apologies & the muffin challenge

I’d first like to start off this post with an apology.

I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve abandoned my blog … but I haven’t.  I PROMISE!

I’ve just been ridiculously … insanely … exhaustingly … busy.

In the last month and a half I have …

must love food

  • celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday (extra-amazing & super special).

grandpa

snippets of the party

  • moved in with the manfriend (happy dance).
  • packed and unpacked boxes and boxes of books, kitchen equipment, clothing, shoes … books. More books. So many … hardcover books (aka über heavy to carry).
  • Oh! And I baked for these pretty awesome pop-ups in Magpie’s three Ottawa locations … you not only got to look at some stellar jewellery … and clothing (from Victoire) BUT you also got to nibble on some mini lemon and mini chocolate tarts.

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A-MAZ-ING?!

Holy heck ya! But also super tiring … especially when you add my regular 40 hour a week job into the mix.

I’m pretty darn exhausted.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been baking, taking pictures, editing them and then working on a post. It just means … it takes me a while to get it all done.

I think sharing my banana chocolate – peanut butter chip coffee cake muffin recipe might make it all ok though.

I mean … think about it. Bananas. Chocolate chips. Peanut butter chips. Tossed together and lovingly baked. A total winner … plus perhaps one of my favourite things.

banana chocolate - peanut butter chip coffee cake muffins

These muffins rock it something fierce.  I’m so glad that I decided to give this recipe a go for last month’s baking crew challenge.  When Tom & Aimée, Cory, Meredith and I decided to bake muffins for our March gathering … I think we all kinda thought “muffins!?  seriously.  how exciting” (insert sarcastic voice).

But I’m actually really glad that’s what we baked.

First off … I got to make something new … and something that I think will remain a staple in my baking roster … because frankly … these are divine.

Secondly … Meredith made these perfectly delightful rhubarb & ginger muffins (originally Jamie Oliver’s mother’s day muffin recipe).

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She sourced out some fresh rhubarb and the result was a muffin packed full of rhubarb and a generous amount of ginger.  I loved it.  I actually meant to make a batch of these for my grandfather’s party … (I ran out of time!).  Huge winner.  It’d be great with some strawberry curd stuck in the centre … maybe I’m just getting a little too fancy though?

Tom & Aimée decided to make one of my personal favourite recipes (and it was actually from my blog!) – pumpkin chocolate chip loaf became muffins.

tom & aimee's pumpkin chocolate chip muffin

This is a classic recipe for a number of reasons:

1.  It’s good.  It packs a punch of pumpkin.  Which really means it tastes like the absolute best thing in the world.

2.  Because you add chocolate chips to the mix … it doesn’t taste too healthy.  Or boring.  Nope.  These muffins are good.

3.  Pumpkin chocolate chip loaf is still the most popular recipe on my blog.  There’s a reason for it.

4.  It was the first thing I baked for the manfriend and I after our move.  New kitchen = must test the oven = pumpking chocolate chip muffins.

All in all, this was a successful, and super tasty baking crew challenge.  Everyone gets into a muffin making rut, and by challenging ourselves, we were able to present some tried and true classic recipes … but also added a few new ones to the mix.

I’d like to think that my banana chocolate – peanut butter chip coffee cake muffins are one of those new classics.

I’m also tempted to change it up a little the next time I make them.  I was thinking of drizzling caramel sauce in the centres and then only using the coffee cake topping for the top of the muffin (rather than layering it in the centre as well).  Thoughts?  Am I going too far?

Oh … one important note to make … don’t eat too many of these all at once.  You’ll probably want to.  The first one will taste so good that you’ll think … what the heck! why not?  Well … it just might make you feel a little ill … they are jam-packed with bananas (I used 7 in the recipe) … they also have a handful of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.  And cinnamon-brown sugar.  These are intense.

banana chocolate – peanut butter chip coffee cake muffins

ingredients:

3 c. flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 c. butter, room temp

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 c. mashed fully ripe bananas (6 or 7)

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. sour cream

coffee cake topping:

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Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your muffin pans with non-stick spray.  I don’t use liners for muffins … I don’t know why … it’s just not something I do.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  About 5 minutes at medium speed.  Scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat everything until incorporated.

Add the bananas and vanilla, mixing well.

Add the flour mixture and the sour cream to the batter: alternating between each addition, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix well.

Fill each muffin tin with a tablespoon of batter.  Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the coffee cake topping.  Cover with more batter.  Sprinkle with the rest of the coffee cake topping.

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Bake for 22 minutes … or until the top of the muffins bounce back when gently touched / or your toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to sit in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Then remove and allow them to cool completely.  Or seriously … just dig right it.  These are too good to wait.  PLUS this recipe is a winner because you get over 3 dozen regular sized muffins AND 1 dozen large muffins.  Think of the amount of mini muffins you could get?!

Oh … and on another note.  Although Cory didn’t participate in the baking crew muffin challenge … we did have another guest.

