Monday, April 25, 2011

Blackberry Banana Muffins

I cannot study at home.  It's impossible.  There are way too many distractions.  I might want to go back to bed and take a nap.  I might pull up a movie on Netflix to watch instantly.  I might wander over to the kitchen and spend my entire morning making cookies. 

No, it is much better for me to walk around the corner to my favorite cafe, with its incredibly creamy chai lattes and assortment of brownies.  Or one and a half more blocks from there to another amazing cafe, with their on-site roasted coffee, madeleines, and Nutella rolls.  Yes, these places are much more conducive to studying.

While the second cafe definitely wins out in the breakfast pastry category, their muffins leave something to be desired (and I'm sure this goes for all bakery muffins).  I was initially excited to try their Blackberry Banana Muffins, but the muffins weren't very banana-y, and the blackberries had all sunk to the bottom, creating a hole in the middle of the muffin.  Fortunately, those two problems are pretty easy to fix, and I set about making my own version of the muffins.

These muffins were a success.  They were best fresh out of the oven, of course, but they also made a pretty tasty breakfast the following two days.  I lightly coated the blackberries in flour before adding them to the muffin batter to prevent them from sinking, and it definitely did the trick - needless to say, muffins are much better when they're whole instead of hollow.  The whole wheat flour added a slightly nutty flavor to the muffins, as well as an excuse to eat them for breakfast.  I sprinkled the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar before baking them, and I loved the extra crunch and sweetness it contributed. 

Not a fan of blackberries?  Neither is David.  I substituted the blackberries in half of the muffins for a combination of white and semisweet chocolate chips, and he gave them two big thumbs up.

Blackberry Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces blackberries (defrost if using frozen)

Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or line a 12-muffin tin.

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas.  Mix in the egg, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract.  Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined (don't overmix). 

Lightly coat the blackberries in flour and gently fold them into the muffin batter.  Divide equally among the muffin tins.  Sprinkle each one generously with the turbinado sugar.

Bake until the tops are pale golden, about 28-32 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool.

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