Banana Crunch Muffins

I think I mentioned back here that it’s been a busy fall around the Circle B Kitchen, what with all the overnight guests and visitors and parties and meals and such.  It’s all been good and fun and yes, quite busy.   I think I also mentioned here that I’m not one to enjoy getting out of bed in the morning and cooking a big ol’ 3-course breakfast.  So the challenge presented to me these past few months has been how to put a delicious breakfast out for everyone without having to get up an hour early to get it all done.

One of the answers to that challenge, besides these and this, turned out to be these banana crunch muffins.  I made them several days ahead and stuck them in the freezer until I needed them.  It was so nice to wake up in the morning and heat up a few muffins and maybe throw some eggs together, maybe not, serve some coffee, and know that I had provided a delicious start to the day without any fuss or effort on my part. 

Of course, the best thing about these muffins is their extreme deliciousness.  The recipe comes to us from Ina Garten, and she definitely got this one right.  I know I’ve told you before that I’m a tad picky about the texture of my muffins, and these were about perfect… moist, a little dense, with just the right amount of fluff. 

Do you have any idea how hard it is to describe the texture of a muffin?  Suffice to say, I don’t like airy, insubstantial muffins that remind me of white cake.  My muffins must have substance, and these are perfectly substantial.  The crunch part comes from chopped nuts and granola; the addition of flaky coconut makes them ever so tasty. 

Now, before you scroll down there to read the recipe and gasp in horror at the sight of ½ lb. of butter, I urge you to take a deep breath and let me explain.  This recipe makes 18 regular-sized muffins.  I did the math, and that comes out to less than a tablespoon of butter per muffin.  So fret not, buckaroos.  If that still freaks you out, you can forego spreading additional butter at the table, which, actually they don’t need at all. 

I still have a few of these gorgeous muffins in the freezer, and with more company coming this weekend, it’s pretty cool to know that I’ve got breakfast covered.  But I will confess to some mixed feelings about using them all up.  I guess the cat’s out of the bag now and I’m going to have to share.  Here’s the recipe…

Banana Crunch Muffins

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy Ian Garten

These are amazingly delicious muffins.  We loved the crunch from the granola (I used homemade), and I added more on the top of each muffin before baking.  I highly recommend it.  If you want to bake these for breakfast, you can mix together the batter ingredients the night before and just add in the granola, chopped nuts, coconut and banana before baking them off.  Or you can make them days ahead... they freeze and reheat beautifully.

Makes 18 large muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 extra-large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)

1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)

1 cup small-diced walnuts

1 cup granola

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Dried banana chips, granola, or shredded coconut, optional (not)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. 

Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola and coconut into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the paper lines, filling each one to the top.  Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola or coconut, if desired (you do!)

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly, remove from the pan and serve.

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