Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Well contrary to what the song says, it is not "all about the base." That is, when it comes to muffins. These muffins reinforce what we all know to be true -- muffin tops are the best part of the muffin!

When I read the recipe instructions for these treats, I envisioned a big baked glop as the end result and also some cooked batter on the baking sheet. After all, I have never filled muffin tin cavities to the top with the batter and this recipe stated fill to just over the rim. That's right-- just over the rim! However, since the author made special notes regarding a lawsuit tied to a bakery stealing one of her muffin recipes, I decided to follow the instructions as stated.

I am sure glad I did. To my pleasant surprise, the muffins turned out with a huge top and did not stick or tear when removing from the muffin tin. The inside was very moist and packed with lots of flavor. The baked treats are composed of 2 types of chocolate, bananas and nuts. Prior to baking, they are topped with chewy coconut and ground nuts held together by a little butter. These are a tasty way to start the day, but too good to be segregated to breakfast. They make for a tasty afternoon snack as well. The recipe yields about 16 to 18 muffins with lovely, large tops.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
adapted from The Best of Better Baking

2 tbs packed brown sugar
4 tbs or 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup of finely ground nuts- pecans or macadamia

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbs strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup banana purée (about 2 ripe bananas)
4 eggs
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts
4 oz chopped white chocolate
1/2 semisweet chocolate chips
3 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Grease the top edge of 18 cavities of muffin tin(s). Line the cavities with paper liners. Line baking sheet (s) with parchment paper. The recipe recommends that most of the mixing in this recipe be done by a food processor. At this time, set up your equipment accordingly.

Using a medium size bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt . Set aside. For the topping, fill the bowl of a food processor with all the filling ingredients. Cover and pulse for about 15 seconds. Transfer topping into a bowl and set aside for later use. Clean the food processor bowl.

Using the same processor bowl, fill with both types of sugar, butter and oil. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract and coffee, pulsing again until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, processing each completely into the batter. Lastly, pulse in the sour cream and the banana puree.

Transfer batter from the food processor to the bowl of sifted ingredients. Fold together until no dry streaks remain. Then mix in both types of chocolate and nuts, making sure all is evenly distributed into the dough.

Fill the muffin cavities with the batter by using a large ice cream scoop. The cavities should be filled to just over the rim. Scoop out about 1 1/2 tbs of the topping and flatten into a disc with your hands and place on top of each cavity of batter and press lightly. Put each pan on the prepared baking sheet.

Place the pans in the oven, using the top and middle shelves. Then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake the muffins until tester comes out clean and top springs back when lightly touched.  Be sure to rotate the pans at the halfway point of baking. The recipe recommends 20-22 minutes, but mine took about 30 minutes. Let muffins cool in pans for about 15 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Tips and Notes:
1. Timing is everything and baking time will vary depending if you are using a dark pan or not. The recipe states be careful not to over bake, but my issue was the opposite- making sure they were completely baked.

2. The author instructed cooling time in muffin pan as 5 minutes, but I stated 15 minutes in the above recipe. This change was made to insure that they would retain the same shape when pulled out of the oven. Even with the increased wait time, the muffins did not stick to the pan when transferring each muffin to the cooling rack. 
                           **LAST YEAR:Black Walnut Madeira Cake**