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Recipe: One-bowl banana muffins

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Every week I buy a bunch of bananas intending to eat them fresh, blend them into smoothies with peanut butter, and serve them as dessert (who could resist this banana pudding or this sky-high banana pudding pie?). Without fail, there are always several aggressively speckled, aromatic bananas left over. When that happens, there’s only one course of action: Bake them into breakfast!

Banana muffins make use of an ingredient that’s beyond its prime for eating out of hand, but is now perfect for giving muffins a naturally sweet fruit flavor. I love a thick slice of banana bread, but my kids are partial to banana muffins, which come together quickly and are perfect for busy mornings. I always have the ingredients, and the muffins are a cinch to make — that’s why I’m pulling them from the oven every single week.

Why you’ll love it

  • My banana muffins have the moist texture and sweet banana flavor that you expect, owing to the use of very ripe bananas. Make sure yours are speckled all over or brown.
  • You can bake these one-bowl muffins every week knowing that a sink filled with dishes won’t be left behind. Even better, no mixer is required.

Key ingredients in banana muffins

  • Bananas: The best bananas for muffins are the ones that are freckled or brown. This is a sign that the fruits’ starches have changed to sugars, and the flesh is soft and sweet. If you’re craving banana muffins but don’t have overripe bananas, try this trick to ripen bananas quickly in the oven.
  • Unsalted butter: Starting with melted unsalted butter means you can mix the batter by hand and not have to rely on a stand mixer.
  • Brown sugar: Use light or brown sugar to sweeten the muffins and give them a slightly caramel flavor that complements the bananas’ natural fruit flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: Flour provides the structure for the muffins. Stir just until no dry spots of flour remain, but avoid over-mixing so that the muffins remain tender.

Helpful swaps

  • Use 1 1/2 cups mashed thawed, frozen bananas in place of the fresh bananas. Combine with any liquid that is released before adding to the butter.
  • Swap unsalted butter for a neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola, to make dairy-free muffins.
  • Add 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or toasted, chopped nuts into the batter before baking.
  • Add some sparkle by sprinkling the tops with granulated or turbinado sugar before baking.

Banana Muffins

Makes 12

Cooking spray or paper muffin liners

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 very ripe large bananas

2 large eggs

3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F. Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

2. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into 8 pieces and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second bursts until mostly melted, 40 to 60 seconds total. Set aside to let the butter finish melting and cool slightly. (Alternatively, melt the butter on the stovetop, then pour into a large bowl.)

3. Peel and place 4 large bananas in the bowl of butter and use a fork or potato masher to mash into a puree. A few small lumps of banana are OK. Add 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until combined.

4. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon baking soda evenly over the banana mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and stir with a flexible spatula until just incorporated and no dry spots remain.

5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells, filling each about three-quarters full (scant 1/3 cup per well).

6. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the muffins are golden, the tops bounce back when pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes total. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Recipe notes

Muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Muffins can also be frozen for up to three months, then thawed at room temperature.

(Patty Catalano is the food editor for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to [email protected].)



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