whole wheat roasted banana muffins

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I first made these muffins on a whim, I had two super-ripe (on the verge of garbage-can-ripe) bananas sitting in my fruit bowl begging not to be thrown away. I stared at them for a long time, thinking,  relatively certain that every banana bread recipe in the world requires more than two bananas. I could have made some banana pancakes, but at 7:00 PM on a weeknight (after we had just eaten dinner) it might have seemed just a touch odd to start making pancakes.

So, I pondered a moment and decided in a moment of genius to ROAST the bananas. In my big dinosaur brain I figured with SAT-style math equations that two ripe bananas plus the roasting power of the oven (divided by the square root of the deliciousness of regular banana bread) should equal the flavor of at LEAST three bananas… Then I decided to amp up the flavor with a bit of whole wheat flour and tweaked the moisture content just a bit to make sure the texture doesn’t go bananas on me (ha- get it? BANANAS).

Et, voila!

Banana bread was had. Well, banana MUFFINS, to be more exact. But in my world banana “muffins” are really just banana bread poured into a muffin tin.

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They ended up being FRIGGIN DELICIOUS and I couldn’t wait to share them with you guys… except that I didn’t have any to share. Because instead of sharing them with you I shared them with my belly. So I had to buy some more bananas and play that dreadful game we all play when we want to  make banana bread: The Waiting Game.

Buy bananas now, eat banana bread in 5 to 10 days.

Must not consume all of the bananas before said day arrives.

I also fully intended, now that I had purchased a surplus of bananas specifically to make these muffins, to do that thing where you bake a slice of banana on top of the muffin and it looks super pretty.  Unfortunately, due to a fierce smoothie addiction that is apparently contagious (since FH caught it), I ended up with the same issue as last time – only two bananas.

No extra banana fanciness. Maybe next time. For now, make the bananas, maybe press a piece of sliced banana in the top and let me know what kind of magic happens. Throw on some streusel while you’re at it, or stir in some chocolate chips… Or, if you’re evil like me, trick your Future Husband (or person of your choice) by whispering to them menacingly after they’ve raved about how good the muffins are, “Psst – they have whole grain flour in them…” and watch the color drain from their face as they stare at you in horror for making them eat something (almost) a teeny bit healthful.

You monster.

roasted banana muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 to 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 (or 3) ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup regular all purpose + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up) and roast about 20 to 30 minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, mash roasted bananas. Once the bananas close to room temperature, whisk in the sugars and oil until incorporated.
  5. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  6. Add the flour in two additions, and gently fold until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Notes

*If you would like to top these with streusel or just a bit of crumbled brown sugar, it will yield a slightly sweeter muffin.

*You can still see little chunks of banana in my muffin - if you don't want chunks just mash your bananas to be chunk-free!

*These were great with 2 bananas (which was all I had on hand) but if you want to add a third banana (mashed or chopped) I would keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/03/11/whole-wheat-roasted-banana-muffins/

Apple Muffins

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Apple season is upon us, and as we’ve already discussed that pies are not my favorite thing to make, and after achieving great success with apples in cake form, I turned my focus to the next logical apple vessel: muffins.

I recently inherited a wonderful America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, called the “Quick Family Cookbook.”  While it’s not winning any awards in the style department, it is chock-full of AMAZING recipes.  And, I see that it’s super cheap on amazon.  If you don’t own this book, quickly run to amazon (or your local bookstore, whichever you prefer to support) and pick up a copy right now.  Like, “now,” as in before you even finish reading this post.

Do it.

Anyway, back to the muffins!

They require ingredients that you probably have on hand and very minimal effort, and  what you get in return is a light, flavorful muffin packed with apple flavor.  This muffin is light enough that it won’t make you feel guilty about going in for a second one, and flavorful enough to sate even the strongest apple craving.

 

Apple Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin (either grease or line with liners)
  2. 1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine.
  3. 2. In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk in the melted butter until smooth, then whisk in the eggs one at a time, being careful not to overmix. .
  4. 3. Gently fold the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. It might be a little lumpy, that's OK.
  5. 4. Portion batter into prepared muffin cups, Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing from the pan.

Notes

These are great with a sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar (because what doesn't taste better with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar?) For my usual cinnamon-sugar, I mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1 Tablespoon of sugar).s - sprinkle on top of muffins before putting them into the oven.

