Sunday, March 25, 2012
I can honestly say this is the best banana-walnut muffin I have ever had. And that's a very strong statement I don't take lightly. But it's the truth, and how rude would it be for me to keep such a truth from you!
My mom made this recipe first and then called me up after she tasted one of her wares. She was in shock and awe at the delightful muffin of perfection she had created. She couldn't get over it. I'm not even sure she had finished her second bite when she called to tell me. It was that big of a deal what she had discovered. I asked her where she got the recipe and she said it was a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and Beth Hensperger was commissioned to do the recipes for it. That meant something to me since I own several of Beth Hensperger's cookbooks and she is one of the best cookbook authors I know. I said to my mom, "Is that the one with the dark blue cover?" "Yup," my mom replied. I knew which one it was. Out of the thousand cookbooks I owned, I could picture the cover of this one in my head. And how lucky for me that I had a copy! I mean, it's not like my mom and I overlap exactly on which cookbooks we each own.
So with three bananas getting ripe just days after my mom made this important discovery, there was only one thing for me to do. I set out to see if I could recreate my mom's perfect experience. I made the recipe. And Oh. My. Gawd. Holy Muffin of Muffins. It truly is the best banana-walnut muffin I have ever tasted in my life. I don't know if I'll ever find a better one. No longer will bakery muffins suffice. This has ruined all others for me. I have now been exposed to what a perfect muffin is capable of.
I hope you, dear reader, make this asap, so that you, too, can experience a perfect muffin. It doesn't get any better than this. Although my mom, who added mini chocolate chips to her batch, would say hers is better than mine. I suppose she's got a point.
Best Ever Banana-Walnut Muffins
Adapted from a recipe by Beth Hensperger in Williams-Sonoma Muffins
Makes 9-11 muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut oil or canola oil
1 large egg
2 or 3 medium to large very ripe bananas, slightly mashed to yield 1 1/4 cups
3 tablespoons buttermilk (or 2 1/4 teaspoons buttermilk powder and 3 tablespoons water...I actually used extra buttermilk powder, about 3 tablespoons total, but followed the 3 tablespoons water)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with 10-12 paper liners or grease. The recipe yielded 11 muffins for me, only 9 when my mom made it. If you don't use all of the muffin cups in the pan, fill the empty ones with water to one-third full so you don't scorch or warp the pan.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, toasted walnuts, baking soda, and salt (and buttermilk powder if not using liquid buttermilk).
In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk or beat together the oil, egg, mashed bananas, and buttermilk (or water if using buttermilk powder) until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until evenly mixed, but don't overmix. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
Use a mini ladle to spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling each one to the top of the cup. Don't worry, they crown perfectly and don't overflow onto the muffin pan.
Bake 20-23 minutes, until golden, set, and springy to the touch. Test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick; it should come out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring the muffins to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. They are great plain, with butter and/or jam, or cut in half and toasted with butter.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, toasted walnuts, and salt; set aside...
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, oil, buttermilk, and mashed banana...
Add the dry ingredients...
Beat until well incorporated...
Spoon evenly into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top...
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-23 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean...
Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer muffins to a rack. Enjoy!