Friday, January 13, 2012

Banana Walnut Pick-Me-Up Muffins

I was feeling a bit stressed over the terrible quality of the photo with my curry post, particularly because I think the recipe is both delicious and practical, and I'd like people to consider making it. I made a promise to myself to try to take better photos. Now, I'm not a food photography blog, but I do like pretty pictures of food.

Banana pick-me-up muffins 3

I made these muffins at night but decided to wait until the next morning to photograph them so I could use natural light. Because we have no windows in the kitchen, I decided to photograph these out on the porch. Of course, when I woke up, the wind chill was -4. I braved the elements, and captured a few shots I really like. I hope you enjoy them!

Banana pick-me-up muffins

I feel like these photos do justice to the absolute deliciousness of the muffins. The toasted walnut flavor combines with the hint of coffee to take basic banana to a whole new level. There is enough butter that it lends a rich flavor to the whole muffin, but these are not greasy at all. With whole wheat, healthy fat from the walnuts, and an extra touch of protein from Greek yogurt, these muffins are sure to keep you moving all morning.

To toast the walnuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir often, and keep an eye on them because they will burn easily. Use your nose to tell you when they are done (they will smell delicious!). You could also use pecans in place of the walnuts.

Also, if you have espresso powder, use that in place of the instant coffee. While I think that instant coffee prepared as a beverage is generally vile, I find it lends a good flavor to shakes/smoothies and baked goods, and is an acceptable substitute for the more expensive and difficult to find espresso powder.

If you don't have white-whole wheat flour, you can try substituting equal parts all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I found my flour at Trader Joe's. 

Banana Walnut Pick-Me-Up Muffins
These muffins were inspired by Super Natural Cooking's Espresso Banana Muffins.
Yield: 12-18 muffins, depending on size.

2 cups white-whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tbsp instant coffee
6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Or, to make mini muffins, spray the mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, coffee, and a little more than half of the walnuts in a bowl.
3. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla, then add the yogurt and mashed bananas.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until just combined. Do not over-stir!
5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. To make 12 muffins, you need to fill the tins all the way to the top. I filled to the top of my muffin papers (which were slightly shorter than my pan), and had enough batter leftover for 8 mini muffins. Alternatively, fill each tin about 2/3 full, and make 18 muffins. Sprinkle the top of the muffins with remaining walnuts.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops turn golden brown. For mini muffins, bake 12-15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Banana pick-me-up muffins mini

Despite chilly temperatures, my new workout program is going well, leaving me hungry for plenty of these muffins. Here's hoping for no more single-digit (or negative!) temps or wind chills - this Nebraska wind is serious stuff.

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