How do you feel about bananas? I am ambivalent about them. They are neither my favorite fruit (nectarines) nor my least favorite (papayas). They fall somewhere toward the bottom third of my fruit list. I don’t hate them but I don’t seek them out either. My children, on the other hand, love bananas. Spencer especially. And so I buy a lot of bananas and always think to myself that I can bake banana bread if they start to go bad. But then, no matter how many I buy, my guys eat them and so no banana bread is made. And then I realize that all is well in the banana world because I don’t really like banana bread anyway. Now really, was that the most fascinating paragraph you have ever read?
Recently I found myself with a few bananas and a recipe that sounded surprisingly interesting to me. Roasted Banana Muffins. You take 2 bananas, drizzle them with brown sugar, vanilla, and rum, wrap them up in foil, and roast them for about 20 minutes. What you get is soft bananas swimming in an incredibly fragrant bath and you know just by smelling them that these muffins won’t taste like that old tired banana bread you make to use up old bananas. (For the record, “banana” is a really fun word to type.)
This recipe comes from a cookbook with the unfortunate name of Cake Boy. It is a book that I would have undoubtedly passed by if the charming French author hadn’t made a stop at Book Larder. I didn’t get to meet him, although I hear he smelled like expensive cologne and was extremely handsome, and those facts made me take a second look at his book. An extremely decadent cream cheese brownie and a blueberry muffin that you fill and top with a blueberry compote were enough to make me buy it. (Note: I can’t wait for blueberry season.) Cake Boy lived up to his promise for big flavor with these muffins – my family inhaled them.
And how about those plates! I don’t have any sisters, but I am fortunate enough to have three wonderful sisters-in-law. Two of them, Randy’s sisters (hi Susie! hi Lois!), conspired to send me these beautiful plates from Cat’s Paw Pottery as a holiday gift. Don’t you love them? I hope so because you will be seeing a lot of them…
One Year Ago: Linzer Tart
Two Years Ago: Orecchiette with Fennel, Beets, and Toasted Almonds
Roasted Banana Muffins
Adapted from Cake Boy
Makes 12 muffins
This recipe calls for self-rising flour – an ingredient used frequently in Europe but not as much in the States. You can easily make your own by adding ½ tsp. of salt and 1½ tsp. of baking powder to each cup of flour. Because this recipe calls for 2¼ cups self-rising flour, I just made 2 cups of the self-rising flour and then added another ¼ cup of all-purpose flour. I thought with the additional baking powder already in the recipe that these muffins might balloon out of control but they did not.
I always buy superfine sugar (C&H makes it and you can find it on the baking aisle) but if you only have regular, you can grind it in a food processor. Or, I imagine, you can just use it as is. Report back if you do.
2 large ripe bananas
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. dark rum
6 tbsp. (¾ of a stick) unsalted butter
½ cup milk (I used 2%)
2¼ cups self-rising flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup superfine sugar
Dried banana chips (for topping)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
First, roast the bananas. Peel them, then place them on a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the dark sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and rum. Wrap in a loose but secure package and cook in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Melt the butter and allow to cool. In a bowl, mash the roasted bananas well. With a fork, beat the eggs, melted butter, and milk in a second bowl. Add the mashed bananas and stir through.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and superfine sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the egg and banana mixture, stirring roughly with a fork (don’t overmix) until it is a lumpy paste.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cups to the rims (I use a large ice cream scoop for this). Top each one with some banana chips. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Rest the muffins on a wire rack too cool down.