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Banana Crumb Muffins

17 Oct

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. (more…)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

5 Sep

On our trip to South Africa, we did not get chased by any big game animals. No lions charged us. No elephants trampled our jeep. We did, however, get chased by a monkey.

On one of our last nights, we went outside to see the monkeys. We were more than excited to see them. (Ain’t no monkeys where we come from!) They were so cute and furry and could swing from tree branches and scoot around on all fours. Locals, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about monkeys. They are as plentiful as squirrels are to Virginia—but a lot more aggressive. We were warned by my in-laws not to feed or taunt them. We did no such thing. We just wanted to take some pictures. Harmless, right?

Everything was going fine and dandy for about 10 full minutes. My husband was snapping pictures, and I was keeping a safe distance away. (Something inside of me knew not to get too close.) Then out of nowhere, a monkey jumped out of a tree and scampered over to my husband and got THISCLOSE. The monkey then stood on its hind legs, snarled, and was fixin’ to bite him. My husband started hopping on one leg while yelling, “Woooo-ooo-ah-ahhhhhh!” From a short distance away, I maybe smiled for a split second before realizing what was about to happen.

My husband took off running and the monkey chased him. The monkey was right on his heels. At this point, I realized I needed to run as fast as I possibly could. The following thoughts crossed my mind: if you don’t run faster, the monkey will get YOU instead, how long is this thing going to chase us???, and finally, I AM GOING TO DIE!!! All the while, I was apparently screaming at the top of my lungs. (For reference, this all took place over a 10-second time span, but it felt much longer.)

After the monkey was satisfied we were thoroughly frightened, it just stopped and sat in the middle of the path, warning us not to cross it. By this point, my in-laws came out on their balcony after hearing my screams and a nice, little family who was having a picnic nearby decided to leave because their kids were crying about the monkeys.

Needless to say, monkeys are not as cute as we thought. And I wouldn’t dare offer them these banana chocolate chip muffins.

I will offer them to you, though. These muffins are quick to stir up and taste wonderful when they’re warm and fresh from the oven.

In separate bowls, stir up your wet and dry ingredients.

Add the wet to the dry and stir gently to combine. Do not overmix.

Get those chocolate chips ready to mix in.

Fill each muffin tin about 3/4-way full, and bake for about 25 minutes.

Remove from oven when pale golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

24 May

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and exclaim, You’ll never guess what I dreamed about. . .a new cupcake recipe! And I’m not joking. I actually dream about fantastic new recipes, and then I scribble them down so I don’t forget about them. (Because you know how sometimes you can remember your dreams clear as day right after waking up but then you start forgetting little details and then more details until you’ve forgotten the whole dream in an hour’s time?)

I dreamed about strawberry shortcake muffins one night. I woke up with a smile on my face because I knew this was pure inspiration. After doing a Google search, I discovered that other people have had this very same inspiration, but I like to think mine is special because these were speaking to me from my dreams.

My recipe is different from others because they really are muffins and not cupcakes. They aren’t too sweet, and they actually taste like strawberry shortcake. And they’re oh-so-pretty.

Start with your favorite plain muffin recipe. I used my blueberry muffin recipe (without the blueberries, of course). Using a cupcake corer or a serrated knife, cut a small core in your muffin.

Chop some fresh strawberries.

Fill your core with the strawberries.

Cover with a dollop of pink Dream Whip.

Top with a fresh strawberry. (more…)

Double Corn Muffins

26 Apr

True or false: Time goes by faster when you’re an adult. This is something I muse about quite often. Remember when you were a kid during summer vacation? It was like a lifetime of bliss. You could play outside for 30 hours a day, sleep for 10 hours a day, and still have 2 hours to complain to Mom about being bored. It was awesome.

Now on the other hand, every time it’s the beginning of a new month, I check the calendar and it’s suddenly halfway through the month. Is it just me, or does time really go by faster?

I was talking about this with my sister (who happened to absolutely agree with me), and everything was going fine until she blurted out, “No, it LITERALLY does go faster as an adult.” That’s where I had to stop her. Literally?? Well, that might be stretching it. Time goes the same speed: 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day—that just doesn’t change. Or does it?


Blueberry Muffins

20 Apr

I remember a time back when I was a wee lass that I turned my nose up to blueberry muffins. I’d complain and complain, then finally concede to eating one, but only if allowed to pick the blueberry shards out one by one to avoid eating them or their tartly sweet little juices. What a foolish girl I was. But now, oh, how my tune has changed. There can’t be anything more comforting than smelling fresh blueberry muffins baking in the early morning hours. If the only kind of blueberry muffins you’re used to eating are the ones from the box, then you’re in for a real treat with these moist, dense, crumb-topped, blueberry-filled muffins.

Don’t these look like little works of art? They are so beautiful. And not much harder than a box mix to boot! (more…)

Pumpkin Muffins

3 Apr

I wish it were fall. When it’s fall, then the grocery stores are obliged to stock their shelves full of pumpkin. I can’t understand why anyone ever thought it was a good idea to take away the canned pumpkin after the holiday season and hide it in dusty warehouses when I could be gobbling it up weekly. Am I alone in craving pumpkin throughout the year? Say the word “pumpkin,” and I’m bound to start salivating for moist, springy muffins and a cinnamon broom. Here’s my mom’s recipe for pumpkin muffins that I’ve undoubtedly made more times than her. (Thanks, Mom!) (more…)