The day before we left for summer vacation back in July I made these muffins and lordy my, why have I been hanging on to the recipe since then?! As I type this out I’m wondering if I can post this speedily enough so that I can whip up a quick batch before S wakes up from her nap. It’s chilly and grey here and if there’s one thing this afternoon could use to spruce it up it’s a banana bread muffin and a cup of tea. Instead – and unfortunately – I will probably stay curled up in my blue chair listening to the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and eating pistachio nuts until my time is up and I’m back on duty.
Still, it’s tempting to jump into the kitchen and I’ll tell you why: butter is browned and swirled with dark brown sugar and tempered with a bit of vanilla and molasses and sweetened a little more with bananas and just to seal the deal a handful of dark, dark chopped chocolate and you end up with the kind of banana bread-y muffins you want on an international flight … on your kitchen counter … as your post-run treat … Oh, man.
This recipe comes by way of Joy the Baker but of course I doctored it up, replacing some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat pastry (see the head notes for a gluten-free variation), adding chocolate and toasted walnuts, making muffins rather than bread. We’re moving countries in 5 weeks — east, to the desert — and as I usually tend to do before a big move I bake a lot and then eat all the things. (I run a lot, too, which handily helps counter that first bit.) So yeah, I probably should slide a pan of these into the oven right quick. You probably should, too.
To make these muffins gluten-free, substitute 1 cup gluten-free oat flour + 1/2 cup white rice flour + 1/2 cup brown rice flour for the whole wheat pastry/all-purpose flours. To make vegan, substitute 1/2 cup coconut or olive oil, omit the eggs, and use 1/4 cup of your non-dairy milk of choice.
Makes 12 muffins or one 9×5-inch loaf.
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain whole fat yogurt
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 teaspoons molasses
1 cup chopped bitter/semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir in the chocolate and nuts if using.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Whisk in the mashed bananas and molasses. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour; don’t over mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.