So, like, school is hard. And stuff. Between working full time and going to school again, I'm constantly busy (and exhausted). My school-friends and I were talking about our "non-negotiables" to maintain sanity the other day, and one of the things that a few of us had in common was cooking. I've been finding that cooking projects are a good way of breaking up my all-day study/homework sessions on the weekends. Last weekend I made greek yogurt (!) and two batches of bagels. That was ambitious, but well worth it.
Last night, as Greg was driving us home from an outing at a bar, I tipsily mused "I think I'm going to make us apple muffins tomorrow morning." Greg is not one to turn down sweets, and I'm not one to reneg on my promises of baked goods. Upon waking this morning, it turned out that we had only 1 apple, but excessive ripe bananas. Sometimes, things just work out that well.
Banana Apple Walnut Muffins (modified a bit from about.com)
-1/2 cup butter, room temperature
-1 cup granulated sugar
-2 large eggs
-2 large bananas, ripe, mashed
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 cup sour milk or buttermilk (alternately, you can put 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in a 1-cup measuring cup and fill with milk and let it sit 5 minutes)
-1 apple, peeled and diced small
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Cream butter and sugar with an electric hand-held mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add bananas and vanilla and beat until smooth.
2. Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with the sour milk or buttermilk. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened; gently fold in apple and walnuts.
3. Spoon banana muffin batter into prepared muffin cups or liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 400° for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned. Cool banana muffins in pan on rack for a few minutes; turn banana muffins out onto rack to cool longer. Serve warm.
Makes 12 large muffins, plus ~12-16 mini-muffins.
Verdict: Marvelous. These have a crunchy, semi-caramelized outer crust with a soft, flavorful crumb. Plus, your house will smell good all day.