Banana Walnut Muffins

It has been awhile, I know.  Life has been busy.  We have been preparing for the arrival of a baby boy in December! Along with busy work schedules and a full social calendar, baking and snapping pictures have gotten away from me. But I hope to be “nesting” this fall and have some cozy, delicious things to share more regularly.  I did whip these up and have a few in the freezer for cold fall mornings by the fire.

As I have mentioned many times before, growing up I was a picky eater.  Like really picky, I was that kid that was annoying to have over because I didn’t eat anything.  No cheese on pizza, no milk in cereal, no sauces, plain, plain plain. Did I mention PLAIN?  It was how my mom ate (and still eats).  I branched out in college, understanding the wonders of melted cheese on pizza and even venturing to eat milk in my cereal – as long as no one talked to me while I ate it because I had to shovel it in before it got soggy.  As I got older and my palette has grown exponentially, I have come to realize that any aversions I have now have to do with texture more than taste.

In come bananas. Eating and watching/hearing someone eat a banana makes my skin crawl.  That starchy, sticky, mushy sound and texture makes me gag.  However, not surprisingly, blending them up with some sugar and warm spices and burying them in a baked good cures me of all aversion.  Finding some over ripe bananas on the counter as we were about to head out-of-town for the weekend, I peeled them and shoved them into the freezer.  This week, I thawed them overnight in the fridge, which makes them nice and soft and mushy and whipped up these little treats.  Nothing too fancy, but very satisfying as a mid morning snack with the last of my coffee and a little fig jam.

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Banana Walnut Muffins 

yield = 15 medium size muffins

INGREDIENTS

For the muffins:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or AP flour)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Pinch of cardamom

4 overripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs, room temp

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped

For the topping:

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prep 2 muffin tins (or bake in batches).

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, (or a hand-held mixer with beaters) whip the bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the nuts with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway.

Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and stir to create pea size crumbles. Divide among muffins. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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