I’m a sucker when it comes to a bit of a bargin and today was exactly that, a BARGIN. A $5 box of bananas! I don’t know about you but in my house a bunch of bananas lasts hmmm oh lets see maybe 2 days. So I figured this lot would get demolished in quick time. Before the $5 bargain disappeared into my 3 little monkeys bellies I fancied a go at some banana inspired recipes.
I decided on a caramel Muffin to start the banana theme off and after 3 attempts I think I have nailed it…well I hope.
This will make 12 generous muffins.
But first make the caramel as you will need to let this cool and firm up.
I know, I know another step in the baking procedure but I’m telling you it’s SO worth the effort.
CARAMEL is key to the success for these banana muffins.
Lets start with the Caramel
3/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Pure Cream
1/2 teaspoon Salt Flakes
Place the sugar and water on a medium heat and let the sugar dissolve, don’t stir it, swirl it! Just take the pan by the handle and gentle swirl the pan until you have a colour that you are happy with. Im talking deep golden amber, not blonde, not brunette but deep amber you hear! When you think its getting near this colour just remove from the heat as it will continue to cook and colour up a bit more. PLEASE don’t make the mistake I made and turn my back to do something for a minute and discover its gone way too far and is making the husband gag with the fumes from burnt caramel! Then theres the pot cleaning, sooooo not worth turning your back!
So once we are at the stage of colour happiness add the butter and the cream and stand back people and wait for the performance. It will bubble like crazy and possibly hiss at you for a second and then it will calm down. Take a whisk and give it a good stir and place back on the heat for a minute to thicken slightly. Stir in the salt.
Pour into a pretty looking jar and leave to cool at room temp and then to the fridge it goes where it will happily sit there for a week, unless someone gets hold of it and then well..its history!
On to the Banana Muffins
2 cups Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 Flavourless Oil, I used Rice Bran
1 cup Milk at room temp
2 large Ripe Bananas, starting to get the black freckles is perfect
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Paste
Not so freckly Banana for slicing and decorating
Firstly line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin liners, fancy or plain its up to you. I’ve run out of pretty fancy ones so I using my stash of plain white ones.
Crank the oven to 180*c Fanbake
In a large bowl or a mixer bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and give a little mix through. If you are using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment and mix for a few seconds.
In a large jug mix the egg, oil milk and vanilla together.
Roughly mash the bananas and add to the wet ingredients jug.
slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and only mix until just combined. If we go a little heavy handed at this point you will end up with banana rock cakes.
Now its time to get that caramel into action.
I use a old fashioned ice cream scoop to fill my muffin liner but your method will work just as well.
Scoop out enough mix to fill half way up the liners.
Take half a teaspoon of caramel and place in the centre of the muffin mix and cover with another small scoop of the muffin mix.
You want the mix to fill the cases to about 3/4 full.
Repeat until all 12 are caramel-ed and topped with the muffin mix.
Cook for around 15-18 minutes. Test with a toothpick or something of that nature, there will be gooey caramel first but just check the muffin part is fully cooked. The finger test works too-if you press lightly on the muffin it should spring back when done, if not give a few more minutes.
There maybe some oozing while they are cooking. That sneaky caramel may try to escape so I need to put an oven tray under mine as it was starting to drip to the bottom of the oven and I tell ya now its not a nice smell!
Once cooked sit in the tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling off.
Don’t be tempted to eat straight out of the oven or you will have the sad case of ‘blistered roof of mouth syndrome’! That caramel my friends is like liquid lava. Not pleasant but if you must indulge you will have pot of cooled caramel at your disposale, be my guest and dig in lovelies.
To finish the muffins off I put a teaspoon of the caramel on top of the cooled muffins followed but a slice of banana.
See you at the next recipe, until then..
Remember keep inspired and keep cooking like it’s ‘better than a bought one’