Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins
I had an abundance of bananas and buttermilk.  I had been eating pretty great all week as far as variety of vegetables and fruits and had kept my portions reasonable and so I didn’t want to totally derail that train by having two dozen muffins in my house.  So I scratched the banana layer cake recipe I found and turned it into a whole wheat muffin made with fresh buttermilk and raw sugar.  I am typically not a whole wheat flour fan because I feel that it gives breads that hint of Play-Doh that has never really appealed to me, much.

The good news about these muffins?  No Play-Doh! The banana and buttermilk mask the whole wheat “thing” and the texture was fluffy and not too dense or heavy like you might expect.  Of course, I added dark chocolate chips because I am a fan of the banana/chocolate combination and think a few more antioxidants never hurt anyone 🙂

Starting today and extending into next week, I’ll be posting good, wholesome recipes that aren’t too indulgent, but will also not leave you feeling deprived, either.  You can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak!

whole wheat banana chocolate muffins

 

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins*
makes 2 dozen

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large)
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup raw, demerara sugar  (can substitute any type)
2 large eggs
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line two muffin pans with papers and spray the papers with non-stick spray.

Into a bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl whisk together mashed banana, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour and banana mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture and stirring after each addition until just combined. (Do not overmix or you’ll get tough muffins – a few lumps are okay.)  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, about 25 minutes total, or until a tester comes out clean. Turn the muffins out on a cooling rack immediately as sitting in the muffin tins will cause the bottoms to brown too much.  Let them cool most of the way before serving.

*recipe adapted from Epicurious

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English Muffins – Family Guest Post

English Muffins from Scratch
The guy that inspires me to do everything better in my life wrote this post today.  He is known affectionately by several of our friends as “The Bread Man” and rightfully so.  After deciding to cook through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice a few years back, he’s baked bread nearly every week since then.  All Matt wants to do in life is to enjoy the process.  It is a rare talent that I do not possess.  I care much more about the outcome than he does and every day I learn from him how to live in the moment, just a little bit better than the day before.  Without any more rambling, here’s Matt’s take on English Muffins…of which I ate six…

Homemade English Muffins

When we go out for dinner and Alisa asks me what I’m in the mood for the answer is frequently (when it’s not pizza) “barbecue or Asian,” so I guess it’s no surprise that I like David Chang so much. He’s become famous for smoky east-meets-west combinations like his bacon dashi. On his excellent series Mind of a Chef he made equally reverent visits to a top Japanese katsuobushi producer and Allan Benton’s Tennessee smokehouse, did an impressive tour of Tokyo ramen shops and drank an equally impressive amount of Kentucky bourbon.

He’s also no-nonsense about flavor, and every dish of his we’ve made has been great. The Brussels sprouts recipe from Momofuku made a believer out of my dad, a lifelong Brussels sprouts hater. From the simple (has ginger scallion sauce made an appearance on this blog yet?) to the complex – and some of his recipes can get mind-numbingly complex – many of his recipes have become household favorites for us.
What does this have to do with English muffins? This recipe actually comes from the Momofuku cookbook, and as a bread lover and general fan of everything Chang does, I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. I actually made this on a recent Sunday night, perhaps fueled by the return of Downton Abbey, and had to laugh when I realized I was cooking English muffins out of an Asian cookbook at midnight.
These are fun to make – the dough is very delicate, and there’s something really satisfying about laying them into a pan that barely seems warm and turning them gently until they seem somehow sturdier, then start to pick up the first hints of the golden brown color we associate with English muffins. As with every other recipe from this book, they were delicious, and as with every other bread recipe I’ve tried I feel like I could spend years trying to master it.
This recipe is actually from Chang’s chef, Milkbar genius, Christina Tossi.  Here’s a link to the chef herself making these, step by step.  There’s really no way to improve this recipe and we followed it to the letter.  Also, I don’t want to write out 16 steps.
English Muffins

A Blueberry Morning

Blueberry Muffins

 

It’s super cold – winter blew in last night leaving everything gray and bone-chillingly cold.  We are having a lazy day inside and all I can think about are these warm blueberry muffins with cold butter and hot blueberry syrup soaking into every crumb.  My mom made this combination quite frequently for us, growing up.  I associate them with cold, Sunday mornings. We needed something rather fast while getting ready for church, yet warming at the same time.  Something Mom could pop in the oven and then have time to get ready, herself!  She would boil the blueberry liquid and add a little sugar to make a wonderful blueberry syrup to pour on top of the muffins.  That was always my favorite part.  Just HOW blue can I make this muffin?

