High-Rise Banana Muffins

It’s that time of year that I like to clean out my cupboards, pantry and freezer. I pride myself on keeping my baking and cooking equipment organized, but by the end of 2018 everything seemed to be in a tangle.

Inspired by 3 over-ripe bananas discovered in the depths of my freezer it was time to use them up along with a bunch of random paper cupcake liners and near empty containers of spices and extracts. Baking some warm healthy muffins would help me clean things out. And bonus…we get delicious muffins for breakfast.

Today, I bring you a banana muffin that actually tastes like bananas. Tip: bake with over-ripe bananas for the very best flavor. Most muffins I have had in the past are loaded with spices, so they taste more like ginger or cinnamon or chai rather than fresh bananas. While this recipe has a touch of spice the banana flavor and aroma really comes through due to the addition of some banana extract. I love this McCormick brand because it truly does enhance the banana flavor without any weird artificial taste.

You will notice that this recipe starts at a high oven temperature of 425F. before dropping down to 350F. The initial high heat is what gives these muffins the high-rise. As for mixing…you know the drill. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet just until moistened, so they bake up tender. Please feel free to toss in any other healthy ingredients you like. I’m a freak for chia seeds, but some toasted nuts could be good for a bit of crunch

1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 over-ripe bananas (frozen and thawed)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (or 3/4 cup if you like them sweeter)

6 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons McCormick banana extract

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Heat oven 425F. Line muffin tin with paper liners. In medium bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside. Peel thawed bananas over a large bowl, catching any excess liquid. With electric mixer on low mash up the bananas. Add brown sugar, coconut or avocado oil, egg, extract and chia seeds; blend well. Add dry ingredients and blend at low speed just until moistened and batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn down oven to 350F. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Town Tour & Ancho Avocado Ice Cream

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Welcome to Kennett Square, PA known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World”. Yes, our portobellos, cremini, oysters, trumpets, maitakes and fresh buttons are awesome and probably what you are buying in your local grocery store. Come September thousands will visit our 31st annual Mushroom Festival and get a taste of mushroom farming at its best. I am excited to see which fabulous home cook wins the mushroom cook-off earning their way to compete at the World Food Championships.

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The rest of the town is pretty great, too, also quite famous for Longwood Gardens. Last night husband and I did a stroll celebrating the first Friday of the month. The stores stay open late. People are dancing in the street to live music and the award winning food is always abundant and delicious. From crepes to burgers to mushroom soup (of course) there are so many casual to high end restaurants to choose from.

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On this particular warm summer evening I just wanted ice cream from the best place on earth and husband, much to my surprise, was all in on the idea. If you ever come to Kennett Square you absolutely have to stop by family-owned La Michoacana ice cream shop where you can sample traditional Mexican flavors like corn sprinkled with cinnamon or my favorite avocado with chile. Trust me! The best! Come visit!

LaM

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Back home I wondered if I could make a no-churn version of avocado ice cream. You all know I am obsessed with the endless flavors of no-churn. Have you tried the Margarita or Almond Joy, yet? They are so simple, creamy and scoop-worthy. With only a few ingredients needed you are on your way to frozen flavor town.

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Whatever flavor you choose to experiment with don’t forget to taste as you go. For the avocado I added extra lime juice and then had the epiphany to toss the chile powder right into the mix. Yes, that is my fingerprint you see. Please don’t do that. Use a 1 time tasting spoon to taste as you go. It’s cleaner.

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And one more tip: place your bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before whipping the cream. Cream whips up better when it is icy cold.

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No Churn Ancho Avocado Ice Cream

1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Powder

2 cups heavy cream

In a blender, combine condensed milk, lime juice, avocado, salt and chile powder; process until completely smooth. Beat cream to just stiff peaks; fold into avocado puree. Pour into freezer-safe containers. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Scoop and serve with an extra sprinkle of chile or some fresh seasonal fruit. Makes about 1 ½ quarts.

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Overall my version of avocado ice cream is quite good with a rich creamy texture. Next time I might bump up the flavor with a touch more salt and citrus. Happy National Ice Cream Month & Independence Day. Celebrate your freedom and whatever is happening in your town.

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