Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gingerbread Banana Granola Muffins

I should definitely be posting a recipe that's a bit more autumn-like.  I have, after all, made pumpkin donuts and cranberry-orange donuts, which are both fall to winter inspired flavors (I just got a donut pan!  So I'm going a bit crazy with that.)  Autumn is also my favorite time of the year.  I nearly cried of happiness the other day, simply walking down the street seeing pumpkins and crisp leaves and feeling the bite of cool air on my cheeks.  As I said on Instagram, autumn is the real most wonderful time of the year.

But gingerbread is kind of wintery, so let's just pretend I'm ahead of the curve here.  This recipe was a creation born out of the fact that I was actually craving the delicious looking sweet potato granola muffins over on Baker by Nature.  However, the wilting bananas on our little produce shelf were demanding use!  I was going to just do a straight change out of banana mush to sweet potato mush in her recipe, but... I can never leave well enough alone.  So I found Framed Cooks gingerbread muffin recipe, and based the rest off that.

These babies are fluffy and not overly sweet.  The granola gives the muffins a nice textural element, which I cannot live without.   I had the leftovers of a batch of banana granola which was a nice boost of banana flavor as well.   However, feel free to use whatever kind of granola you have lying around or find in the store.  Or throw in a handful of nuts or oats!  Or go completely without.  This recipe likes to be mixed up to your preferences.

Oh, and I skipped the browned butter step.  Not really because I'm lazy, but moreso because I find that putting browned butter into baked goods kind of masks it's incredible flavor.  Unless you're using it as a finisher or in a glaze, I can't really see the point of muting the flavor within your baked good.  That stuff needs to shine!  But.  Maybe you feel differently.  Brown your butter if you'd like!

Gingerbread Banana Granola Muffins
Yields 12+ Muffins
Inspired via here and here

2 1/3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. mashed banana
1/3 c. molasses, full flavored
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk*
3/4 c.+ granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.  I also have a 12-cup mini muffin tin, and had enough batter to fill up both.

Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt into a medium measuring bowl.  Mix with a fork or whisk to combine.

In another measuring bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.  Add in the mashed banana, and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the molasses, then the eggs, one at a time.  Lastly, add the buttermilk, mixing all until fully combined.  Pour a third of this banana mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork until soaked into the flour.  Add another third and mix, and the last third, mixing until the batter is smooth and no flour streaks remain.  Try not to overmix.  Pour the granola into the batter, and use a rubber spatula to mix the granola in fully.

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tins.  Sprinkle a little extra granola on the tops if you'd like!  Put them in the oven, and cook until the tops bounce back when poked and a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes (or around 15 for the mini muffins.) 

*A few tricks if you don't have buttermilk.  Put 1 Tbs. plain yogurt in a measuring cup, and fill it the rest of the way with regular milk.  Mix with a fork, and there's your buttermilk!  You can also mix a bit of milk and lemon juice (maybe a couple teaspoons) and let that sit for 10 minutes or so to sour.  Or just use regular milk. It won't kill your muffins.