So when I saw a can of wild Maine blueberries in the grocery store, my mind went instantly to these muffins and I had to make them for us.  Mom’s were better, but that’s to be expected 🙂  Stay warm, today, Lubbock!

Blueberry Muffins with Butter Blueberry Muffins with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Muffins with Blueberry Syrup*
makes 12-16 muffins

12 1/2 ounces cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heavy pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh, frozen or I used a can of blueberries packed in water – that part is important if you use canned)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 16 muffin tins with papers and spray the papers with non stick spray.  Whisk the cake flour, baking soda, powder and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, egg and yogurt until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.  Reserve the juice that comes in the can of blueberries and put it on the stove in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup sugar and let it come to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer during the baking time of the muffins.

Fold the blueberries into the batter and divide among the muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Remove and remove from the pan, letting them cool upside down for about 10 minutes.  Split, add a copious amount of salted butter and drown in blueberry syrup.  Cheers.

*adapted from Alton Brown’s Blueberry muffin recipe

Cooking on the Road

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They made up their minds, and they started packing.
They left before the sun came up that day.
An exit to eternal summer slacking,
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?

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I think we might be crazy.  But we’ve made up our minds to drive from here to Seattle in an RV with some really good friends, good music, and good food.  We’re bringing the coffee maker, some good quality beans and our guitars, so I think we may survive. 🙂  We have  friends who live in Seattle, and so we decided to make the trip part of the vacation.  In preparation for a few days on the road, I decided to get to baking.  No one likes to decide what to have for breakfast, so I took it upon myself to make it a no-brainer.  I consulted Annie’s Eats, of course, because that woman knows how to prepare for anything.  She has a wonderful selection of baked goods on her blog, and when I grow up, I want to be just like her.  (I may be older but that’s not the issue, here.)

I chose from her blog, the peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins,(they looked so great but I refrained from taste-testing) the chocolate cherry muffins and the bacon and cheddar scones.  We were forced to taste-test the chocolate muffins because they looked too chocolately for their own good and so what else were we going to do?  Leave it to chance?!  They can hardly be called muffins, in my opinion.  They are nearly flourless chocolate cakes, but just enough flour to make them decadent brownies.  In fact, next time I want to make brownies, I’m using this recipe.  So they might be more for snack time instead of breakfast.

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Chocolate Cherry Muffins*
(I doubled the recipe and it turned out great)

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped if desired

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350º F. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups or grease wells.

In a small heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a small saucepan and melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth and blended. Let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and vanilla until light in color and doubled in volume. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and then the flour mixture just until combined. Stir in the dried cherries. Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the prepared pan and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-30 minutes.

Makes 7-8 muffins.

*didn’t adapt this at all from Annie’s Eats, except for doubling it and using half dark chocolate, half milk because that’s what I had on hand!

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The scones I prepared up until baking and just froze them raw.  Then, I will put them in that tiny RV oven and add a few minutes on to baking time and we will have an amazing breakfast heading down the road!  I can’t wait for our adventure and I can’t wait for all the amazing food we will try and the sites we’ll see and the memories we will make.  And with any luck, we’ll all still like each other when we get home.  🙂  I’ll be sure and take lots of REAL, non-iPhone pictures and have a few posts about our gastronomical adventures when I return.

Bacon Cheddar Scones*
makes 8-10

For the scones:
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper (depending on your preference)
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix briefly to combine.  Add the cubes of butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas.  (Alternatively, this can be done in a regular mixing bowl, using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.)  Add in the grated cheese and mix just until incorporated.

Mix in the green onions, bacon, and 1 cup of the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture.  Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated.  If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in the remaining buttermilk a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch disk.  Cut with a 3″ biscuit cutter into 12 circles, place on a greased cookie sheet, wrap in plastic and freeze till ready to eat.  Before baking, remove from freezer, brush with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

*slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

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