Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins have the WOW* factor

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So much of cooking is by accident rather than design. I’m sure I’m not the only cook who hides her mistakes under the nearest tea-towel and celebrates the successes as if they were intended. These successes are a good example of serendipity... (I love that word).
Serendipitous muffins... the best sort!
I had intended porridge for breakfast this morning, but when I entered the kitchen, I was faced with three sad freckled bananas with a ‘pre-compost bin’ look about them. Enter the WOW factor.
My youngest sister is waging *War On Waste. I call it the WOW factor: if she allows a foodstuff to go bad then she cannot buy it for two weeks. To use up the sad bananas, I was inspired to make Banana Peanut Butter Muffins for breakfast instead. Here’s how that inspiration went:
7.30am – After measuring out most of the ingredients, I discover a major butter shortage – nowhere near enough for this recipe. Damn! Must have banana peanut butter muffins...
7.31am - I discover a packet of creamed coconut, with a use-by date of right about now (more WOW factor). It worked perfectly in place of the butter I normally use and filled the kitchen with a heavenly smell – actually pretty similar to the ah-mazing Coconut Melt Massage my holistic therapist sister does.
The result was a light fluffy flavourful muffin and I had just enough butter to make a silky peanut butter icing.
For 18 sinful muffins you will need...
... to pre-heat your oven to 160°C

200g creamed coconut, grated (or softened butter if you prefer)
100g crunchy peanut butter
250g very ripe bananas (that’s about 3 small bananas)
2 eggs
80mls fresh milk

150g plain flour
50g oatmeal flakes
25g Bourneville cocoa powder, sifted
100g caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon salt

50g banana chips (optional)

1          In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the creamed coconut, peanut butter and bananas until they form a smooth mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions until well combined. Now, add the milk and beat until combined.
2          Measure the rest of the ingredients - except the banana chips – into a separate bowl.
3          Add the coconut mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon just until no dry mixture remains. Finally, stir in the banana chips if using.
4          Using an ice cream scoop or dessert spoon, divide the mixture between 18 lined muffin tins, filling them no more than three-quarters full.
5          Bake for 18 minutes until well risen and cooked through – a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. If any mixture adheres, bake for a further 5 minutes and test again.
6          When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
They are really good just as they are, with hints of underlying chocolate and coconut flavours beneath the brazen banana peanut exterior. I like to push to boat out by adding a Peanut Butter Frosting. The following quantities make enough frosting to swirl over 6 – 8 muffins – I put the rest into the freezer out of temptation’s way.
For the peanut butter icing you will need...
80g butter, softened
80g crunchy peanut butter (you could use smooth peanut butter if you want completely smooth frosting)
160g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh milk

1          In a medium bowl beat the softened butter together with the peanut butter until combined. Then add the icing sugar and mix until combined. An electric mixer is best for this job but go easy when adding the icing sugar unless you want a lovely sweet cloud filling your kitchen.
Potential sugar cloud...
2          Add the vanilla extract and milk and continue mixing until you have a smooth icing.
3          Swirl a generous portion of icing onto each cooled muffin.
Naughty breakfast is served... WOW!
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