Thursday, January 14, 2010

Strawberry Banana Streusel Muffins

It's difficult for me to imagine not eating breakfast in the morning; I just can't skip it.  I've been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that's not the entire reason I need to have a meal when I wake up...  For some reason, I get irrational and a little crazy when I don't eat regularly.  I'm aware that this makes me a weirdo, but I have heard of other people with similar issues, and regardless of that, it really can't be helped.  The only way to avoid the crazy is for me to eat at regular intervals.

Since I'm normally running crazy late in the morning, I've been eating breakfast bars along with my morning coffee.  These are a heck of a lot tastier and, since they contain fruit, I convinced myself that they're actually healthy.  I really like this recipe because it comes together really easily and makes just enough batter for 12 perfectly sized muffins.  Normally the yield count is wildly inaccurate for me, apparently I fill muffin cups too high, but this one is dead on.

This also marks the first time I was able to put together a streusel that struck the proper balance between sugary goodness and crumbly deliciousness.  My previous attempt involved a food processor and it was not pretty.  My suggestion to you, if you're making streusel and don't happen to have a pastry blender and don't want to use a fork or knife, is to get one of these.  I got mine for Christmas last year and have used it to crush candy canes, mash bananas, blend streusel ingredients, and all sorts of other things (not all at the same time of course). So buy one, if you've got the space in your kitchen, because it'll make your life so much easier.  Promise!

Strawberry Banana Muffins
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 Cup sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 Cup buttermilk (I used a tablespoon of lemon juice in enough milk to make 1/2 a cup)
1 egg
2/3 Cup (about 2) mashed bananas
5 or 6 strawberries, washed and cut into small-ish pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla

Banana Streusel Topping
1/2 Cup flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons shortening (I substituted butter and it worked fine)
1 Tablespoon mashed banana

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.

While the oven is preheating, make your topping: Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  Cut shortening (or butter) into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the mashed banana and set aside.

For the batter: Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, egg, bananas, strawberries, and vanilla.  Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and stir until batter is just combined.  Try to stir this as little as possible or your muffins will be super dense and not really good.  Remember that scene in Charlie's Angels (the new one) where Lucy Liu's character brings in muffins and they start throwing them at each other because they're so hard?  She stirred too much, guaranteed. 

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full with batter and top with the crumb mixture, I had plenty of streusel leftover but I'll figure out what to do with that later.

Bake for 18-21 minutes or, if you've got a possessed oven like I do, until a tester comes out clean and the muffins spring back when gently touched.

My honest opinion is that these were ok, nothing terribly special.  I've got a muffin recipe that includes honey and I think I like it better; definitely worth trying with the strawberries and bananas!

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