Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

I apologise for the delay in this post.  With the wedding being less than a week away now I've been caught up in all the last minute preparations, including baking 480 mini shortbread biscuits.  If you've seen the updates on twitter or facebook, you know I'm still not finished yet.  And of course there is still the cake to do as the absolute last minute thing to guarantee freshness on the day.  But there will be more about that in the wedding post when it comes.  For now, let's focus on delicious muffins!

As you may be aware I went to Glasgow a little over a week ago to see the lovely Rainbow Rowell.  All the gushing detail of said visit can be seen in the Pumpkin Mocha Brownie blog post.  I was not alone on said visit though.  I invited my very best friend Jess to accompany me.  Our last jaunt together had been just after I finished my final school placement back in May and just before the awful week I spent working on my e-portfolio.  She had then run off on holiday for 3 weeks so by the time the Rainbow Rowell trip rolled around we were well overdue for seeing one another.

Now that I am temporarily free of academic commitments I was actually able to find the time to bake her a gift, something I was unable to do last time and can feel awful about because she always gives me the cutest presents.  Last time it was a pig she had made and it is so adorable!  But I was devastated I had nothing to give in return.  I just had no time.  So this time around I was determined to bring something (other than that one birthday present that had escaped the package I sent).

The idea to use bananas is down to Facebook.  I'm still getting the hang of Facebook and have only recently started using my personal page (as opposed to the blog's page) for things.  Hence it needed some decoration and I used a picture of my banana cupcakes from last year for a header image, since it is nice and yellow.  Upon seeing it, Jess had remarked that she liked banana cake and thus I knew I would need to include it in whatever I chose to make.

I decided on muffins because it has been ages since I last attempted muffins, it was a bit different from making cakes and because I found a nice, easy looking recipe from Nigella to try out.  I added the chocolate chunks myself though to give it a little something extra.

Now, banana recipes often require really ripe bananas as they give a stronger flavour.  However, I don't keep bananas in my house because neither the fiancĂ© or I eat them and I did not acquire bananas until the day I was needing them.  So of course they were not ripe enough.  So I ripened them myself!  A trick I learnt a while ago is that you can ripen bananas in the oven.  I put the oven on its lowest setting, put the bananas in a ceramic dish and 'cooked' them for about 20 minutes.  They turned completely black on the outside and beautifully soft inside, which made mashing them up very easy.  I would do this in advance of baking so they can cool down again before you use them.

And the final result? Delicious apparently!  They can be a little sticky around the edges after coming out the oven but all in all they are a good muffin.  Jess really liked them and so did the fiancĂ©, and he's not really a fan of the chocolate and banana combination.

Recipe - adapted from How To Be A Domestic Goddess
Makes 12 

  • 30g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 60g/2oz honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas 
  • 150g/5oz plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g/3.5oz chocolate chunks
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
  2. Put the butter, honey and vanilla extract into a small pan and then place over a low heat to melt.
  3. Stir together, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
  4. Mash the banana in a small bowl.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
  6. Mix the honey butter mixture into the mashed bananas and then add it to the dry ingredients.
  7. Mix until just incorporated (try not to overmix). 
  8. Reserve some of the chocolate chunks to sprinkle on top and then add the rest to the batter, folding in gently.
  9. Distribute the batter between the cases, filling them about two thirds full.
  10. Add a few of the saved chunks to the top of each muffin.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  12. Allow to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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