Really, these could be called ridiculously banana, banana crunch muffins, but I thought it might be a little much. A little restraint is needed in the New Year, at least occasionally. I have decided that it might be wise to consume more vegetables, and a few more fruits, this year, and certainly a banana counts as a fruit, although I'm fairly certain that the half pound, yes a HALF POUND(!) of butter in this recipe, make it a little less than the ideal health food.
Nevertheless, these are very, very good muffins. Just not one bit healthy. Sure, there are bananas, and some omega-3's in the walnuts, but these are calorie laden, make your house smell beyond heavenly when you peek into the oven, perfectly topped, deliciousness. They are worthy of an extra ten minutes of exercise. Although, I'm sure an hour would be necessary to actually do much good.
And while I'm definitely someone who tries a lot of new recipes, I'm usually adapting them to meet my needs; a little more psyllium fiber to replace some of the flour, a bit of pureed spinach or blueberries, and nearly always a tonne more cinnamon. But this time? I just decided to make the recipe as is.
It's an Ina Garten recipe, from her Barefoot Contessa book. Something about a crunchy muffin, with banana chips just sounded like something, I really, truly needed. Not a want, but a true need. You know the kind. The kind of need that makes you stay up late just to take a cake out of the oven, let it cool in the freezer, just so you can frost it and eat some before bed. That kind of need.
Except, there's one small problem. I completely forgot the coconut.
And while original recipe says it makes eighteen muffins, I just couldn't see how these weren't going to end up overflowing a little too much. Instead, I ended up with nineteen, even without the missing coconut.
So while, I did make my own granola, I didn't change much in the recipe. Except for the coconut of course. In fact, I hardly made the recipe my own at all. And I'm glad I didn't. It works just fine, just the way it is. But if you want to compare it to the original, or change this one to suit your needs, go for it. It certainly could be healthier, but these sure are good.
Banana Crunch Muffins with Gingery Homemade Granola
4 cups slow cooking oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup golden flax seeds
1/2 cup bran
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger (or more!)
pinch kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the oats, almonds, flax, bran, and pecans in a large bowl.
2. Combine the honey, and olive oil, and warm gently. Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
3. Pour the honey mixture into the oat mixture, and thoroughly stir to combine.
4. Spread over parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake the granola in ten minute intervals, removing from the oven, and stirring. Bake for at least thirty minutes, or until lightly golden brown and fragrant.
5. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet, and then place the granola in an airtight container, for up to one week.
For the muffins:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 pound (1 cup) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas, can be previously frozen)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup granola (see above!), plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup banana chips, plus extra for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an electric stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir slightly to combine. Add in the butter, and slowly mix for a couple rotations.
2. Add the eggs, whole milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Mix, but don't over mix.
3. Remove the paddle attachment, and stir in the remaining ingredients, without overdoing it.
4. Line 18-19 spots in muffin tins. Using an ice cream scoop to help divide the dough, fill the cups until slightly more than full, approximately a tablespoon more than full per cup.
5. Using the remaining granola and banana chips, generously sprinkle the muffins tops with the granola and add a chip or two for some added crunch. Shake from side-to-side to remove any excess granola.
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until lightly golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow the muffins to cool (at least slightly!), and enjoy!