Living with toddlers can be a tricky thing. I'm never really sure what my two little ones will eat. This is especially true of bananas, they either love them or hate them. One week they will eat so many we will run out and they will glare at me like I broke their favorite toy. The next week bananas will be their least favorite food. "Seriously mom, maybe you should offer me Brussel sprouts for breakfast" type of situation. Or maybe the banana is past the perfect ripeness and is therefore deemed unworthy. Whatever the reason, occasionally I misjudge and we end up with some very ripe bananas.
Luckily, I am also a huge fan of muffins. It might even qualify as an obsession really. They are delicious (duh), portable, and portioned so I know exactly what I'm getting. (I included nutritional information for these so you will know too). For school mornings they make breakfast easy, especially for the girls. I always have a bunch of muffins on hand - different kinds of course because everyone has their particular favorite. They freeze very well so after I bake a batch, I pop three quarters of the batch into the freezer. Then you can either take the ones you want out the night before or you can microwave them for about 20 seconds and you are all set. (Told you, I love my muffins). Very ripe bananas give me an excuse to make some of my favorite muffins - buttermilk banana.
I'm adore buttermilk in muffins. I love that slight tang they have and how moist they are. (Ok, I'm realizing this might sound slightly dirty - but I'm talking about baked goods, I swear!)
These muffins are easy to make. They do take three bowls but you mix them by hand. I start by mixing together flour, spices, baking powder and soda, and brown sugar. I like to bake with my hands (clean, of course) so I work the sugar into the flour with my fingers - crumbling any lumps along the way. If you aren't that tactile you could also work the mixture through a fine strainer. You'll get a similar result. Then I add in the pecans. Now, a small note, my husband and I wildly differ with our opinions about nuts. I really like what the pecans bring to these muffins, my husband thinks it is sacrilege to include nuts in baked goods. So, if nuts aren't your thing, leave them out. With or without nuts these muffins are delicious. I had my assistant help me grind the pecans in our nut grinder. I love that thing.
Next it's time to mash the bananas. I like to use a pastry knife but a fork would work too. I work the bananas until they are pretty mushy, but there are still a few bigger chucks of banana left. Set them aside. Now to the wet ingredients. I start with room temp eggs and lightly whisk them until they are pretty uniform. Then I add the cooled melted butter, room temp buttermilk, and the vanilla. The goal is to have all the ingredients at the same temperature.If the butter is too warm, it could cook your eggs. If the eggs or buttermilk are too cold, it may solidify the butter. You want everything to be smooth and silky once combined.
I add the egg mixture and the bananas to the dry mixture. Then I gently fold the wet into the dry with a spatula until everything is just combined. Be careful not to over mix or you will get chewy muffins. Then I scoop the batter into a muffin pan. This batter is on the liquids side so it's a messy job. I like to use an ice cream scoop with one of those scrapers on a lever. It helps keep mess to a minimum and divide the batter evenly. I'm a little nuts about having equal quantities in each cup.
When I've obsessed enough over making all the cups even, I sprinkle some chopped pecans on top of each muffin. If I bake something with nuts, I like to announce it whenever I can by having the nuts clearly visible. You never know who might have an allergy. Well, that and it is cute.
A quick bake in the oven and they are done. Try not to eat them all before they cool. ;)These keep best in the fridge or freezer. If you do want to freeze them, I suggest you arrange them on a plate or cookie sheet first and make sure they are not touching. Set them in the freezer for an hour or so, until they are frozen or at least mostly there. Then you can pop them into a container or ziplock bag and they won't stick together. Enjoy!
Buttermilk Banana Muffins
Moist and delicious buttermilk muffins, unmistakably banana. Makes 1 dozen standard size muffins.
- 1 1/2 cup (180g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup (144g) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 12 ounces (about 3) very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup (4Tbsp) unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temp)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Quick breads and Muffins
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line standard size muffin pan with paper liners or grease muffin pan.
2. In a large bowl - combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Make sure you get out all the lumps. You can grind them up with your fingers or push the whole mixture through a fine strainer. (I don't like to make another dish so I usually use my hands.)
3. Add all but 2 Tbsp of pecans (if using) and mix to combine.
4. In a smaller bowl - mash up the bananas. I find using a pastry knife makes short work of this, but a fork will work too. Leave the bananas a little lumpy but mostly uniformly mashed.
5. In another bowl (yup, this is a three bowler) - whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the buttermilk, slightly cooled melted butter and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
6. Add the egg mixture and the bananas to the flour mixture. Mix with a spatula until just combine, being careful not to overmix.
7. Scoop batter evenly among the muffin cups ( I found a #20 scooper worked nicely). Top muffins with remaining 2 Tbsp of pecans, if desired.
9. Bake for 16 to 18 min, rotating halfway through. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned and a little springy.
10. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan ona rack for 5 minutes then turn them out and allow to cool completely.
These muffins keep for about a day at room temp or 3-5 days in the fridge. They also freeze beautifully.