Saturday, September 1, 2012

Huge Texas Sized Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Nut bread is one of the most baked items in my house. Not only does everyone love to eat it, but it makes my whole house smell like you just walked into a bakery, which is a wonderful aroma to wake up to on a sleepy weekend morning. When I want to make loaves of banana bread, I usually turn to my all time favorite banana bread recipe. However, since there aren't exactly a ton of people to feed in my home, sometimes I only really need to bake a few muffins. The following recipe is perfect for times when you just want to make a smaller sized batch, but you still want nice big coffee shop sized muffins.

Huge Texas Sized Banana Nut Muffins
serves 6

3 medium sized bananas, covered with black spots
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 tsp banana flavoring, optional
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ordinary table salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, walnuts, pecans or any nut you prefer

*You will need one jumbo sized muffin pan, with 6 wells.

Preheat oven to  350 F. Grease and flour your muffin tin well, including the top of the pan. I use Pam for baking, which already has flour in it - much easier than messing around with flouring the wells.

Now go grab a nice big bowl and your hand mixer. Yes, you read that right... this recipe is not your typical "stir just until moistened" type banana bread recipe. Of course you can mix everything with a spoon instead, but it really does work out better with the pulverizing power of a mixer for this particular recipe.

Peel the bananas, making sure you pull off any of those little stringy bits, and plop them whole into your mixing bowl. Crack in the egg and add the softened butter. I soften my stick of butter in a dish in the microwave for 12 seconds on High - it comes out just soft enough to still hold its shape, but blends as if it has been sitting out at room temperature for a while. Turn on your mixer to low speed and whirl everything together until it is smooth. Add in the extracts.

Grab a sifter or a fine mesh strainer and sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Add some of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and briefly mix on low speed. It will look very thick. Keep adding the flour mixture in small amounts, mixing just a bit each time, until it has all been added. Just don't go crazy mixing the batter - it should be smooth, without any dry parts or lumps, but don't beat for very long.

Next add the granulated sugar and mix in on low speed until blended. You are all done with your mixer - go ahead and grab that spoon now. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the brown sugar and the nuts.

Ladle the batter evenly into your prepared jumbo muffin tins. You should have exactly enough batter to fill 6 wells about 2/3-3/4 full. Pop them into the oven and bake until a toothpick tests clean when poked into the center of your largest, tallest muffin, about 30-35 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in their tins 10 minutes before you attempt to remove them.

Now for the hard part... try really, really hard to let them cool completely, preferably overnight, before you eat them. Banana bread always tastes better after it has had a chance to mellow out for a day or two. I won't tell if you sneak one early though ;)

*NOTE: Just in case you don't happen to have a jumbo sized muffin tin pan, you can also bake this in one 8x4" size loaf pan. It will take about 40-45 minutes for a single loaf.

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