A food world devoted to the young chef and those young at heart

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to warm up a morning...

      Waking up early to a cold dark kitchen with the drowsy of sleep still on my mind I shuffle through the stained recipe sheets piled in the cabinet until I found it. The perfect ratio of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs whipped together, transformed into edible joy: banana streusel muffins. They are my favorite gift to give as they scream/seductively whisper deliciousness to all those they meet. Moist crumbles of pillow-y cake texture under crisp sweet brown sugar and caramelized butter, how could they not bring a smile and brightness to anyone’s day?
     Now the secret to the perfect banana bread or muffin or cake or whatever is the banana itself. It is next to impossible to make these things spontaneously; usually these treats are made out of desperation to rid the kitchen counter of the browning-black fruits. In order to avoid begrudgingly made baked goods (no one wants to enjoy dessert made out of necessity rather than pleasure) freezing the bananas is the solution and, as it turns out, the only way to bake banana treats in general. By freezing them you do two things:
      1) You preserve the banana flavor while it is at its peek, the darker and more grotesque looking they appear, the better. For as the fruits ripen they develop more sugars, essential flavoring to your bread or muffins.
      2) As the bananas are thawed they release yummy banana-y liquid vital to establishing moisture of crumb and flavor.

 Banana Sugar Crumb Muffins
12 regular sized muffins

• 1 ½ cups flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 3 frozen bananas or 1 cup thawed overnight or microwaved and mashed
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup melted butter

• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 2 tbsp flour
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tbsp butter (room temp)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease regular sized muffin pan or line with cupcake papers.
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a smaller bowl mix together bananas, sugar, brown sugar, egg and melted butter.
Combine wet ingredients into the dry, stir until just combined and moistened (don’t over work the batter).
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan approximately 2/3rds of the way full.

In a separate bowl, crumble together the last 4 ingredients with your hands into a coarse meal. Sprinkle this crumb topping onto the awaiting muffins.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and batter free (moist crumbs are okay).

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