Why hello end of January. How did you get here so freakin’ fast? I can’t believe I let a whole month go by without talking to you in this space. Sorry ’bout that. Life has been busy. After watching my Frogs win the 2011 Rose Bowl, we started the year by spending a week in Orlando capped off by running the Disney Half Marathon.
After Disney, life has pretty much been work, wedding planning with a week-long cold thrown in for
goodterrible measure. Winter is also a tricky time in the kitchen. Farmers Markets are no longer filled with lots of inspiring colors and new foods to experiment with. I find myself craving comfort food like big bowls of simple mac-n-cheese or chili topped baked potatoes. I am also in a couple week lull between actively training for half/full marathons so my weekends seem a little less structured without Saturday morning long-runs to play around. However, the best way to pass a lazy weekend morning is by baking. Recently, I made a batch of these banana espresso muffins which was perfect to have with a nice big mug of french press Intelligentsia.
This is a recipe from my new favorite cookbook Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. The first recipe that I tried, and loved, was this Chunky Lentil Soup which is still perfect for using up the butternut squash which is still available at my market.
These muffins are hearty, a little sweet with a perfect topping of crunchy roasted walnuts. The espresso taste is mild, you can add some more to get a stronger coffee flavor. This could also been good with a handful of dark chocolate chips.
Espresso Banana Muffins
Recipe adapted from Super Natural Cooking
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 1/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon fine espresso powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
Heat the oven to 375F, position the racks low in the over, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt 3/4 cup of the walnuts, and the espresso powder in a bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate large powder or a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, yogurt, and mashed bananas, then gently mix in the dry ingredients. Overmixing=tough muffins. Es no bueno.
Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, top with the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Fill the cups two-thirds full for regular muffins or to the brim for a big-topped version. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy with coffee for maximum enjoyment, particularly on a lazy Saturday morning.