I recently purchased Fiona Cairns’ book, Seasonal Baking and I must say that it’s a very gorgeous book. The food styling and photography have a slightly rustic and homely feel, and for me makes me want to make everything in the book. However I have settled on the ‘Banana & hazelnut breakfast muffins’ as I just fancied whipping up something simple this morning. I did make some minor modifications, as I usually do so here is the adapted recipe. The muffins are delightfully light and to add an extra banana oomph I added some thin slices of banana in the middle – this is an idea that I’ve borrowed from the first season of the Great British Bake Off (I believe it was from the winner of that series, Edd Kimber). These are really quick and simple to make and I substituted a quarter of the plain flour with wholemeal self-raising flour for a (slightly) healthier option. Every little helps, as they say!
Banana, nut & chocolate chip muffins - adapted from Fiona Cairns Makes 10-12 muffins For the crumble topping 50g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled 50g plain flour, sifted 50g oats 40g golden granulated sugar or demerara sugar For the muffins 50g hazelnuts or walnuts 40g plain chocolate chips 10g cocoa nibs (optional) 150g plain flour 50g wholemeal self-raising flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) 1 tsp ground cinnamon pinch of salt 150g golden caster sugar 300-320g bananas (peeled weight) - about 3-4 bananas, preferably over-ripe or very ripe, plus an extra banana if adding the banana layer 130g unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 eggs, beaten (UK large) 1 tsp vanilla extract 4-5 tbsp whole milk
- Start by making the topping. Rub the butter with the flour in a bowl until they resemble breadcrumbs, then stir in the oats and sugar. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper cases.
- Place the nuts in a tray and cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly roasted. Leave to cool slightly then roughly chop.
- Sift together both flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Stir in the caster sugar.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Fold in the dry ingredients, then the nuts, chocolate chips and cocoa nibs, if using. Finally mix in the milk. Try not to over-mix the batter as this can result in tough muffins.
- Fill the cases to about one third full, then place 3-4 thin slices of banana and cover with more batter. The cases should be about two thirds full. Top with the crumble topping.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.