Freshman year, first semester of college, every single day, I walked the same, exact route from my dorm to my classes and back again. For some reason, I was too frightened/lazy/unsure to try another path. (Well, I am directionally challenged. But, alas.)
To elucidate this even further, the only reason I knew that route in the first place was because that’s the way I followed some hall-mates my very first day on campus.
Right now, you’re probably thinking I’m really pathetic. But LISTEN! Here’s one of my theories: We are creatures of habit and comfort. Sometimes we try something for the first time, and it fits the bill, so we never think to deviate from that first attempt.
So what? you ask.
Well, second semester came, and I had classes in different buildings and locations, and I couldn’t just follow the same crowd of freshman to my usual classes down my usual path. So I looked at some campus maps and learned how to walk another way to campus. And it was equally satisfying. Maybe even more so because I tried something new.
Wow, Adrianne, you’re getting all philosophical on us today. Well…I do have an ulterior motive. You probably make the same, exact banana muffin or banana bread recipe every single time. And that works for you. And that’s OK, but it’s not enough. Branch out, try THIS recipe. It’s new and different and equally satisfying. Maybe even more so.
These banana muffins are special because you don’t mash the bananas like usual. You slice them into thin, little pieces and gently fold them into your soft and pillowy, thick and rich batter. Then you top them with a professional-looking crumb. Perfection.
Butter your pan nice and good.
Combine the ingredients for the crumb topping.
Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it becomes crumbly.
Stir together all the dry ingredients and part of the wet ingredients. Then combine the dry ingredients and the sour cream in alternating additions.
Now the batter should be thick and pillowy.
Slice those ‘naners. Then fold them ’em right in the batter.
Fill your muffin tins, evenly dividing the batter. They will be quite full.
Sprinkle with crumb topping, then bake them until golden brown on top. Gobble gobble.
Banana Crumb Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins
For crumb topping:
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup sour cream
3 large or 4 small ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter the insides of a muffin tin and the top. (Or use baking spray.)
In a small bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and vanilla. Rub the mixture between your fingers until it becomes crumbly. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until very light, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beaten eggs, and stir well to combine. Add the milk and beat briefly until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in the 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions. Stir just until combined and no flour bits are visible. Gently fold in the banana pieces and evenly distribute them throughout the batter.
Fill the muffin tin evenly. The muffin cups will be very full. (These are very large muffins!) Sprinkle generously with crumb topping. Use it all up!
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and continue baking until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. A toothpick or knife, when inserted into the center, should come out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan.
Note: The muffins are best when eaten on day 1. Otherwise, the bananas brown and are not as pleasing to look at while you’re enjoying them.
Adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery