Embracing High Heat, Part II (The Sweet)
Yesterday, you read on Food Gal about how high heat does wondrous things to plain ol’ shrimp.
Today, you can learn that it also does amazing things to baked goods.
Just take these “Roasted Banana Muffins” from the “PlumpJack Cookbook” (Rodale) by Napa food and wine writer, Jeff Morgan.
Actually, you’d have to pry them from my hands because they are just way too good. So much so, you’d have to be a very generous soul to part with any of them.
What makes them so extraordinary?
High heat that roasts the bananas, whole, in their skins, before you peel them, mash them, and stir them into the batter.
Ten minutes at 400 degrees will turn the skins black. After awhile, juices will begin to seep out. That’s when you know the bananas are ready to be removed from the oven.
High heat caramelizes the natural sugars in the bananas, concentrating the fruit flavor.
This is a very simple muffin recipe that doesn’t have a whole lot of frills to it. Because it’s so plain-Jane, you’ll be struck by how banana-y these muffins taste. There’s a deep, pronounced flavor here, despite the few ingredients.
The tops of these light-textured muffins get a beautiful, Saint Tropez tan, too, from the high heat.
I added 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, just because I like nuts in my banana baked goods. But you can leave them out, if you like.
A smear of butter on a warm muffin half is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
The recipe makes a dozen. But you might want to double it. That way, you might bring yourself to share a few.
Roasted Banana Muffins
2 ripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make a 3-inch-long slice down each banana skin and lay the bananas on a baking sheet.
Roast bananas until skins turn black and juices in the bananas start to run from the slits in the skins, about 10 minutes. Remove bananas from the oven but keep oven on. When bananas are cool enough to handle, discard peels and place bananas in a bowl or large, shallow dish. Mash with a fork and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to blend evenly. In another large bowl, whisk milk, egg, and melted butter. Stir in the mashed banana and walnuts, if using. Thoroughly combine dry ingredients with banana mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to blend well.
Place a paper baking liner into each cup of a 12-tin muffin tray. Spoon muffin batter into each cup, filling about three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
From the “PlumpJack Cookbook”
Yesterday: Embracing High Heat, Part I (The Savory)