Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The 21st Century Housewife's© Banana Walnut Muffins


The cold and rainy autumn weather always makes me want to bake muffins and fruit loaves. They are delicious for breakfast or a snack, and the ones that involve fruit and nuts do actually qualify as pretty nutritious, although they are fairly high in sugar.

This is a really easy recipe to throw together, and is a great way to use up over-ripe bananas. It may seem odd to have both buttermilk and milk in a recipe, but trial and error has led me to the discovery that in the case of banana muffins, using all buttermilk can make the flavour slightly too rich. Having said that, buttermilk really adds something to muffins so I didn’t want to leave it out entirely - hence my compromise of half and half.

I love the spicing in these muffins, and the smell of them when they are baking makes them hard to resist. Try to use freshly grated nutmeg if you can - it really does make a huge difference to the flavour. Another tip - use the ready chopped walnut pieces that you can buy in most grocery stores. They are cheaper than walnut halves and it saves time and mess if you don’t have to do the chopping yourself.

My recipe makes a big batch of 24 large muffins, but that is no problem as they freeze very easily once cooled. If you really don’t want 24 muffins, just pour half the mixture into a loaf tin and make a banana walnut loaf instead of all muffins. You just have to remember to bake it for longer - about 50 to 60 minutes, instead of the 20 to 25 minutes the muffins take.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup oil
(sunflower or mild olive oil works well, but not extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk

Measure the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts into a large bowl and stir to mix.

Place the mashed bananas in a medium bowl and add the sugars, eggs, oil, buttermilk and milk. Mix thoroughly.

Add the banana and sugar mixture to the flour mixture and stir thoroughly until well blended, but don’t beat. Divide the mixture between 24 large lined (or greased and floured) muffin cups.

Bake at about 350℉ or 170℃ for 20 to 25 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean (ie. with no batter clinging to it). Keep an eye on these in the last five minutes or so of cooking or they will over-brown.

Take the muffin pans out of the oven. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on wire racks. I feel obliged to mention here that these are delicious warm from the oven with a nice hot cup of tea!

Once cooled, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator if possible. (Bring to room temperature or warm in the microwave before eating.) To freeze, wait until completely cool and then seal in freezer bags or containers before freezing.