Almost a month ago now, my dear friend Heidi had a baby, and little Eleanor arrived on the scene (into her dad’s arms below), causing my ovaries to send some serious messages about us having a little, snuggly newborn again, since our own baby is practically a teenager.
It was while planning Heidi’s shower that I was first introduced to these muffins. Our shared friend Stina made them and even kindly sent a few home with us. (I think maybe one made it to breakfast the next morning). When I emailed her asking for the recipe, I was delighted to find out that they came from one of my favorite bloggers in her latest cookbook: Super Natural Every Day.
A few weeks later, I woke up thinking about these muffins and how badly I wanted some in my mouth. (Does anyone else wake up thinking about specific foods on a regular basis? It’s not even always breakfast foods, which is the weird part.)
So, I looked up the recipe and found that it called for all sorts of things I didn’t have: white whole-wheat flour, walnuts, espresso powder, natural cane sugar, plain yogurt…and so I started substituting, and what were once Super Natural muffins very quickly became Super Normal muffins.
The white whole-wheat flour became one cup of white, one cup of wheat flour…the walnuts became a mixture of pecans and almonds, espresso powder turned into ground coffee beans, natural cane sugar into dark brown sugar, the yogurt was replaced by buttermilk, and even that was made by substitution. To top it off, I added dark chocolate chips just to send them from Super Normal into Somewhat Unhealthy.
These muffins have made no fewer than three separate appearances in our house in the last few weeks. Nutty, moist, with hints of chocolate and coffee, these muffins are worthy of being your first thought upon waking (especially since you can easily make the batter the night before). I paired them with coffee for breakfast…and for my “after-school” afternoon snack and can only hope that you do the same.
(yields 12 jumbo muffins, or 24 medium muffins)
This recipe is easily adaptable based on what you have on hand. I traded white plus whole-wheat flour for white whole-wheat flour, an assortment of nuts for the walnuts, ground coffee for espresso, brown sugar for cane sugar, and buttermilk for the plain yogurt found in the original recipe. I also used 1/2 the nuts and left them out of the batter (only using them to top the muffins) and added dark chocolate chips. You can make this muffin batter up 24 hours ahead of baking, if you keep it stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
1 c. all-purpose white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
heaping 1/2 c. chopped (toasted*) nuts (walnuts, almonds, and/or pecans)
1 tbsp. ground coffee beans
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. plain yogurt OR 1 c. buttermilk**
1 1/2 c. mashed overripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)***
1 c. dark chocolate chips
*toasting the nuts is optional.
*You can find great buttermilk substitutions here .
**Whenever you have an overripe banana that you don't want to eat, throw it in your freezer, peel and all. You don't even need to put it in a freezer bag. When ready to bake with it, take it out while still frozen; use a paring knife to take off the peel, then put the peeled frozen banana in the microwave for about 30 seconds on defrost to soften it enough to mash.
(If toasting the nuts, heat a small pan over high heat. Once hot, add the nuts, and stir FREQUENTLY for about 2 minutes until nuts start to brown and smell nutty. Remove from pan immediately and set aside).
Heat the oven to 375°F, position the racks low in the oven, and thoroughly grease muffin tins with cooking spray.
Combine both types of flour, baking powder, salt, and the ground coffee in a bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, yogurt (or buttermilk), and mashed bananas, then briefly and gently mix in the dry ingredients until just combined; overmixing will result in tough muffins. Gently (and briefly) stir in the chocolate chips.
Spoon into the prepared muffin tin (an ice-cream scoop works well), top with the (toasted) nuts, and bake until golden, about 25 mintues. Fill the cups two-thirds full for regular muffins or to the brim for a big-topped version. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes; then use a butter knife to loosen the mufins. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Keeps well in an airtight container for 2 days; beyond that, store in the refrigerator.