Caramelized Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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When I think of a true indulgence, I think about baked goods.  During my time of extra strict sugar restriction while I get my remaining baby weight off, I give myself one day a week to indulge in items that would really not even be allowed in moderation for me during the week.  I have to have that day.  It keeps me going during the week to think about all the scones and muffins and other breads I can have on Saturday.

When I was pregnant with Olive, I craved sugar constantly.  Matt likes to joke that Olive is mostly made out of Oreos and cereal.  I ate other things, but yes, carbs were king.  I made baked goods all the time, especially in the last trimester during the coldest part of winter.  For weeks, I kept us stocked up with various muffins for breakfast.  The combination of banana and chocolate chip became Matt’s favorite, and so when we were discussing a post I could do for Friday, he suggested I do banana chocolate chip muffins.  Banana’s Foster has been a favorite dessert (a favorite – there are many) of mine for a while, now, and so when I know there’s potential for bananas AND brown sugar AND melted butter in a recipe, I want to make it as bananas-fostery as possible.  So for this recipe, (adapted from allrecipes.com)  that meant browning the butter (duh) and letting it bubble away with the mashed bananas and substituting some of the white sugar for brown sugar.  I didn’t add rum, but that’s only because I thought it would get lost with the addition of dark chocolate chips, anyway.  I’d really like to try this creation without the chocolate next time (maybe tomorrow?) and add some rum to see if I can taste my efforts at creating a Bananas Foster muffin a little bit better.

I made a “mistake” with my alterations to the recipe.  I didn’t wait for the batter to cool (it was quite hot from being on the stove, turning into caramelized bananas) before I added the chocolate chips, so naturally, they melted.  I was unhappy with my dumb mistake at first, but decided to go with it and when they came out of the oven, I was happy to see a little swirly effect in the batter, which I thought was quite pretty.  I topped the muffins with a slice of banana and brown sugar and some with extra chocolate chips while in the oven.  The brown sugar that melted into goo on top of the bananas was a nice touch.  These muffins are definitely more dessert than breakfast, so maybe you should have them for afternoon snack time with a cup of coffee, instead of breakfast.  I wouldn’t want you to have to take a mid-morning nap or anything…

Caramelized Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
yield: 1 dozen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 super duper ripe bananas, mashed, plus one banana for slicing as the topper for the muffins
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted and browned, if you know what’s good for you
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray 12 muffin papers with non-stick spray and place into muffin tin.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
On the stove, in a medium sauce pan, melt the butter until it begins to brown (you’ll see those grainy butter solids settling at the bottom of the pan) and add the bananas and sugars and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes on medium low heat, stirring periodically.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly and then scrape every last gooey drop into your flour mixture.  Mix well (I just used a fork) and then add your egg and mix just until incorporated.  At this point, if you want your chocolate to remain chips, let your batter cool for a while.  A trick to keep your chocolate chips from settling to the bottom of your muffins is to lightly coat them in flour before mixing them into your batter.  After the batter has cooled, gently fold the chips into the batter and spoon into the muffin liners.  I didn’t let my batter cool, so I was left with melted chocolate worked throughout.  I didn’t totally mix it up so it left a neat swirly effect in the muffins.  You just do whatever makes you happy.
Top the muffins with slices of banana and sprinkle extra brown sugar on top of each slice.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-25 minutes (mine took 23) until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Enjoy your weekend, lovely folks.  See you Monday with a light recipe to start things off right.

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