Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Banana nut muffins

In Honolulu, there's a fabulous little place that sells my favourite muffins in the whole wide world. It is a small, unassuming takeaway joint in the Ala Moana food court called 'The Paradise cafe' and its muffins are out of this world. The banana nut muffin is my particular favourite: a golden, crunchy muffin top with a fragrant, moist and oaty interior. Ever since I first tasted it, some 6 or so years ago, I have made it one of my life's greatest ambitions to replicate the magnificent banana nut muffin of 'The Paradise Cafe'.

This muffin was the closest I've ever come to the perfection of 'The Paradise cafe': close, but not quite. I'm seriously contemplating just asking for the recipe next time I'm in Hawaii just to get me through to the next visit. Honestly- I'm sick of these dry, cakey things that vendors are calling muffins these days. I'm also equally unimpressed by homemade muffins sans crunchy top- don't be afraid, people, to fill 'em up right to the top, even a little over, to get a wonderfully crunchy muffin top.


200g Wholemeal spelt flour (my preference, but you can use ordinary plain flour too)
100g rolled oats, coarsely ground, or oat bran
2 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
125g Brown sugar + 2 tablespoons for the topping
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
80ml natural yoghurt
100ml vegetable/canola oil
4 bananas, mashed
50g macadamias, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.

In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients, except for the macadamias and reserved additional sugar for topping. Make a well in the centre. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until amalgamated. Pour this into the well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Mix gently a few times, just enough to mix the wet into the dry so that there are no huge patches of flour remaining. DO NOT STIR MORE THAN THIS. A light muffin is made from a lumpy batter, so don't be tempted to whisk or you'll end up with dense muffins.

Place muffin papers into a 12 muffin pan. Delicately scoop the muffin batter all the way to the top in the awaiting muffin papers. If it looks as though you won't have enough batter for 12, though you should, it is better to have fewer muffins filled up properly. In a little bowl, mix together the reserved sugar and macadamias. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the muffins.

Place tray in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. I know it seems a long time for a muffin, but these are rather large. Still, be sure to check yours after 15 minutes and then at five minute increments- ovens vary enormously in temperature.

Once manageable, remove muffins from pan and leave on a cooling rack. They will keep for several days in an airtight container, although I warn you that they are never as good on days 2 or 3. The muffins are so moist, you see, that putting them into a container rather destroys the wonderful crunchiness of their tops. If you have time, put the day old muffins back into the oven for 5 minutes or so to revive their texture.


Sarah Ferris said...

You loves them 'nanas don't ya Jessie! When you come to visit will you make me some lovely treaties? IF you can bear use my horrid gas oven it will be a testament to your skills!

Princess of the kitchen said...

You crack me up! Yes, I do love them 'nanas. I certainly will bake you something. Emma used to have a gas oven- they are rather different. They don't seem to brown things and cakes don't rise well. What I did find, however, was that cheesecake worked well in her oven. Do you like cheesecake?

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