Mar 1, 2012

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins

Without a doubt, February has been the banana month. I think it's something about the weather (not that it's been particularly wintry this month but bear with me): when it's cold, I crave sweets. Not sugar so much but definitely fruits. And heavier foods. And spices (especially cinnamon). All of these lead me to baking, hence the influx of muffins.

So when the end of the month rolled around and it was time for our Monthly Cooking Adventure, I knew I wanted to make something with bananas. I was inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home. I wanted to make the flavor more complex, however, so I added a sour undertone with creme fraiche and lemongrass. Not wanting the sour to be overpowering, in went some sweet cinnamon and nutmeg. That led us to "theme" the evening "Breakfast for dinner" so some Beet Pancakes with Pomegranate Syrup came along for the ride. To round it all out, we drank the vegetarian's Pomegranate Mimosas. Bon appetit!

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
inspired by Barefoot Contessa at Home

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If desired, fill muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together wheat bran and buttermilk. Set aside. In a food processor, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes.

Add creme fraiche, eggs, molasses, orange zest, vanilla extract, lemongrass and safflower oil, pulsing 1-4 times and then scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the bran-buttermilk mixture and pulse another 4 times. In a clean large bowl, stir together cinnamon, flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Add to food processor in three stages, pulsing 5 times and scraping down the sides after each addition. Don't overmix! Fold in raisins, bananas and walnuts. Fill muffin pans full with batter and bake 25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

Links to other banana cinnamon delicacies:

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