My cousin sent me an email the other day that made me laugh. It was a woman's response to an poster ad she saw at the gym asking "Do you want to be a whale or a mermaid?" (Link here.) I know, it is a little cheesey but it is cute and makes you think. Yes, with that argument, I'd want to be a whale too.
I think one of the joys of food comes not only with eating, but cooking. For that reason, we hosted a brunch last weekend. While I was looking for some brunch recipes, I came across Ina Gartens' recipe for Banana Crunch Muffins. If there is one food network / food tv star that I love, it is Ina Garten. My aunt became a fan of Ina while she was on maternity leave, and recommended her and her show to me. I've been a fan ever since!
Not only does Ina make great food (every recipe of hers that I've tried has been a winner), but follows the philosophy of being a warm, caring, loving and loved individual. The scenic shots from the Hamptons also help. :)
I love bananas, so I copied down the recipe right away - while I didn't make them for the brunch last week, I did sit down and make them this week. I adapted it a little - no coconut (we are not coconut fans. Except for Bubby Rose's macaroons!), frozen bananas, a combination of half & half and skim milk, and pecans in place of walnuts. I also only made half a recipe as M, although he is getting his sweet tooth back, is a not a muffin man. :)
With the addition of the granola and nuts, these muffins remind me of Thrifty's Trail Mix muffins (they have pepitas, granola, and dried fruit in them!). I love the texture all the mixings give to the muffin, and love how the bananas and whole milk keep the muffin moist and tender.
The amounts and method below yield a "Jessicas dozen" - about 10 to 11 muffins. Yes, I like my muffins puffy!
Ingredients (Halved and adapted from Ina Gartens' recipe)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c white sugar (I lessened the sugar as the bananas and banana chips were sweetened)
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 c skim milk + 2 T half and half (or the same amount of whole milk - we don't use whole milk in this house)
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 bananas (previously frozen, slightly mashed)
1/2 c pecans
1/2 c granola (I used
1/2 c banana chips
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a medium muffin pan with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and mix in melted and cooled butter. It will be get a little "sandy" - press it together with your fingertips if you have to. The texture will be like wet sand. Try to break apart any large lumps and make a well in the center.
In a separate bowl, beat egg with whole milk, (or skim + half & half like I did), vanilla, and fresh or frozen banana. Add to the flour / butter mixture and mix until just coming together. Fold in granola, banana chips, and pecans.
Fill muffin cups to the top. Top with additional pecans, banana chips, and granola if desired.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
These are hearty muffins. Great for when I'm on the go or late for work! Will definately make these again, may incorporate some dried fruit too!