Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I love baking for people...

And cooking. It just makes me happy. And if it's a surprise? Even better!

I've been itching to bake recently. So, Sunday I picked up things I knew I needed (baking soda, brown sugar, chocolate chips) and decided I'd raid the pantry to come up with an idea. Also, I used the massive America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated cookbook we have.

What I came up with?

Banana, Salted Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups non-fat greek yogurt
1 cup frozen-thawed bananas (including liquid), pureed
3/4 cup chopped roasted salted pecans
1 (heaping) cup semisweet chocolate chips
Vegetable cooking spray for muffin tins

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, sugar and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk yogurt and eggs together, add vanilla extract. Fold yogurt and eggs into dry mixture until just barely combined. Fold cooled butter into battter. At very end, add pecans, chocolate chips and pureed bananas into batter.

3. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

Side notes - this recipe made 12 large muffins and about 20 mini muffins. I used muffin liners, as well. They all only cooked for 20-25 minutes. The recipe isn't exactly like the Cooks Illustrated one found online - the cookbook had slightly different directions. They could probably use the extra butter the online recipe included, and the online recipe said to cream the butter and sugar, using a mixer. Also, it called for low-fat yogurt, and I used non-fat greek yogurt because that's what I had in the fridge. But these turned out pretty good - they were delicious right out of the oven, and not quite as good as they sat. But that's expected, right?

All I know is that I brought in 9 large muffins and like 6 mini muffins to work, and in less than 3 hours, they're gone.

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