Try adding chunky applesauce or some apple chunks to boost up the apple-appeal even further.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/10/29/apple-muffins/

[ Adapted from The America's Test Kitchens Quick Family Cookbook ]

apple cake tatin

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Now, I’ve never been a huge ‘pie’ girl.  All the rolling and cutting and par-baking and fussing… I just don’t have that kind of energy (generally speaking).  As ashamed as I am to admit it… when I do bake a pie, it’s often with the aid of a store-bought crust.   I know, I should probably just go kill myself now.  Especially when we have such dedicated bakers who make such marvelous pies and poor Ms. Natalie can’t be bothered to run her food processor for 30 seconds and wait for the dough to chill after rolling it out.

I should just throw myself off of a cliff.

So when apple pie season rolls in and you’re not a huge pie person but you still want to serve a delightfully autumnal dessert, what’s a girl like me to do?

Cake!

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FYI: I find that in much of life’s dilemmas, the answer is usually cake.

I spotted this cake ages ago on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, and it’s been sitting in the back of my brain ever since.  Just gnawing at my willpower.  Whispering from my subconscious to my brain, “make me…”  So, I did!

It basically ends up like a caramel apple upside-down cake, which isn’t as fancy as Ina’s title of “apple cake tatin”, but let’s be realistic here.  This is a caramel apple cake.  I’d bet it’s best served warm with a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream, but a cold slice for breakfast is enjoyable as well.

I mean, it’s healthy… “apple a day” or something like that.

Apple Cake Tatin

Ingredients

  • *6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • *1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • *1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • *2 large eggs, room temperature
  • *1/3 cup sour cream
  • *1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • *1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • *1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • *1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • *1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • *Confectioners' sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish (I used a cake pan lined with parchment) and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.
  3. Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, and registers about 360 F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices. Stare in awe while it bubbles.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
  6. Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm with ice cream, or at room temperature.
http://wee-eats.com/2013/10/14/apple-cake-tatin/

[ Adapted from Barefoot Contessa ]

apple and brie bruschetta

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Ok, so I  noticed (after the fact) that I’ve been posting my bruscetta recipes on Tuesdays.

And I’m a total idiot because if I had actually planned it I could have given it a catchy name like, “TOASTY TUESDAY!” or “Tuesday Toast” or … ya know… something with alliteration.

Alliteration is the best.

Anyway, this might actually be the easiest of all the bruschetta recipes because you don’t really have to make anything, you just need to be able to slice an apple without cutting your fingers off.  I realize that this is easier said than done sometimes, but it’s really that easy!

Just spread some super-creamy brie on a piece of toast, top it with a drizzle of honey, and then put your sliced apples on top!  Voila!  I used to drizzle the honey on top, because I thought that looked prettier, but I learned that it’s much neater to put the honey UNDER the apples.  No more sticky honey fingers!

If you love bruschetta as much as I do, you should probably visit my other recipes:

Apple & Brie Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 loaf french bread, sliced cross-wise and toasted
  • 2 to 3 medium crisp apples, like granny smith
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Creamy brie, at room temperature
  • Honey

1.   Slice and toast your bread as desired.  Slice apples and toss with lemon juice to help prevent browning.

2.  Spread each slice with brie while still slightly warm.  Drizzle with honey and top with sliced apples.

3.  Sit back and enjoy!

 

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strawberry bruschetta

Sick of strawberries yet?

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No?  Good.  Neither am I.

Continuing on with my strawberry obsession, I finally had to cave and give strawberry bruschetta a try.  The mix of sweet strawberries and fresh basil make this a sweet-savory snack that is hard to resist.  I added a drizzle of balsamic glaze to bump up the sweetness a bit, and even a smear of mascarpone which really made it about as close to perfect as it could get.  I mean, we already know that strawberries and mascarpone make a good team.

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I’ve also seen recipes that call for a smear of goat cheese, which would give it a nice tang to contrast the sweet strawberries, but that’s not really what I was looking for (goat cheese is not my favorite cheese).  If you’re really into goat cheese, go ahead and give it a shot, but I personally love the flavor of this with creamy mascarpone.

Strawberry Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 2 – 4 ounces mascarpone or goat cheese (optional)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Mix strawberries, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and basil in a medium bowl.  Toss to combine and set aside.

2.  Slice baguette into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Toast under the broiler until lightly golden on each side.

3.  Spread desired amount of cheese onto each slice of toasted baguette, and top with strawberry mixture.  Drizzle each slice with balsamic glaze.  Eat and enjoy.

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