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Banana Bread with Streusel

A tree branch cracked and fell in our driveway last night, blocking us in our home until an arborist cleared the way.  That left us with time to be creative and make something in the kitchen with what we had available.  A small hand of bananas was starting to turn dark, an indicator that it’s prime time to make banana bread.  We did not have any walnuts on hand, but a little streusel sprinkled over the top is a nice touch in their place.  Any muffin is made better with streusel!

banana bread with streusel

banana bread with streusel

Makes 10 mini loafs

4 extra-ripe bananas

2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus 3/4 cup

1 cup of vanilla’d sugar, plus 3/4 cup

1/2 cup of softened butter, plus 1/4 cup and 1 tbs.

2 large eggs

1 tbs. of buttermilk

2 tsp. of cinnamon, divided in 1 tsp. and 1 tsp.

2 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of baking powder

1 tsp. of baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and lightly spray a mini loaf tin with nonstick spray; a regular muffin pan is fine, too, but line it with paper cups.  Prepare the streusel first by combining 3/4 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup and 1 tbs. of butter, and 1 tsp. of cinnamon.  Mix with a fork or a hand mixer until lightly crumbly.

Mix the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda, sifting in a large bowl so that it’s evenly combined.  In a separate bowl, mash the bananas extremely well so that there are no lumps.  In another mixing bowl, with a hand mixer on speed 2, combine the remaining sugar and butter for about 2 minutes.  Add 1 egg at a time with about 10 seconds in between, still mixing on speed 2.  Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract, then mix for 3 more minutes until light and fluffy.  Briskly mix in the mashed bananas, but don’t overmix at this point.

with streusel (one without, so you can see how high to fill the tin)

with streusel (one without, so you can see how high to fill the tin)

Add the sifted flour to the wet ingredients and, with a hand mixer no higher than speed 2, combine.  With an ice cream scoop for easy distributing, fill the mini loafs about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle streusel over the tops to your liking – each loaf could easily accommodate 2 tbs. to 1/4 cup of streusel.  Loafs will require 28-32 minutes to bake, while muffins need 22 minutes.  Let cool before depanning.

Blueberry Muffins

Zach promised to make blueberry muffins for breakfast this week and today was the day, but this morning August had to jet off to school early and they were still in the oven.  She still got to have one, though, and share with some chums at school, because he brought them to her on his way to a catering job.  When making muffins, how can you not want to share?  Of course these are delicious and you might want to eat a lot for yourself, but sharing is caring.

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Makes 20-24

3 cups of all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries

1 1/4 cups of white sugar

1 cup of milk

8 tbs. of room temperature butter

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

3 tsp. of baking powder

2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract

Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line two muffin tins with paper muffin cups; spray with non-stick baking spray.  In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder to evenly combine, then set aside.

creamed butter with vanilla and eggs

creamed butter with vanilla and eggs

In a stand mixer bowl, mix butter and white sugar with a paddle attachment starting slow and working up to medium.  Cream for about 3 minutes and, while mixing, add the vanilla extract, the egg, and the yolks, each one at a time with about 10 seconds in between so that the butter doesn’t collapse.  Continue creaming until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl down occasionally to make sure all is combined thoroughly.

after having added the flour

after having added the flour and milk

Reduce speed to low.  Alternate adding the sifted flour and the milk to the mixing bowl as such: 1/3 of flour, 1/3 of milk, 1/3 of flour, the rest of the milk, 1/3 of flour.  Do this quickly because you don’t want to paddle for much longer and overwork the batter.  If you don’t think you can do it quickly enough, you may need someone to help you.  The longer you mix the batter with flour, the more gluten is produced, which will result in a denser, tougher muffin.

try not to break the berries

try not to break the berries

Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.  Don’t fold too much because you want to keep the berries whole, otherwise they will break and the muffins won’t look as pretty.

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Scoop the batter into the muffin cups with an ice cream scoop so that you can keep the size consistent.  Sprinkle the tops generously with coarse sugar.  Bake for 26-28 minutes, until very lightly golden.

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