Muffin Top

Banana and Pecan Nut Muffins

Before I visited Florida I didn’t like pancakes. Everyone thought I was crazy but I just couldn’t get my head around putting lemon and sugar or chocolate spread on something made with the same batter as Yorkshire Puddings. Yuck! This all changed whilst I was on holiday. As you may know/have seen on TV, pancakes are a major breakfast staple across the pond. Almost every meal, on every menu, in every establishment I visited came with a side order of pancakes. Everyday our breakfast table would be covered with stacks of them – golden, fluffy and smothered in butter and maple syrup. Nothing like the crepe style pancakes I’m used to seeing at home on Shrove Tuesday. When my boyfriend suggested I try one I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were! I was even more pleasantly surprised to find ‘Banana Pecan Pancakes’ on the menu and in the healthy section (albeit “healthy” in American Diners tends to means around a whopping 750 or so calories (which may explain the muffin top I now have!)). The contrast between the fluffy pancake and the crunchy nuts scattered throughout just added to the deliciousness of them.

Upon discovering that the theme for last week’s SBC was ‘Favourite Pancake Topping’, I immediately knew my bake had to be banana and pecan flavoured. I did a little research and found a recipe online for banana and pecan nut muffins. As any baking fanatic will know, Mary Berry, the queen of baking, ALWAYS says to read the recipe twice. We all know this. Did I remember this key point before baking these muffins? No, I forgot. I did think a tablespoon and a half of salt was quite a lot for a standard 12 muffin mix but I pushed the doubt from my mind and continued with the recipe. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through that I took another look at the recipe and realised my error. My boyfriend (an armchair baker at most) took great pleasure in reminding me of Mary’s motto. Luckily, I realised before I had combined the wet and dry ingredients and I had enough spare flour so all was not lost. They ended up turning out really well, not too dissimilar from the pancakes I’d tried Stateside and I have received a lot of good feedback on them since which is always a nice feeling!

The recipe isn’t a complicated one so you may not need to read it twice but clearly I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. Either that or my eyesight is failing me at the grand old age of 23! Let me know if you try them out 🙂

Banana and Pecan Nut Muffins

Ingredients

280g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
170g brown sugar
170g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g pecan nuts, chopped
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170c fan/Gas mark 5 and lightly butter 2 muffin tins or line with muffin cases.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mash 2 of the bananas well but leaving a bit of texture (kind of like lumpy baby food).
  4. In a freestanding electric mixer, using a whisk attachment, whisk together the remaining bananas and the sugar on a high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat well ensuring you scrape any unmixed ingredients from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated and then the same with the mashed bananas and chopped nuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins/cases filling until about half full. Give the tins a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.
  7. Bake in the oven for around 18-20 minutes, until a knife stuck in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes before devouring.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

I’m sorry I pretty much disappeared from here! I got back from my holiday to Florida the Sunday before last and life has been pretty hectic since as my boyfriend and I are currently looking at buying a flat. I did manage to squeeze in some baking last weekend but I just haven’t had a chance to write about it.

Florida was amazing! It was my first trip to America and I loved every minute of it, I can’t wait to go back. I think I must have put on about a stone as the food is amazing and the portion sizes are massive. I was having pancakes and chocolate peanut butter muffins for breakfast every day and would top that up with a further 6(!) (buy 3 get 3 free) to takeaway. Definitely appropriately named “mammoth” muffins that were the size of my hand and filled with gooey peanut butter…mmmm! They were amazing. I need to find a recipe to recreate them!

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

Whilst we were away my boyfriend introduced me to white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. Albeit only from Subway they were delicious nonetheless. They were the perfect cookies, soft and chewy, indulgent, deeply satisfying and extremely moreish! What more could you want!? As last weekend was Valentine’s day the theme for SBC was to bake something you love but I have been trying to be good since overindulging in Florida so instead I decided to bake something for the one I love and he chose these. I used a recipe I found in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and just substituted pecans for macadamia nuts. The recipe is really simple and most of the ingredients I already had in my cupboard. They didn’t take very long to prepare nor did they create much washing up which is always a bonus and makes them taste just that extra bit more delicious!

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
100g white chocolate, chopped
100g macadamia nuts, chopped

Method

1. Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use an electric handheld whisk) cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

2. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on a medium speed until combined. Scrape down the side sides of the bowl to incorporate any unmixed ingredients. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract.

3. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate and macadamia nuts until evenly incorporated.

4. Divide the dough in half and place each half onto a separate piece of cling film. Then shape each half into 2 equal rolls measuring 15-18cm in length and wrap the roll in the cling film. (My dough was quite sticky so this was pretty messy!) Place the rolls into the freezer to set for a couple of hours.

5. Once you’re ready to bake the cookies preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas mark 3. Grease or line a couple of baking trays (you need about 4, I only have two so had to cook in 2 batches.)

6. Remove the cling film and slice the rolls into discs about 2-3cm thick. Place the discs onto the baking trays ensuring they are evenly spaced out to allow for spreading whilst baking.

7. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until quite flat and golden brown around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven and leave to cool slightly before transferring them onto wire wracks to cool completely. The cookies should be soft and chewy…and delicious! 🙂