Friday, October 26

Banana Spice Muffins

My family goes through phases where they either really like bananas, and devour an entire bunch in a single weekend, or they want nothing to do with them whatsoever.  So I never know, on any given shopping trip, whether the bananas I bring home will be gobbled up or sit on the counter to turn brown and mushy.  That's why I have an array of banana recipes in my collection which can be whipped up quickly in the morning for breakfast, or in early afternoon for my kids' goûter when they return from school.

I love this Banana Brown Bread for its rich, deep, molasses-y taste and hearty texture.  If, perhaps, you're looking for a gluten-free treat, these Banana Oatmeal Muffins just might fit the bill.  They are moist and very filling; perfect for a cold autumn morning like this one . . .

Today I was in the mood for something a little different.  I was craving something spicy and complex.  Something that evoked all the tastes of fall; of damp leaves and wood smoke and cinnamon.  Something to warm my kitchen against the webs of snow which gathered on my window panes overnight; to fill my home with the heady, intoxicating aromas of autumn.  A warm spice muffin with a salty-sweet streusel topping was just what I needed today.

Since my kids both fell victim to strep throat last week, our latest bunch of bananas went untouched, in favour of something a little more soothing.  So I folded two of the most ripe into the muffin batter.  After all, bananas, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla grow together naturally.  Doesn't it make sense that the combination should be delicious, naturally, as well?  It certainly is!

Banana Spice Muffins

for the muffins:
1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas

for the streusel topping:
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F (177 C).  Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners and spray the liners and pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until soft.  Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until combined.  Add the bananas and beat until combined but still lumpy.  Pour in the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.  With a fork, combine the ingredients for the topping, cutting the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture is coarse.  (This can be done in a food processor, as well.)  Evenly sprinkle the topping on the muffins.  Bake for 21 - 22 minutes.

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