Friday, May 8, 2015

Banana Maple Pecan Muffins

I seem to be focused on brunch lately and this is another very easy and delicious entry.  If you love Banana Bread, these muffins are a super good mini-version that will definitely more than satisfy your craving.

My recipe combines both all-purpose and whole wheat flour in equal parts, a dash of maple syrup in addition to both granulated and brown sugars and some cinnamon and nutmeg to spice up the mix.  The butter is browned for an extra flavor boost and a small amount of sour cream adds tenderness.  Lastly, the muffins are topped with a few chopped pecans for a bit of nutty texture. 

Once your butter is browned, this is a very quick project that comes together with a bowl and a whisk.   You’ll soon have something to enjoy on a lazy weekend or as a comforting partner for your afternoon refreshment break.  They also pack very well for a picnic.

Bench notes:
- Some tips for browning butter:
1) Use a stainless steel pan to best gauge the color of the butter as it starts to brown.  Have a small heatproof bowl near the stove so you can immediately pour off the butter when it's done. 
2) Cut the butter into small pieces so it melts consistently without spot scorching.
3) Use medium to medium low heat and watch it carefully.  As the butter starts to melt and heat up, you'll notice small bubbles on the surface that get larger.  Lift the pan and swirl the butter for more control if it’s browning too fast or nearly done.  You'll notice the milk solids starting to brown on the bottom of the pan very quickly.  Keep your eyes on this and keep swirling.  It will be done very quickly after you notice the first brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Stop when you think it's almost there and just as it begins to smoke.  It will continue to brown off the heat, so pour immediately into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking.   Set aside to cool.
4) If you've gone too far, it will look very dark and taste bitter, so you'll have to start over again.  You’re looking for medium amber brown.
5) When adding the browned butter to the rest of the ingredients, include all the brown bits that have settled to the bottom of the bowl.
- Let the browned butter cool a bit then add the sugars.  And then you'll want it to be cooled down enough before you add the eggs.
- I’ve found that sour cream works best to really tenderize banana pastries. 
- For easy transfer, use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter.

Banana Maple Pecan Muffins
Makes 14 muffins

3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 oz (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (2 1/2 oz) maple syrup
2 eggs @ room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (2 medium; 11 1/2 oz in skins) banana, coarsely mashed
1/3 cup (2 3/4 oz) sour cream
1/3 cup (33 grams) pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 14 wells of standard muffin pans with paper cups. 

Sift both flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Brown the butter until it’s medium amber.  Immediately pour into a heatproof mixing bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then add both sugars and maple syrup.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.  

Add half of the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Blend in the bananas and sour cream.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix just until there are no more flour streaks. 

Portion the batter equally in 14 muffin wells.  Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.  

Bake until a golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 - 22 minutes.  Place pans on a wire rack to cool. 


saturday mike said...

Having all the ingredients in my kitchen, including the sour cream, I was only too happy to try these muffins. They are good!! They're sweet, but the spices help balance it out and they're really flavorful. The only problem I had was getting them out of the pan. I didn't have any muffin liners and thought if I really, really greased the pans... They came out fine, for the most part, with some muffin sides sticking to the pan. Lesson learned. Next time, I'll definitely get some liners.. haha!

pastry studio said...

Glad you were able to enjoy these muffins despite their stubborn removal. I never use non-stick pans so I went with the liners because the crumb is fairly tender.

Hope you're enjoying the start of the spring fruit season!