Miniature Espresso Banana Bread Muffins

26 Sep

When I’ve had a beer or two, I sometimes decide that the time is ripe to bake something. Other times I decide I desperately need to consume some Hot Pockets, immediately. I’m a bit of a hit-or-miss drunkard when it comes to class.

While a spate of drunk baking will occasionally go horribly awry (microwave brownie in a mug, anyone?), just as often my inebriation provides a solid foundation for commendable culinary exploits. The combination of slightly exaggerated self-confidence (“Yeah, I can make banana bread AND hot fudge sauce in the time it takes my friend to get back from the store with the ice cream”) with devil-may-care hand eye coordination and split-second decision making (“That looked like a tablespoon. We’ll say that’s a tablespoon. Crap – did it call for baking powder or baking soda…?”) can work wonders in the kitchen, if channelled correctly.

Such was the case with this banana bread. I was out at dinner in a little town in Appalachia, drinking a fine local brew known as Green Man IPA, when I was struck by the knowledge that we had an excess of bittersweet baking chips back at home. Immediately, my brain began to short-circuit. “Chocolate chips,” I thought to myself “Why, if we have chocolate chips, I could make that banana bread recipe I saw the other day. But I’d need bananas for that.Wait a minute. I saw some bananas on the counter this morning, and….andI think they were overripe“.

At which point brain function shut down.

It didn’t take much to convince my dinner companions that they should skip the tavern dessert and take me back to barracks, post haste. Fortunately, the banana bread was as magical as my drunken self imagined it would be. Not all that surprising given that I used an adapted version of a recipe from the Baked cookbook. I still don’t have a copy of this ode to butter and sugar, despite looking for it in every book store I’ve wandered into for the past two months. I think it’s a little like the Loch Ness monster of the baking world – massive and somewhat terrifying in its immensity, but with an insidious attraction that cannot be denied.

The first time around I made this in a loaf pan, and served thin slices warm, with generous dollops of vanilla ice cream, topped with a deluge of salted caramel and hot fudge on top (I am aware that I am ridiculous, thank you very much).  The second time around I broke out my miniature muffin tin, and it was just as tasty. If you’re making it as a dessert, I highly recommend the former course of action, but if you’re looking for a breakfast option I would take the latter route. This will make around 32 miniature muffins or 16 regular muffins, give or take.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

 

 

 

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a miniature muffin pan or a regular muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Beat wet ingredients (mashed bananas, white sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, milk and egg) in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, espresso powder and salt) in a medium sized bowl.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and evenly divide batter into muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way full.

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes (miniature muffins) or 18-20 minutes (regular muffins), until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffins comes out clean.

mountain goat muffin

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