Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Banana Nut Muffins with a Twist

A few years ago I decided to get a Realtor's license. I took the classes and passed the exam with flying colors. I even got an office with Coldwell-Banker. Unfortunately, I was also quite ill from time to time and was heading to what would eventually be a liver transplant. Anyway, one of the "tips" given to us new Realtors was to have a batch of cookies freshly baked when showing a house. Supposedly, the beautiful homey aroma would make people want to buy the house.

I'm not sure about the logic with that, but it did beat air fresheners or artificial scents. Still, for those of you who are Realtors I'll go you one better. Ditch the cookies and try these delicious Banana Nut Muffins! The aroma while they're baking is enough to make your mouth water. (In fact, as the founder of the 3a.m. Baking Club - my batch woke Michael up from a sound sleep!)

They're actually easy to make and this recipe should give you about 18 jumbo muffins. However, I have another twist for you. I made one batch of muffins then pulled out a 9" round pan and did the rest as a cake! It turned out beautifully and would be perfect for a brunch or breakfast with friends!

The cake (or muffins too) can be frosted if you wish. I'd suggest a butter cream flavored with banana liqueur or whipped cream. But, they're fine plain and sprinkled with a few walnuts or some coconut.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola, walnuts, or coconut, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

If you are doing the cake version, grease a 9" cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Spoon batter into pan and and level. Sprinkle top with walnuts, coconut, banana chips or granola, if desired.  Bake in 350° oven for 30-40 minutes until top is brown and cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in pan then turn out onto cooling rack or plate.

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