Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Muffin that thinks it's a Cupcake

Okay, so I am not going to pretend that muffins are the latest health-craze, since in essence, the really are just a glorified cupcake. However, what you put into them is what separates them from dessert to perhaps breakfast, or an after school snack. People, and children specifically, eat with their eyes first. And why not? Food can be stunningly eye-catching, or utterly drab.

I love the art of food presentation. I could not draw a beautiful picture if my life depended on it, but I have noticed that no matter how simple food is, if I make it three dimensional, balance the colors and vary the textures, it becomes a work of art. One which never lasts more than a few minutes on it's canvas, the plate, but on the other hand one I have the privilege of creating a minimum of three times a day.

And so I want to share with you my absolutely favourite Banana Muffin recipe - I strongly believe our best recipes should be shared, not hidden. They need to be passed on from one person to the next, otherwise we will turn into a generation of people that eat their best food at restaurants. Oh wait, I think that has already happened! Let's celebrate home cooking, let's reignite the passion, and let's enjoy the after-effects of how it brings family together. This is something the Italian culture exemplifies quite well, as they have kept the tradition of uniting over food alive.
Change this recipe to your liking - you may chose to use one cup whole wheat flour to replace a white. Perhaps a few tablespoons of ground flax seeds can round out the nutrition, that, aside from the sugar, this muffin does deliver. Try toasted sunflower seeds instead of praline peanuts. Just remember - dress it up nice and you'll be eating with a smile on your face.

Sweet Banana Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12 large
1/2 cup unsalted butter, gently softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups overripe bananas, mashed, about 3 bananas - the riper the better -
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a muffin tin; either grease it or line with paper.
In a large bowl, cream softened butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Gently beat the eggs and add to the sugar.
Mash the bananas thoroughly and add as well. Combine well.
Place your flour, baking soda and salt on top of the sugar base. Using a fork, stir the baking soda and salt into the flour.
Now stir the whole thing up, but don't over mix, just until everything is incorporated or you will be eating hockey pucks, not soft muffins.
Divide evenly in the prepared muffin tin.
Gently tap the filled muffin pan on the counter to release air bubbles and to distribute the batter evenly.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until tops are golden but not dark.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan.
Remove and cool completely on a rack before icing.
Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened but not melted
1/4 butter, softened but not melted
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a small whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla.
Continue beating until all clumps are gone.
When the muffins are cooled, pipe un-chilled frosting in a circular motion onto the tops.
Crush a handful of praline nuts in a small zip top bag, using a rolling pin. Do not smash these, but with pressure roll over to crush into smaller pieces.
Sprinkle the frosting with the nuts.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

this looks ridiculously delicious! Gonna have to make this!