Banana Walnut Muffin with a "Surprise!" Centre: My Debut :)
A brand new kitchen. A spankin' new oven. A kick-butt cooking range. A full cookbook left to try. A deliriously happy me.
I'm back, and this time for good, with a whole new set of things to try. I've missed you. I've missed you a LOT. So we've renovated our kitchen, and after very little badgering (which on its own is a wonderful omen to begin with), I decided to don the apron and matching oven mitts (which I bought), grease out the muffin pans (also), test out the cake tin (I'm all about the impressive looking equipment, guys!), 50 pretty pink muffin liners AND an egg beater, I decided the world is ready to eat my baked goods. I wish impressive sounding background music happened in real life too, because this moment, you know, just calls for it.
For a first recipe, an impression-maker if you will, I needed something that you cannot go wrong with. You should not invest a lot (money and effort) if you're taking baby steps, because once you're thorough with the processes, there will always be a lot of time for getting exotic ingredients. For now, I had some pretty over-ripe bananas in the house. So banana cake/bread/muffin was the way I went, thanks to Rachel Ray.
Having all the ingredients at hand was a blessing. I also had the pretty 0.5 tsp to 1 tbsp measuring spoons that I bought on my stint in Mumbai which made it simpler for measurement purposes. Mashing up the bananas with a fork, whisking the eggs, sifting the flour and baking powder together, folding in the dry mix into the wet mix, it all needs time, and it takes a real lot more time that what it looks like. A lot of patience, concentration and shoulder power if what you need. If you lack either, ESPECIALLY shoulder power, you're in for a painful evening after!
Given the main ingredient, banana, one would have to add some spice to it, just wake the tastebuds to another taste apart from tropical sweetness. Cinnamon was my choice, because there is something in that nutty sweet flavour that just goes so well with all fruits except citrus. I mixed it into the batter as well as made a little sugar cinnamon mix thing for a topping.
I used about 100g of walnuts for 6 muffins. Yes, I love ice creams, sundaes, cakes and muffins that are stuffed to brimful with nuts and dried fruits. The entire point of using so much in the nuts department was simply because I needed a break of texture. Plus the toasty smell of walnuts is so well paired with a bakery (hint: I love baking!)
The walnuts and the sugar cinnamon mix
I went for a surprise element, something I would love had it been me who it was served to. I plopped a healthy spoonful of Nutella, that luscious decadent hazelnut spread in the middle of the muffin. Calorie counting is not the math like to do!
I, of course, went berserk with the photos. I have a few that came out very well, and I thank the days I spent yawning, learning Photoshop, to make them a little more appetizing to look at. I use a basic point and shoot, and don't have the equipment required for a truly gorgeous picture. However, I take the photo as I feel it looks yumyum, and then edit it. One day you guys...one day!
The muffins, ready to be popped. PS: Yes that is my new kitchen thank you very much!
Having popped the pan into the oven, I couldn't help but stare at how amazing, how sweet the muffins looked popping out of their papery confines. Cracking up. Yum. Absolute yum. The kitchen soon enough smells like a new bakery.
Buns in the oven. Heh.
Once it's out, I realized that the cinnamon-sugar on top didn't melt. Not one single crystal. :/
The cinnamon and the banana made everything taste inexplicably like coconut. Really?
The things that went wrong:
a) Use granulated sugar. PLEASE!
b) Use softened, if not melted butter.
c) I'm possibly not using banana again. I somehow don't like the stickyness it introduces.
Frankly, the muffin was brilliant. It was moist, maybe even a little too sticky. The Nutella in the middle had lost the creamy thing, and had become a beautiful crystalline mass. I cannot describe heaven better.
So here you are, my Banana Walnut Muffin with a "Surprise" Centre!
The muffins!!! (With the completely unmelted sugar toppings. Inexplicable man!)
Banana Walnut Muffin with a "Surprise" Centre
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I put about 3 times as much)
- 1 or 2 mashed bananas
- Yogurt or buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 6 cup muffin pan with pretty pink frilly paper cups :)
- In a small bowl, mix a little bit of the sugar with a bit of the cinnamon.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in to a dish. Add the chopped walnuts. If you want, lay it out on a bakeproof sheet and toast it for a few minutes. The aroma is dangerous, because you'll eat it all up and leave nothing for the muffins.
- Mash the bananas. Beat together the egg and yogurt. Introduce the banana. Add the butter. Cool the butter a bit, else you'll have a happy omelette floating in there from the heat and the eggs.
- Put the dry mix into the wet mix little by little and fold in. Don't add the full thing at a go, you'll either sneeze away all the flour or you'll end up with a lump that you'll look at and say "Huh. Well that's wasn't the way that was supposed to look like."
- Fill into the cups about half way. Put a spoonful of Nutella or peanut nutter or white chocolate chips or an engagement ring inside it. Add the other half.
- Sprinkle on some of the sugar cinnamon topping. Bake at 200 C for about 12-15 minutes till the tops rise and crack. Insert a toothpick in the centre and if it comes out clean, you're good to go!
The Nutella centre. Ah!
'Til next time guys!