The Ultimate Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin

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Today, while staring at a sad bunch of bananas, (which sat on my counter looking forlorn and forgotten), it dawned on me to make banana muffins. I’d never met a banana muffin recipe that I’d liked…until today. This one is from the famous Flour’s Bakery…with only a few changes. Instead of sour cream, I added plain yoghurt, and substituted chocolate chips for the toasted nuts (which I would have added, if only I’d had them). If you’re looking for the ultimate in a banana muffin, your search can now end. You’ll find just the right amount of banana flavor, perfect moistness, and delicate, fluffy crumb right here with this recipe. The recipe was actually intended for banana bread, so if you feel like banana bread, go for it. KC wanted muffins, and gloriously ended up with the ultimate in banana ones!There is a wonderful flea market, which  began about six months ago, here in San Miguel de Allende, called La Pulga. Translated from Spanish, it means the flea. Vendors sell everything imaginable, but KC has noticed recently, that the vendors selling food seem to be the most successful. Being one of the vendors, I’ve decided to stick with what the public wants and I hope to deliver this month with these delicious muffins, my carrot cake muffins, and other tantalizing goodies that come to my clownish mind before the 15th. I’ll keep you posted on my success …hopeful success, that is.

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda ( 3/4 teaspoon, if baking at high altitude)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons ( omit the extra 2 Tablespoons, if baking at high altitude)

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup oil

3 1/2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 Tablespoons yoghurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cups toasted, chopped walnuts, or pecans

Chocolate frosting, or nutella to cover muffins (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl. In a separate, small bowl, beat the eggs. Add the eggs, oil, mashed bananas, yoghurt ,vanilla, chocolate chips and walnuts to the flour mixture and whisk together, making sure it is all well blended. Line a 12 capacity muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each 3/4 full and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown . Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in center… it should come out clean when done. Remove from tins when cool, and frost if desired.

Yield: 12 muffins

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Awesome Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Awesome you ask? Absolutely! Addictive? You’re darn tootin’! They are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, just like a proper cookie should be. I’m including directions for altering ingredients for high altitude baking. If you live and bake at a  high altitude, like i do, in San Miguel de Allende, MX (6,200 ft.), you will definitely have more success in your baking attempts by following these alterations. They are as follows:

Reduce each cup of sugar called for in the recipe by 2 Tbs.

Reduce each teaspoon of baking powder, or baking soda by 1/4 teaspoon

Increase each cup of liquid by 2-3 Tbs

Save these and paste to a handy place (like the side of your fridge),if you’re high…altitude. These changes will make your baking days much happier!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda, or (3/4 teaspoon for high alt.)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each salt, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed( less 3 Tbs. high alt.)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup raisins

Directions:

In a bowl stir together flour,baking soda, cinnamon,salt, nutmeg, and cloves to combine thoroughly. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In mixer bowl combine butter and brown sugar, and beat until well blended. Add eggs,one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix to blend.

Gradually add flour mixture until just blended. Stir in  the rolled oats and raisins.

Drop by tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto a silpat-lined, or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Cool on wire racks.

Yield: Approximately 4 dozen 2 1/2″ cookies.

Dessert Pizza

Kitchenclown tried her first dessert pizza at a place called Pizza Pig, on the road to Dolores Hidalgo. It brought tears of joy to my eyes, it was SOOOOO good. Tim, the very nice owner, makes really thin crust pizzas( as do I) so, I thought it would be a tragic shame if i didn’t  at least try to whip up a reasonable facsimile at home. BINGO! Kitchenclown scored! You will too, if you decide to womp one up!!!!

For the dough: This dough recipe will yield two pizzas.You may freeze the extra ball for another use.

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (always check expiration date for freshness)

1 cup warm water(110 degrees)  I use a candy thermometer, which is really helpful, because if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and guarantee a failed project.

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the warm water.Next, stir in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble and get frothy. While the yeast is working it’s magic, place 2 1/4 cups flour in a medium sized bowl. Add the salt to the flour. When the yeast has started to bubble nicely, add the frothy, yeasty mix  to the flour. Mix with a wooden spatula until you have a somewhat cohesive ball. Let rest for 10 minutes. Knead the dough  for 10 minutes, adding extra  flour,if needed,until the dough is no longer tacky and you have a smooth, elastic ball, which no longer sticks to your fingers. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a separate , medium sized bowl. Add the dough ball and rotate it, covering all sides with the oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl as it rises. Cover the bowl and place in a warm spot to rise. When doubled in size( usually about an hour), punch dough down and divide into two balls.Place one ball onto the center of a silpat lined cookie sheet. If you don’t have one of these nonstick liners, you may sprinkle the cookie sheet lightly with cornmeal.Roll the dough out, with a wooden rolling pin, as thin as possible.The dough is now ready to be topped.

.Note: If you’re an expert at tossing and whirling the pizza in the air, then by all means, whirl away. If not, using the rolling pin method will help to ensure that the dough does not land on your head, as it did for me when trying to make the dough fly.

For the topping:

1 8 oz. block cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups fresh blackberries, cut in half.( Kitchenclown failed to do this for the photo, but will do so next time. This step makes em’ go further, and ensures that you won’t scorch the roof of your mouth while chomping down on one of the huge, honkin’, hot ones!)

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons finely chopped, toasted almonds

Directions: Place the cream cheese in a microwaveable bowl and heat on high for a minute or two to soften. Remove, and add the confectioners sugar and almond extract. Blend to a smooth consistency. In a small bowl, toss the blackberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Assembly: Spread the cream cheese mixture over the rolled out dough evenly. Distribute the berries over the cream cheese and sprinkle the almonds over all. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. When hot, place the pizza on the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza is a nice, golden brown.

Yield: Covers a cookie sheet…you be the judge.But, you’ll likely want to turn the extra dough ball into another dessert pizza for personal consumption.

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My love affair with flour tortillas.

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This is a flour tortilla dressed for a fancy  dessert. Ridiculously simple yet mindblowingly delicious.

  • Start with 2 small saute pans with a tablespoon of butter in each.
  • Slice a ripe banana in one saute pan and cook over medium heat until golden on both sides – a couple of minutes
  • In the second saute pan, pop a tortilla in and when it starts to puff, flip it once to the opposite side
  • Sprinkle a tablespoon or 2 of mini or regular chocolate chips if that is what you have
  • Let it get melted and then toss the sauteed bananas over the melted chocolate
  • Gently fold in half to create a crescent moon shape (flip mofo over).
  • Sift confectioners sugar over the top and die!!