preschool and are so grateful that she’s exposed to so many things (like examining bugs with magnifying glasses, which is something I just would never want to do!). So on that Friday when all she wanted to do was to stay home—and watch Pooh—I promised her a special treat with dinner.
These cupcakes, which started as these muffins, were just the thing. They are intensely chocolately from the cocoa powder, sweet enough from the ripe banana and maple syrup, and very moist. You’d never know they also happen to include whole grains (which means you can totally serve them as muffins if you want to!). Topped with a simple Cream Cheese Frosting, they helped to end the weekend on the happy note that is the norm around here—and provided a really yummy snack the following day.
Brownie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
To make these gluten-free, simply use your favorite GF baking flour in place of the whole wheat flour. To make 12 slightly smaller cupcakes, fill each cup just about halfway full.
1 cup very ripe-with-brown-spots bananas, chopped (about 2)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled slightly
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. Add all ingredients except the whole wheat flour to the bowl of a food processor and process for about 30 seconds, or until very smooth. Add whole wheat flour and pulse just to combine. Fill 10 cups about 2/3 way full and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for a minute or two in the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack. Frost and serve at room temperature or chilled, preferably on the day they are made.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Stir together 1 package cream cheese, softened at room temperature, with 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup. Spoon into a zip top quart bag, snip off one corner, and pipe onto cupcakes.