musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bananas for Banana Bread Muffins

This weekend we made a pot of Pork Colombo, and being ever-aware of the current 'somewhat-healthy-food-diet' I am supposed to be observing, I passed over (quite reluctantly) the Cinnamon-Chocolate Cake recipe I typically make to go with this spicy Caribbean stew.

Desperately looking around the kitchen for inspiration. . . my gaze landed on a couple of 'seen-better-day-bananas' and Banana Muffins won.

 This is a wonderful recipe from Hubster's beloved Grandma who was Martha Stewart before Martha was Martha.  She passed the recipe along to us March 8, 1992- according to the date she included on the hand-written recipe card.

Banana Muffins

8 oz cream cheese or neufschatel cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup (approximately 2 large) mashed ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt

Before we get started - I just wanted you to know  this recipe makes 1 extra large loaf, 2 'regular' loaves, 6 mini-loaves, 18+  'regular' sized muffins, or approximately 36 mini muffins.  I opted for 6 regular muffins and 2 dozen mini muffins.

First things first - no, don't preheat your oven.  Not quite yet.  But do start beating the cream cheese (make sure it's softened to room temperature) and sugar until light and fluffy.

Now preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare whichever baking pans you've chosen.
I greased my Pampered Chef metal mini muffin pan, and used paper liners for my Celebrating Home crockery regular muffin tray.

While the cream cheese mixture is beating - mash your bananas

And blend in the eggs and vanilla

Set aside.

Combine the last four dry ingredients and set aside.

Your cream cheese sugar mixture should be looking something like this:

So then its time to combine all ingredients

in the large mixing bowl until just moistened through

Time to fill those baking pans about 2/3 - 3/4 full

Perfect fit:-)

Baking times:

Large (9 x 5 x 3) loaf:  one hour (cover with foil last 15 minutes)
Regular loaves:  50 minutes (cover with foil last 10 minutes)
Mini loaves pan:  35 minutes
Regular muffins:  30 minutes
Mini-muffins:  20 minutes

*All times are approximate and will vary according to your oven, type of pan used, and altitude.

While still hot, you can brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  I've also served with honey butter (combine equal parts of honey and room temperature butter) a time or two. 

Or, as Grandma used to do it, "spread a little cream cheese frosting on the top to make a glaze and sprinkle with a few nuts if desired."

Cream Cheese  Frosting
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 oz neufschatel cheese
Combine sugar and cheese in medium bowl. Mix on medium speed with electric mixer until smooth. Add more sugar if a thicker consistency is desired.

I have substituted 1/2 cup brown sugar for the white sugar in the past - and that's an extra tasty treat.  I've also added a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon for a bit of 'wow.' You can also add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans in the batter.  When I have whole walnuts around, I'll stick one in the top of each mini muffin instead of putting chopped nuts in the batter itself.  There's just all kinds of little variations that work well with this recipe.

I made these 'straight up' this time just to keep them a bit more nutritious and bit lighter in calories. . . they're still big in taste, though!

These are best served warm, but do keep well in a covered container on the counter for several days. . . if they last that long. 

Have a Banana-Batter kind of day ~

Robin Z

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