May 26, 2009
Perhaps you can hear the sound of me yawning incessantly as I write this? Oh, long weekend recovery, I think I will make another cup of tea to speed you along. If only I had one of these in my desk drawer, too.
Behold, the muffin which garnered me a marriage proposal! Well, it was an unintended side effect—I baked them for my service consultant, Lance, as a thank-you, and he was so effusive in his praise that I know I’ll be getting extra-fine service car maintenance from Baker-Jakson Nissan for a nice long while.
I’ve always had a tenuous relationship with bananas; so if I’m endorsing this recipe, you’d better believe these bad boys are exceptionally good. When I was a kid, I mirrored my mother’s “yuck” reaction to the fruit. My dad, on the other hand, loved them. Our “banana divide” even became the source of a family joke—as Hindus, trips to temple mean being presented with prashad when you depart.
Prashad is any food which is offered to and then blessed by God. (Hey, it’s no coincidence, says I, that food factors into so many of the world’s religious rituals!) Devotees tend to bring large bags of fruit to temple for convenience’s sake, though I once had the particular joy of receiving M&Ms after a temple puja. Of course, given its very nature, prashad is considered holy, and once it has been handed to you, you are obligated to eat it. I have so many memories of standing barefoot, hands extended, inside the temple sanctuary with my parents, watching the priest making his way down the line, handing out fruit one by one. Hoped though I might, my father would always end up with the “good fruit”–apples, pears, oranges, even the occasional mango. But Mom and I?
Bananas, of course. Every time, without fail.
I suppose all of those temple bananas eventually grew on me, because I’ll throw one in my workout bag from time to time or eat one for breakfast with peanut butter. And I could eat a whole batch of these muffins by myself.
This recipe has become part of my “go-to” baking arsenal because it’s easy and no-fail. First, no special equipment required. Just a fork and a couple of bowls. Second, is it just me or are there always two over-ripe bananas leftover? You know, you buy a big green bunch but never somehow manage to eat them all fast enough? Peeling and freezing them for smoothies has been our default; now there is another option, and it makes the whole house smell heavenly.
If you’re a little coconut-shy, don’t worry. The flavor is not at all predominant here. Mostly I think the coconut allows for moistness and contributes to a toothsome mouth feel. I threw toasted pecans into the original recipe because I love nuts in baked goods, but you could easily leave them out. Once cooled, the muffins will keep four to five days on room temperature in a Ziploc bag or other airtight container, even longer in the fridge.
You know what Lance would say—the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through his/her stomach. So bake away, my friends! Who knows what a little ole batch of muffins may bring in return?
BANANA COCONUT MUFFINS
adapted from Gourmet’s “Everyday Meals: Edition 2”
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
2 very ripe bananas, peeled & mashed with the back of a fork
1 stick (½cup) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut*
½ cup pecans, toasted & chopped
topping: ¼ cup coconut
pan: muffin tin with paper liners
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine bananas, butter, sugar, egg, & vanilla. Smush (yes, that’s a technical term) the mixture with a fork or spatula until well-combined. Stir in coconut & pecans.
Fold flour mixture into banana mixture until just combined. Fill muffin cups to about ¾ full (I find an ice-cream scoop is very handy for this step). Sprinkle the muffin tops with coconut and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Cool on racks, but eat warm if possible!
* I had unsweetened coconut at home, so I used it & bumped up the sugar to 1 whole cup. I also included some extra sugar when I sprinkled coconut on top of the muffins.