I’ve been in serious hibernation mode lately.
And I’m here to tell you that that’s totally okay. It’s okay if you’d rather binge watch Friends on Netflix instead of going to that dinner-thing this weekend, or you just want to take a long, glorious nap instead of going out with those friends you don’t talk to that often anyway. ’Tis the season to cozy up and stay out of the cold. Join me, won’t you?
These muffins are a homebody’s best friend. Just the smell of the brown butter makes me never want to leave the kitchen. Brown butter is my one true love (sorry, Wei). It’s just about the best thing to put on anything, with its warm, rich aroma that makes me want to jump right in and swim in the stuff. It comforts me from the inside out, making it the perfect addition to a cozy night in.
For those of you who don’t know about brown butter, or beurre noisette, it’s the caramelization of the casein protein solids in butter. It’s one step beyond cooking ghee, or clarified butter, and it’s way too easy not to make at least once.
When I see a recipe that calls for butter, I like to see if it’s possible to swap it for brown butter. I’ve experimented with the typical things, like brown butter chocolate chip cookies and pasta sauces, and the not-so-typical, like brown butter brioche (fail) and homemade brown butter croissants (50% success rate so far!). I’m a little intense about it, because I just love it so much.
These muffins are very unassuming. Essentially the moistest banana bread chock full of nuts, these babies are also full of brown butter. The flavor hides behind the bananas, but its magic is not subdued – these are warm, nutty, and they will be there for you no matter what.
Brown Butter Banana Nut Muffins
makes 12 muffins
2 cups nuts (I used 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pecans)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
5 bananas, mashed (2 1/3 cups mashed)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Toast your nuts for 5-10 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on and prepare a 12 cup muffin pan with butter or cupcake liners.
Brown the butter: in a stainless steel pan, melt the butter on medium heat and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes, until you notice the first few brown specks on the bottom of the pan and you can smell the nuttiness. Stir the bottom so it doesn’t burn, then as soon as there are a lot of golden brown specks remove it from the heat. It will continue to brown in the pan. Set it aside to cool, or refrigerate it if you’re impatient.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
In a measuring cup, mix the egg, yogurt, and vanilla extract together.
Once the brown butter has cooled to room temperature (is thick) and is no longer clear, pour it into a large bowl. Add the sugar and whisk or stir together until fully combined. Add the mashed bananas. Things may look separated at this point, but don’t worry.
Pour in the yogurt-egg mixture and stir until combined. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, and before it is fully incorporated begin to fold in the nuts. Don’t over-mix the batter; a few small clumps left are ok.
Fill the muffin cups right up to the top, using all of the batter for 12 muffins. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating 15 minutes in. They’re done when you press down on the tops and it doesn’t sink in.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 mins, then enjoy plain, with a warm pat of butter, or with a generous slather of Nutella.
Stay comfy, my friends.