Tom & Aimée recently got FENTON the cutest little fella ever … and so after eating muffins, we all sat down and hung out with him.

Isn’t he adorable?

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cardamom chocolate chip banana loaf

I heart Donna Hay.  She is to me what … Martha & Nigella are to other people … I think she’s awesome (I also think her donna hay ipad app is pretty spectacular as well).

I heart that she makes things that I want to make, are easy to make, and that they actually turn out!  Plus … her food styling rocks my world.  Seriously … I’ve found myself thinking … how would Donna make this look?  It’s become a slight obsession.

And I’m totally cool with that.

Who wouldn’t want to make something that looks good?

And when you look at her recipes and realize … oh yeah – I can totally do that! 

Like this one.  It’s so simple … but so delicious.

I wouldn’t call this a banana loaf.  It’s more of a spice loaf with bananas on top … but it’s still delightful.  For realz.  This might become a new little gem in your recipe folder.  

Donna Hay’s original recipe was banana cinnamon breads.  I decided to change things up.  I flipped through my flavour bible and decided that pairing cardamom, chocolate chips and bananas would work well.

I was right (well … the flavour bible was right).

This is a real holiday recipe – spicy and sweet (the bananas and the chocolate chips) … plus it smells absolutely amazing while baking. 

And it’s good two days later … even when you’ve kept it in the fridge (I’m not a fan of keeping baked goods in the fridge … it sucks all the moisture out). 

Oh yeah … it’s super adorable – so again … another awesome hostess gift!  Or perfect for Christmas morning … or a couple of days after Christmas when you just want something good to eat without all the fuss.  This recipe will answer that need.

I decided to double the batch … I was seeing lots of friends and wanted to bring everyone a little lovin’ from my oven.  Doubling meant that I made 1 dozen mini loaves and 1 dozen extra large muffins.  Both turned out great – and their size meant that I was able to bake them in under 30 minutes.  AWESOME!

cardamom, chocolate chip & banana loaves / muffins

ingredients:

5 oz butter, room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. almond meal (ground almonds … or hazelnut meal would work too)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon if following the original recipe)

1/2 c. chocolate chips

2 bananas, sliced

melted butter for brushing

brown sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your mini loaf pans, or muffin pans with non stick spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy – about 5 minutes.  Add the egg  – beating well. 

Turn off the mixer.  Add the flour, baking powder, almond meal, buttermilk, and cardamom and fold in until smooth.  Toss in the chocolate chips and stir until they are evenly distributed.Grab your ice cream scooper and scoop the batter into your pans – I used 2 scoops in both the loaf pan and the muffin pan molds. 

Grab your bananas and slice them.  As you can tell – slice them however you want … I think thicker is better – since they will be caramelizing as the batter bakes … and you want them to keep their shape.

Gently brush the melted butter on top of the banana slices, and then generously sprinkle brown sugar on top of the melted butter.

Done!

Bake for 25 minutes – they will be golden and smell ridiculously delightful (you might want to bake them a little longer … resist the urge – you don’t want them to dry out … don’t forget – since there is no banana in the batter, it’s not overly moist to begin with).

Remove from the pan mold immediately.  You don’t want them to keep baking.  Allow to cool on a wire rack … these are great warm from the oven … but equally delicious at room temperature.

I think I’m going to make another batch of these this week … only perhaps I’ll make them into mini-muffins and bring them into the office … or just save them for myself :0)

just a bite

 

Sometimes all you want, all you need, is one bite. One bite of something sweet… one bite of home baked goodness. These mini muffins are those little bites (well, more like 3 bites, unless you’re in a hurry).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins remind me of my mom; of being a kid and the excitement of coming home from school to a freshly baked treat. I decided to take the classic recipe and make mini muffins… they baked up perfectly, with slightly golden puffed tops…super cute and absolutely delicious. Who doesn’t love a muffin? Especially one that brings you right back home, sitting in the kitchen with your mom. :0)

*Special note for Abigail… these could be perfect for your “coffee, cake, 1000 words per day” goal… only substitute the muffins for the cake ;0)

Traditional Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (mini sized)
ingredients:
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. oatmeal (not instant)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. mini dark chocolate chips (I used mini since the muffins were going to be mini)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line your mini muffin tin with paper liners – I was able to get 24 muffins out of the batch.

In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk and the oatmeal; then allow them to sit for about 10 minutes or so.

While you’re waiting, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Go back to the soaked oats and use a large spatula to stir in the egg, the brown sugar and the oil. Add the flour mixture to it and stir to just combine (you’ll see, all it takes is a few strokes). Toss in your chocolate chips, incorporate those and, voilà! Your muffin batter is done.

Grab your mini-ice cream scooper and scoop out the batter evenly into each muffin liner – you want the batter to hit the top (so that you get a nice puffed up effect once baked).

Bake for about 12 minutes (I checked at 10 minutes and then added a couple more minutes for good measure). Remove from the oven, allow to sit in the muffin tin for another 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack… but really, why wait?