7/24/10

Brown Butter Banana Nut Muffins

Brown Butter Banana Nut Muffins
Most everyone has a great muffin recipe. This is one I've been working on and I think it's pretty darn good. The basic muffin is based on a Claire Robinson recipe. They're sweetened with honey and I've added a brown sugar and nut crumble on top.

This time I used a 12 -cup muffin stoneware pan made by Pampered Chef that I borrowed from my friend Lisa Loughran. I may never go back to a regular metal muffin pan. The muffins cooked evenly and didn't over brown.  Love it!

These muffins are dense and moist.  They freeze beautifully - I just wrap them individually in plastic wrap, pull one out for breakfast, pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds and they're heavenly...maybe even better than when they first came out of the oven. What could be easier when you're in a hurry but still want a homemade breakfast?  Okay, enough chatter - here's how I made them:

Makes 12 large muffins

Oven 375 degrees F

Topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for brushing

Mix all ingredients together to form a course crumb mixture, then set aside.

Muffins:
8 ripe bananas, medium sized
2/3 cup honey
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups self-rising flour (be sure to use self-rising)

In large bowl, mash bananas, add honey and walnuts, mix then set aside.

Melt butter in medium-sized saucepan (one that seems too large for melting 2 sticks of butter) over medium heat. You'll begin to see the milk solids separate and a white foam will appear on top. Cook until the milk solids have turned golden brown, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on this as you do not want it to burn.
Browning the butter gives it a deep, nutty flavor. This is about the color you want (disregard the bits on the bottom, it's because I didn't 'occasionally stir' as I should have).

Add about half the mashed banana mixture to the browned butter and continue cooking over medium heat for another minute or two. When you first add the banana mixture it will bubble up quite a bit but don't be alarmed, stir it and it will settle back down in a few seconds. This is why you need to use a larger saucepan than you might think, so it doesn't bubble over the sides.

Remove pan from heat and whisk this mixture into the bowl of the remaining banana mixture, then whisk in the eggs. Fold in the flour in 2 batches and be careful not to over mix. Use an ice cream scoop and place one full scoop in each muffin cup.

Topping added and about to go in the oven.

Add topping to each muffin, place in oven and bake for approximately 25-28 minutes. To check for doneness, insert toothpick in center of muffin - it should come out clean or with moist crumbs when done. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan, brush tops with *melted butter and cool on rack.

*You could skip this step of adding melted butter, but it adds a glistening moistness to the muffin top once you've frozen and reheated it. In my opinion, it's worth the extra calories.

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