Muffins are one of those indulgences I couldn't give up if I tried. My morning coffee just isn't the same without one, and I love all kinds: blueberry, raisin bran, carrot (my all-time favourite), cranberry, morning glory, zucchini, pumpkin (threatening to unseat carrot at the top of my list).
Probably the best muffin I ever ate was in Lake Placid, New York of all places. It was from a little hole-in-the-wall bakery, and the flavour was lemon-raspberry. There was a dusting of superfine sugar on top that contrasted the tartness of the lemon and raspberry perfectly, and also served to give the surface a slight crunch. It was fresh out of the oven, and to die for. And one day, I'll recreate it (or attempt to).
Most recently I baked a batch of banana oat muffins from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite cookbook. They were a snap to whip up -- especially since I had four over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter. These aren't as moist and dense a muffin as some I've had, but they're also healthier than most, with oats and walnuts included in the ingredients. I added a pinch of cinnamon because banana and cinnamon is such a wonderful combination. If you're in the mood to bake muffins but don't want to feel guilty when you eat the whole batch yourself, try this recipe out.
Banana oat muffins
1 1/3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 large ripe bananas
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350F. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
In a large bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Mix well and make a well in the center.
Mash bananas in another bowl with a fork. Stir in beaten egg and butter. Add to the dry mixture along with the walnuts and fold through until just combined. Don't overmix.
Spoon mixture into paper cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite, Key Porter Books, 2008
If you find that after a couple of days the muffins start to get stale, I heat them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds just to get them warm and soft again. I've also heard brushing the tops with milk and popping them back into a warm oven (200F?) works.
I like to serve these slathered with peanut butter and honey, although that ups the fat and sugar content a bit!
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