Wednesday, July 31, 2013
There is a English dessert called Banoffe Pie. It is a mix of bananas and toffee. I have an issue with the texture of bananas. They are mushy. They turn funny colors if you don't eat them right away. And then they are even more mushy. OCD, anyone? Why, no thank you. I already have some.
Bananas in baked goods, however, taste great, are not mushy, do not turn funny colors and add some lovely moisture. Therefore, the idea was to make a banoffee muffin. There are recipes for Banoffee Cake and Cupcakes, but I wanted a less sweet version. The muffin version is still sweet, but it does not have frosting. I found a few sites, but they all were from the UK. Therefore the ingredients were in grams and milliliters. Sure I learned the metric system in school. It was about 100 years ago and while the metric system hasn't changed in all that time, my memory of it has. But the most important part is that my measuring devices are in cups and I don't have a scale.
I sent a frantic Viber message to my daughter who lives in England, but didn't get an immediate response, so I turned to the Internet. It is just as well, because she says she does the same thing. There are easy conversion sites that I used. Unfortunately the grams did not convert to an exact amount of cups, so I had to guesstimate. I bake a lot, so I had a rough idea and I went bravely forward. After all, if it didn't turn out I could toss it and never tell you and then you wouldn't know I was a doofus. Not so brave after all.
The other obstacle was that our stores do not carry the Carnation Caramel that is called for in the recipe. Not enough Brits here to justify it? Maybe. But there are plenty of Hispanics in the US, so Nestle Carnation makes a Dulce de Leche version of their sweetened condensed milk, so I was ready to experiment.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (Their recipe called for 5 tablespoons, but that seemed like a lot and I frequently use less and see if it turns out. It did. You can use all 5 T if you want to try the original recipe.)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can Nestle La Lechera ( Dulce de Leche condensed milk)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional. I used pecans
Pre-heat the oven to 375°. (Sure, you can use 190° C, but if you live in the U.S., chances are your oven won't know what to do with that!) Place baking cups in a 12 cup muffin tin.
Mix the flour, soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside
Peel the bananas and place them in a large bowl. Use a fork to smash them up. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, oil and milk and a big dollop of the La Lechera, about 1/3 of the can. Set aside the rest of the can. Using the same fork, mix the whole thing together.
You will notice there is no added sugar to this recipe. That is not a mistake. The sweetened caramel sauce and the bananas make it plenty sweet.
Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Lumps are OK.
Now take the La Lechera and put spoonsful all over the batter. You may have to use a spatula to gently turn the mixture to find another spot to add the drops of Le Lechera. Use the fork to swirl just a bit through all the drops. You want to leave big hunks of the caramel to discover all melty and warm inside the muffins.
Use a large ice cream scoop to fill the baking cups in the muffin tin. A large spoon would work, too, but you are liable to make a drippy mess. Sprinkle the tops with the chopped nuts.
Bake for 20 minutes. It is hard to use a toothpick on these muffins to test to see if they are done. If you hit a pocket of caramel sauce it will be gooey. Try to find a non-caramel spot. Or just do 20 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes and then serve warm. That way the caramel will ooze out and be so delicious.
It was hard to remove the whole muffin intact from the baking cups. They tended to break apart at the point of the caramel pockets and stick to the paper. I was forced to try TWO muffins in order to see if this was true for all the muffins. It was and I used a fork to make sure I didn't leave any muffin behind.
These are also good the next day for breakfast, but pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm up the caramel.