Monday, September 30, 2013

The Most Perfect Banana Nut Muffins. Ever.

This weekend, while the rain was actually breaking records here in Washington, I decided to bake (like I need a reason). I had annoyingly too ripe bananas lying around, so naturally I made some banana nut muffins.  As I just mentioned, I love to bake. I bake something probably every other day or so. I also love banana bread. So I've tried many recipes from many books. But this is seriously the best. Hands down. The muffins are delicate and rich and delicious. They are not too sweet, nor are they overwhelmed by the flavor or the bananas, but instead strike a perfect balance.

This recipe is amended from one of my favorite cookbooks, Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw.
To make them, you'll need:
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3 very ripe, mashed bananas (sometimes I only use 2, and it tastes fine)
2 lg eggs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (you can use dark or light, depending on your taste)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional... but I'm not sure why you'd want to omit them from banana nut muffins. Unless you have a dangerous allergy. In that case, carry on.)


Start by sifting together your dry ingredients.  Then, mash the bananas up! 
It's amazing how something so unappetizing looking can transform into such delicious-ness.
Then, in the bowl of you mixer (or in a regular mixing bowl if you are really cool and good at mixing things by hand. I don't want to say that I'm not strong enough to do this, but I'm not) combine the brown sugar, bananas, egg, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter.
I hate to be one of those baking snobs, but this vanilla extract is amazing. I can remember  being obsessed with the smell of vanilla extract as a little kid baking with my Mom and Grandma. Caveat: don't taste it. I learned that lesson early on. 
After you have combined the wet ingredients, slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Be sure not to over mix, because you don't want to over activate the gluten in the flour. This is what makes things like muffins and cakes too stiff and dense.

After you have mixed all of the ingredients together, fold in the nuts with a spatula. Then, fill the muffin tin pretty much to the top. I like to use a small ice cream/cookie dough scoop with thicker batters like this because it helps control the batter better than a spoon. 

Finally, you can top with turbinado sugar or streusel (I personally love the latter!). I am currently on a little bit of a health kick so I left them plain. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or so, or until a cake tester comes out clean. 

Voila! I hope you enjoy! 

Until next time,