What a wonderful way to start off a new week… with muffins. I’m inclined to shout, “TOP OF THE MUFFIN TO YOU!!!”
Ah. That felt good. If you’re having a lousy start to your week, shout that out and see if it doesn’t brighten your day.
These Vanilla Bean Banana-Walnut Muffins are not special because of their tops though. Their special-ness comes from what’s inside. Top them with walnuts or don’t. Use paper liners or don’t. But do oh do use a vanilla bean in these. Split a warm muffin in half and spread some softened butter on it. It will change your life. Or at least your morning.
Ready for it?
Let’s make ’em!
Above is everything you’ll need… almost. I forgot to include heavy cream in the picture. You’ll need a bit of that too. Just pretend it’s in the photo above.
And below…. is the “V” ingredient that I’ve been pushing back and pushing back due to Easter and adventures in potty training. You can read more about that… along with another tasty breakfast/ brunch recipe… HERE if you’re interested.
This ingredient is not the cheapest one I’ve chosen here Apples to Ziti, but it’s one of my favorite indulgences. So I couldn’t help myself.
Start by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Drizzle in some heavy cream. This makes these muffins wonderfully moist. There’s nothing like heavy cream.
And now… the vanilla bean makes its appearance. Cut it in half lengthwise… just don’t cut all the way through. Just enough so you can use the back of your knife to scrape out all the wonderful-ness that lies hidden inside.
There it is. Let’s call it Vanilla Bean Pulp. Looks more like something you scraped off of your tire than something edible.
Toss the whole bean and the pulp in with the melted butter and cream.
Give it a gentle whisk… don’t disturb the whole bean too much. You just want to break up the pulp. Now you’ll see those classic vanilla bean flecks appear. Perhaps you’ve seen them before in vanilla bean ice cream? This is them!
After a minute or so, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, toast some shelled walnuts. Give them a rough chop and set them aside for now, too.
And mash up some bananas. You need 1 1/2 cups. About 3 large bananas.
You can also sift together your dry ingredients while you wait for things to cool.
Start with 2 1/4 cups cake flour.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon fine salt to balance out all the sweetness and bring out the flavors.
I had some helpers for the sifting process. My countertop ends up covered in flour or powdered sugar anyhow when I use them… so I thought, “Why not?” The mess was more than I bargained for. Oh well.
By the time you’ve toasted your walnuts, mashed your bananas, and sifted your dry ingredients… your vanilla bean mixture should be cooled.
Discard the whole vanilla bean, then scrape every last bit of it into a large mixing bowl.
Cream the vanilla bean mixture and sugar together for about two minutes with an electric mixer. Handheld or stand mixer works for me!
Add in your mashed bananas, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 2 whole eggs. Mashed banana are not too attractive, are they? But they sure make good bread. And cake. And muffins!
Mix all that together well.
Now, remember those dry ingredients you sifted? The ones that made a mess of your countertop?
It’s time to add them!
Add them slowly… maybe in two or three additions. Mix each time just until they are combined with the wet ingredients. Don’t over mix!
Time to fill your muffin cups! I used liners and sprayed them with cooking spray.
And because this recipe makes 16 muffins and my muffin tin only has 12 cups… I decided to use the extra batter to make mini muffins. Mostly because I had these cute little mini muffin liners on hand, and I knew my girls would love them. One of my girls loves pink. The other loves purple.
Bake the muffins at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out just about clean. They keep cooking slightly after they come out of the oven so the toothpick doesn’t need to be completely clean.
I made some with walnuts and some without. I like it both ways, but that is a fairly recent development. For years I despised nuts. All of them. Now I love them! All of them! Except for peanuts. I still don’t like those. Love peanut butter. Don’t love peanuts. Go figure.
The mini muffins bake for just 11-12 minutes. Again, a toothpick should come out just about clean when they’re done.
Aren’t the pink and purple liners CUTE?!! I love ’em. So did my girls.
You are going to LOVE these. Banana bread. Muffin style. Made special.
See the little vanilla bean specks in there along with the banana?
A little softened butter and you won’t be able to resist one… or two… of these when they come out of the oven. Okay, maybe three of them.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.