Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

pb banana muffinsWhat’s the difference between a muffin and cupcake? A sweet treat like this one might hover on the border of being a cupcake flavor-wise, but what really divides muffins from cupcakes is their chemical makeup and preparation style.

Muffins, which are small quick breads, tend to rely on vegetable oil for their fat content. Their dry ingredients and wet ingredients are mixed separately, then incorporated all at once until they’re just blended to avoid gluten activation so they have a crumbly texture. Muffins can be sweet or savory, ranging from chocolate chip to bacon cornbread.

Cupcakes, which are small cakes, rely mostly on butter for their fat content. Cupcake batter is normally prepared by creaming butter and sugar together, then adding other wet ingredients like eggs and flavorings before finally incorporating the flour to activate the gluten and yield a fluffier, less crumbly texture. While cupcakes tend to be sweet, anyone who’s watched an episode of Cupcake Wars on Food Network knows that all sorts of savory ingredients have appeared in cupcakes in more recent years.

These muffins combine the great flavor friends of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate. They’d be perfect with a bit of peanut butter smeared on them, but they’re also delicious without any further enhancements.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 3 small bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners; this recipe yields about 20 muffins.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the bananas, milk, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and egg all at once, using a fork to mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are light golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Serve warm or cool.

 

Peanut Butter Muffins

pb muffinsHappy Canada Day! Today, I’d like to celebrate Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson, pioneer of modern peanut butter, as I consider him to be a genius on par with Albert Einstein and John Nash.

Whatever possessed Mr. Edson to mill roasted peanuts between sheets of heated metal is beyond me, but I’m certainly glad he did. Without him, we wouldn’t have peanut butter cookies, cakes, candies, muffins, pies…the list goes on.

This muffin recipe is very simple, yielding a subtle peanut butter flavor and smooth, moist texture. You could serve them with peanut butter (as I did in the photo above), but jelly, honey, or regular butter would also work well. The original recipe for these muffins called for brushing their tops with melted butter, then sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners; you will need 16.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in peanut butter and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a large measuring cup, combine milk and eggs and whisk together; add to crumb mixture and stir until just moistened; batter will be very lumpy.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until tops are just golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Honey Muffins

pb honey muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the past three months, I haven’t eaten sweets. How, you ask, can a baker do such a thing? What would possess someone who clearly loves desserts to deny herself all manner of cakes, cookies, chocolates, and pastries for months? The simple answer is: her scale (which nearly got hurled out the window after Christmas). And so with only 14 days to go in Operation No Sweets ‘Til Denver (I’m going to Denver for work two weeks from now), I sought out something that was baked, but not dessert-like. Enter the peanut butter honey muffin.

One could argue that such a muffin is dessert-like, but it contains no sugar, only honey, so I put it in the same category as corn muffins or blueberry muffins; they are more of a breakfast item than a dessert (I mean, some people might have blueberry muffins for dessert, but I certainly wouldn’t).

Most of the time when I read a recipe, I have a good sense of how the finished product will taste. I expected far more peanut butter flavor in these muffins, which I’m sorry to say turned out bland. The original recipe called for only one cup of flour, but the batter was too runny, so I added about six generous teaspoons of additional flour, one at a time, to shore it up. I suspect that this may have altered the flavor, so next time I’d like to try adding crunchy peanut butter in a greater amount, and perhaps some brown sugar in addition to the honey to balance the texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 5 to 6 generous teaspoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • peanut butter, honey, or honey butter for serving

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together baking powder, salt, and one cup of the flour.

Add vegetable oil, peanut butter, and honey; mix with a fork, using a cutting-in motion like you would for pastry, until crumbs form.

Add milk and stir together; add additional flour, 1 generous teaspoon at a time, until the batter is no longer runny.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into liners, filling about three-quarters full.

Bake 12-16 minutes, until tops are very lightly golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack or serve warm; I recommend serving with peanut butter and honey, or honey butter, to enhance the flavor.