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Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm Bananas for Muffins

I considered making this post title simple and sedate and merely state what the recipe was for, but my never ending desire to create bad puns just won out.

Look, it's The Essential Rhubarb Pie.  Bad puns are just a part of what this blog is about.

I think the pun suits this post perfectly because today's recipe had a literary inspiration.  I always say that I sometimes take my inspiration from the strangest places.  I decided to create this recipe from just a simple passage in book.  Recently I read David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks.  If this book had been a story about women gathering in their kitchens and bonding over making muffins, the inspiration might make more sense.  The Bone Clocks isn't a book even tangentially about food.  It is a work of science fiction.

In one brief scene, an eager servant offers the main characters some banana cherry muffins.  When they don't accept the offer right away, he mentions the muffins contain white chocolate chips.

Suddenly instead of focusing on the plot of the novel, I focused on the food.  When you mention food, that's where I will always focus.

"Banana cherry muffins with white chocolate chips?" I asked myself.  "I think that sounds like something I should make."  For my entire life I have made banana bread and banana muffins with chocolate chips or nuts. Cherries and white chocolate would be like no other banana bread I have made before.  Even though I'm not that fond of white chocolate, I imagined they would go with the cherries nicely.

With the long weekend ahead of me and not many plans except for my mother's birthday dinner, it seemed like the perfect time to experiment with such a recipe.

I had some buttermilk left over from earlier in the week, so I looked at ways to adjust a banana bread recipe to contain buttermilk.  I played with a few other ingredients as well.  I soaked the cherries in rum for example and added a little bit more flour to compensate for the extra liquid.  I decided to add some brown sugar into the sugar mix to adjust the flavor even more.  I went back and forth with the idea of using fresh or dried cherries.  Fresh (or in this case frozen) won out.  I liked the idea of biting into a nice big juicy cherry instead of dealing with chewy dried ones.  If you're a maraschino cherry lover, they would probably work nicely in this recipe too.

They were dense, but still moist and tasty.  I think this recipe is a keeper.

Banana Cherry White Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups + 1 Tbl Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbl rum
  • 12 oz frozen cherries, thawed
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins (I used one 12-cup and one 6-cup standard size) with cooking spray (or grease the old-fashioned way).

In a small bowl, toss cherries with the rum and set aside.  Toss the chocolate chips with 1 Tbl flour in another bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl sift together remaining flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In another bowl beat together the bananas and sugars.  Beat in the buttermilk, eggs, and butter.

Carefully add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients.  Mix gently until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Fold in the cherries and the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into 18 muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full.   Bake 25-30 minutes or until fully set and a tester comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack and remove after 15 minutes. 

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