01 August 2011

Eats: banana nut muffins

Hey, remember when I said I was going to make brunch one a month for Mr. P and me? I am not doing so good at that. As a matter of fact, Mr. P has probably made breakfast for us more often than I have. (Yeah, I am fully aware how lucky I am to be awoken on a Saturday by my husband saying “The waffles are almost done!”)

I have made breakfast-y food for us twice in the last two months, which sort of sounds like I'm meeting my goal. But both times, it was the recipe below. And both times, it was because of this:

Nothing says “I love you and wanted to make something for you” like rotten bananas!

These muffins are delightfully delicious, but so horrifyingly un-nutritious that making them more than once a month probably quadruples your cholesterol and risk of a heart attack and chance of developing diabetes. So I guess I'm doing us both a favor by not making them routinely.

They are based on my favorite banana bread recipe, which of course, I have adapted to my own whims for muffin purposes. The reason I like making muffins instead of a loaf of banana bread is two-fold: one, they bake faster, which is a huge plus in this brutal summer heat we’re having (by the way, it is now AUGUST. Where the heck is the year going?) And two, PORTION CONTROL. A “slice” of banana bread means different things to different people for different foods, and for me, a “slice” of this banana bread recipe is approximately a quarter of the loaf. Muffins it is!

For my adaptation of the recipe, I use a stick of softened butter (yummm), half a cup each of white and brown sugar, two eggs, half a cup of sour cream or vanilla yogurt, a tablespoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, a cup and a half of flour, and a few handfuls of crushed nuts (I like walnuts, but pecans work well too). Oh yeah, and those rotten bananas up there.

First I cream together the butter and sugar until just barely combined with my stand mixer, then add all the other wet ingredients (eggs, sour cream, and vanilla). If I have sour cream, I use that, but I am more likely to have vanilla yogurt on hand, as I take the little foil-covered cups for lunch at work. If I use yogurt instead, I cut back on the sugar so it's not too sweet.

Then I start adding the dry ingredients. I know recipes always say “Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and then add to wet ingredients”, but I swear that’s a conspiracy by the Dishwasher Manufacturers Association to make you run more loads of dishes so you need a new dishwasher faster. Just a hunch.

Instead of doing that stupid two-step process, I add the smallest amounts of dry ingredients to the wet ingredients as they mix, then add the larger amounts (so in this case: salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, flour). This time I forgot about the cinnamon until after I added the flour. And hey look! It still worked! Take that, Dishwasher Manufacturers. I am on to you.

Then it’s banana time! Don’t slice the bananas like the recipe source states. Mash them instead. If, unlike me, you aren’t using bananas that have become withered and blackened because you are sensible about not eating rotten food, you can mash your bananas in a separate bowl before adding to the mixer. As we’ve already established that 1) I hate wasting food and 2) I hate washing dishes, I dumped the bananas in whole (after peeling, of course), and they became one with the batter quickly enough.

After that it’s nut time! Banana nut muffins need both, you know. For these muffins, I used whole pecans because I already had them around. I do have a schmancy food processor, which is great for chopping nuts! But then I’d have to wash it. So I crush them in my fists instead, and feel all powerful as they succumb to my strength.

Mix an extra minute or so, then it’s time to make muffins out of banana nut batter! Despite the ridiculous amount of butter in this recipe, you still should really grease the muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Honestly, is there ever truly a time to not grease a pan?

Here they are before baking! Sometimes I fill up the tins extra full to get a little “muffin top” going on, but then two muffins (my usual breakfast portion) is more likely to give me a muffin top. So, two-thirds to three-quarters full, instead.

Then they bake at 350°F for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. I make sure they’re done with a toothpick. To get them out, I slide a knife around the edge of each muffin and lift it out to cool. These muffins are super soft and moist, so pinching the tops to get them out can cause them to break apart and then you’d have to eat the warm pieces of muffin straight out of the oven. And what a tragedy that would be!

And here they are, cooling off!

So yeah, that recipe takes like thirty minutes. Forty if you are just waking up and the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. Does that count as making Saturday brunch for my 30 by 30 list? Maybe not. But do they beat a bowl of cereal? Goodness. YES. Enjoy!


Shanna said...

I'm with you on not dirtying up another bowl just to mix dry ingredients. Just measure out what's needed and dump in the mixing bowl...BUT I have not tried mixing up whole rotten bananas - yet. You have inspired me!

BTW, the coconut chicken was a hit at my house and I remembered to make the sauce :)