Sour Cream Banana Muffins
I’ve always had a weakness for banana anything. Maybe it’s because my nickname growing up was ‘Anna Banana,’ or maybe it’s because my mom used to make banana bread all the time. And not just any banana bread. Sweet and ultra-moist (thanks to her secret ingredient: crushed pineapple), I literally had dreams about this bread as a child. It was, and still is, the best banana bread I’ve ever had, and she usually has a loaf waiting for me when I go home to visit. But lately, as I’ve begun cutting back on sugar, I find that many baked goods (including her famous bread!) are now a bit too sweet for me. In fact, most pastries I order at restaurants or bakeries are way too sweet. Which is I why I prefer to bake at home. It’s not only way more enjoyable, but I can control the amount of sugar that goes into what I’m eating.
The other night, a friend came over for a fun night of baking and brainstorming (the two go hand in hand!). A bottle of bubbly may have been involved. Stories were shared, cookies were baked, and encouragement was doled out. And, spontaneously, the pile of overly-ripe bananas sitting on top of my fridge were transformed into a batch of the most delicious muffins I’ve ever had.
I can’t take credit for the recipe, though I did tweak it a bit. I knew from past experience that the secret weapon for ultra-moist muffins and cakes (besides my mom’s crushed pineapple trick!) is sour cream. It not only adds a ton of moisture, but it also gives an unmistakable tang, which helps balance out the sweetness. I did a Google search for sour cream banana muffins and I came across this recipe on a blog called The Cookbook Chronicles (now a book, The Newlywed Kitchen). I cut back on the sugar by 1/2 cup and added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. The end result was fantastic: super moist, flavorful, with just the right balance of ripe banana flavor and tangy sour cream. And best of all, after cutting back on the sugar, they weren’t too sweet.
Of course we had to eat one, warm with a pat of butter, right out of the oven. I’m not even going to tell you how good that was – you’ll just have to try it for yourselves. Word to the wise: don’t attempt this recipe by yourself! You’ll want lots of friends around to help you eat them. Being left alone with two dozen of these bad boys could be dangerous even for the most self-disciplined. (Luckily, they freeze well…which is exactly what I did with the rest of the batch!)
BANANA MUFFINS WITH SOUR CREAM AND WALNUTS
(Adapted from The Cookbook Chronicles)
Makes 2 dozen muffins; 1 dozen extra-large
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 large bananas)
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two regular-size muffin tins with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and sugars together until combined. Stir in the vanilla, bananas, and sour cream. Add in the eggs, one by one, stirring after each addition.
Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
Fill each paper cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. (If you use the large muffin cups, they’ll cook for around 25 minutes. You can also bake this as a loaf of bread; allow about 50 to 60 minutes.)
Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before serving. If you want to freeze them, cool completely and place in a Zip-loc freezer bag.
My name is Anna Watson Carl. In a word, I love food, I love France, and I love throwing dinner parties. Over the years, I've worked as a personal chef, taught cooking classes, edited cookbooks, written for magazines, tested and styled recipes, and traveled whenever opportunity has arisen. But at heart, there's nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends around the yellow table.
For me, cooking has always been a way of life. As a (mildly precocious) ten-year old, I planned and prepared a four-course Valentine's dinner for my parents, birthing a lifelong passion for dinner parties. That was just the beginning. I've been cooking ever since, whipping up souffles at a chateau in Burgundy, searing filet mignon for a wealthy client's dog (bizarre, but true), butchering ducks for confit de canard in Paris, baking the night shift in Nashville, and bathing the floor of my NYC apartment in turkey brine...the story continues....more
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