I have never been that into muffins--I generally feel like if I'm going to eat something junky and cakey, I'd rather eat cake. Or a cupcake, or whatever. Muffins just aren't tasty enough to merit living the lie that they are good for you.
However, every blogger's favourite new cookbook, Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking has undone many of my muffin prejudices. The first time I flipped through this lovely book, one of the first recipes I stopped on, and read greedily, was her "Espresso Banana Muffins". They were so beautiful, and healthy, even! And they have coffee in them, which is the number one way to my heart!
When a couple of bananas went bad recently, I immediately knew I wanted to try this recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough mushy bananas, so I improvised by throwing in some raspberries as well. The banana/raspberry/espresso combo was killer--a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, a little bit rich. (Seriously, this business of adding coffee to batter is genius, as it just adds that much richeness to it. I had to stop myself from gorging myself on the batter like a coffee addicted maniac.)
So here is Heidi's recipe, recopied lovingly but without permission, and with my own adjustments described above. Check out the book for the original one.
2 cups flour (Heidi advises white wholewheat flour, but I can't find that in this town, so I used normal white flour--I think I might just try it with plain old wholewheat next time, though!)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts (I was too lazy to toast mine)
1 tblsp fine espresso powder
6 tblsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Preheat your oven to 190C. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or alternately, grease it well.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup walnuts, and espresso in a bowl, and whisk to combine it.
In a large separate bowl, cream the butter until it's light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar, and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, yogurt, mashed bananas, and raspberries. Then gently mix in the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine everything properly. Not too much!
Spoon into the muffin tins about 2/3 full, and top with the rest of the walnuts! Bake for 25 minutes or so, until golden. Leave in tin for 5 min or so, and then cool on a wire rack.
What is healthy about this recipe: An awful lot! This is way healthier than any muffin you're like to buy out there in the world. I like the yogurt as a liquid.
What is seasonal about this recipe: Raspberries are just starting to come out in this part of the world--I could not be more excited!
What I learned from this recipe: Coffee makes everything better. Seriously, I am going to try putting a little bit into lots of cakes/muffins/bread/cupcakes in the future. So lovely.
What I will change next time: I'll just mess around with it more--banana and strawberry? Blueberry? Rhubarb? So many options. I'm pleased to have found a muffin recipe that is relatively light, and that turns out insanely moist, perfect little morsels. This one is a keeper.