These are celebration muffins. Those are the best kind of muffins, in my opinion. I wanted to make something sensational to send in with Husband to his co-workers as he winds down his time at this current job to take on a new opportunity. His co-workers are all foodies and have been fun to show around the Bentonville area when they come down for meetings. I’m not sure if you are aware, but I am a self-appointed ambassador to restaurants in downtown Bentonville. It’s a tough gig, but I’m a real go-getter in the dining community.
They took us out for a great meal at Tusk & Trotter and I wanted to say thank you to them the only way that I can – baking something sweet! I was torn between wanting to make banana bread but also wanting to make it the morning-of so it could be warm and fresh. Weighing the baking time of banana bread against that of muffins, I chose to incorporate the flavor of banana bread into dense, dreamy muffins.
The “dreamy” flavor is from roasting the bananas before adding them into the batter. The very simple process involves dotting four over-ripe bananas with chunks of butter, topping with brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla, and then baking. Here’s the “before picture of the bananas (and it looks like for whatever reason I snapped these prior to adding cinnamon. Meh. Just imagine it there, too):
Roasting bananas is an extra step that doesn’t add much time (15 minutes in the oven) and makes a huge difference in flavor of the final product. Plus, the bananas smell heavenly while they’re roasting (and you may be tempted to forget the muffins and just eat the roasted banana).
The Nutella dollop on top is optional. I made several muffins without anything on top and they were lovely.
I also sprinkled semi-sweet chocolate chips info the batter of some of the muffins.
But, hands down, Husband’s favorite was the Nutella-topped variety. To make these, I just scooped Nutella right out of the jar and dropped a chunk of the hazelnutty spread onto each muffin before baking. No mixing, no swirling with a knife, nothing to compromise the chunk of Nutella waiting for all muffin eaters.
Roasted Banana Bread Muffins with Nutella
Makes 12 muffins
For the roasted bananas, you will need:
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- dash cinnamon
- dash salt
For the muffins, you will need:
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose white flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- Nutella (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease with butter a 9×9 baking dish (or use non-stick spray).
- Place peeled bananas in the baking dish.
- Chop butter into small pieces and distribute evenly around the bananas.
- Pour in vanilla extract and scatter brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt on top of the bananas.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven to let cool and reduce the heat to 350.
- Line a muffin tin with baking wrappers. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugars, egg, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
- Mash bananas slightly with a fork, then add in to the sugar mixture (pouring all the liquid into the mixing bowl, too).
- Gradually incorporate flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until no clumps remain. Add walnuts.
- Transfer muffin batter into prepared tin, filling each well ~ 2/3 full.
- If desired, spoon out about a tablespoon of Nutella on top of each muffin. Don’t mix it in or spread it around.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean (except maybe for some Nutella).