About a month ago, we celebrated Valentine’s day. As couples exchanged flowers, chocolates, and lovey-dovey words, I was at home baking a batch of banana walnut muffins for my husband. I know what you must be thinking… MUFFINS?!? I should have been making something more romantic, like chocolate lava cake instead of chunky muffin tops that were reminiscent of our love handles. Well, I say skip the romantic idealism. These days our choices are based more upon what’s pragmatic, or rotting away. We had a bunch of bananas that were black enough to be on Fear Factor so my hubby clamoured for banana walnut bread. Well technically, he asked for walnut banana bread. (Yes he is quite the nutty one.)
This is my go-to recipe whenever I want to whip up a quick easy batch of banana muffins that packs a powerful banana flavour. The secret is in the brown butter or beurre noisette in French. It’s like someone turned up the volume in the flavour department, simply by throwing butter in a pan first. Butter is usually made up of about 80% milk solids and 20% water. Browning butter heats the butter up till it’s bubbling to evaporate most of the water content and caramelize the milk solids. This results in a liquid butter that is intensified in flavour and has a nutty finish. If you’re browning butter for the first time, here are some tips. Firstly, you don’t want to use a pot that is too small as the butter will bubble and rise, sometimes over the top of the pot if it’s too small. Secondly, you want to whisk it fairly frequently to avoid the bottom bits getting burnt. We want brown, not black, butter. Thirdly, after successfully browning your butter, immediately pour it into a bowl set on an ice bath to stop further cooking and to cool it down quickly. Leaving it in the pot to cool can cause your perfectly brown butter to become bitter and burnt. Here’s a quick video that I made to show you how to brown butter.
Once the brown butter is done, now here’s the easy part: making the banana muffin batter. Muffins are called quick breads for a reason, mix dry ingredients into wet and into the oven they go. 20 minutes later, voila! Freshly baked banana muffins that are good any time of the day… and having the lovely smells of banana and sugar in your kitchen the whole day is a bonus.
Brown Butter Banana Muffins
Yields: 10 muffins
1/3 cup brown butter, cooled
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, room temperature
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
2. Whisk brown butter and white sugar together until combined. Then whisk in the egg until well-mixed.
3. Stir in mashed bananas, then fold in sifted dry ingredients.
4. Fill lined muffin tin with muffin batter, then bake at 375F/190C for 18-20 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool and enjoy!