Feb 12, 2012

Not Box Muffins

I'm not a baker. See, when I'm cooking, I like allowing myself to just be seized by the moment and, while reaching for the allspice, allow my gaze to travel down to the vanilla and think ... maybe I'll throw that in too! And I can't experiment like that with baking. Oh, sure, I can play around with spices but it's when I start getting really adventurous and swap out eggs or add in buttermilk that things can get dicey. Because, when I'm baking, I have to keep track of the ratios of solids to liquids and acids to bases and, well, I never took chemistry for a reason!

But, somehow, all those insecurities go out the window when I make muffins. For some reason, I can't mess them up. (Oh, look, now I've gone and jinxed myself. Silly omnivore.) Seriously, though, as long as I have a leavening agent(s), I'm good. And whether they rise a lot or a little -- it's fine. As long as they're cooked through and over the top of the muffin pan, I'm happy.

These muffins are very much made from scratch. So much so that, while they were in the oven I kept turning on the light to check and make sure they were ok! The primary impetus was two bananas left over from my frappe that were turning dangerously brown and splotchy. But I didn't want them to taste terribly bananaey (especially since the vegetarian doesn't much care for their taste) and I wanted a little kick so some chile peppers went in as well, along with buttermilk, allspice, vanilla and, to round everything out, Armagnac. They're not quite savory but also not quite sweet. In fact they taste to me like mild banana muffins but with a little unexpected kick at the end. Perfect to wake you up in the morning or the afternoon. Enjoy with ginger almonds and a glass of Armagnac. Or buttermilk, depending on your preference. Bon appetit!

Not-Box Muffins
inspired by Food.com
Melt butter (easiest in a microwave) and stir in vanilla seeds. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas and jalapeno peppers together with a potato masher until well-combined. Add sugar (microwave briefly if hard and lumpy) and buttermilk. Stir in butter and vanilla seeds and Armagnac. In a medium-sized bowl, combine allspice, baking powder, flour and oats. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Butter muffin pan or fill with muffin liners. Fill at least 3/4 way (they won't rise much so it's fine if you fill them higher). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a chopstick inserted into the biggest muffin comes out clean. Let rest 2 minutes, then enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Links to other banana delicacies:

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