Okay, okay, so you probably already have a favorite banana bread. I know I do. (See Veganomicon p. 228.) But you have room in your repertoire for one more. If you try this recipe, you will understand.
While traditional banana bread is dense and chewy, these muffins are fluffy, tender, and they melt in your mouth a little. Instead of the usual assertive banana bread spice blend, these have a light vanilla scent, a little tang, and a hint of zest. They are hovering dangerously on the border with a cupcake. Muffcake? Cupkin? Whatever, just give me another one!
So what’s the secret here? It was scouted and reported by my dear friend, J., who alerted me to the work of genius that is the Cordon Rose Banana Cake from The Cake Bible. The key, J. tells me, has to do with the way you blend everything together.
My usual banana bread recipe begins with mashing the bananas with a fork or pastry cutter. Wet ingredients are whisked together first–bananas, oil, apple sauce–followed by the dry ingredients.
On the other hand, these banana muffins rely on the “reverse creaming” technique. First all the dry ingredients are mixed together. Then, the banana is fully pureed in a food processor. Lastly, the fat and banana are creamed into the dry ingredients at the very end of the recipe.
This process completely transforms the texture of the cake–ah, the wonders of chemistry! I believe it could turn a banana bread skeptic into a true believer. I hope you give it a whirl.
Fluffy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted substantially from The Cake Bible: made vegan, fat reduced.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 small ripe bananas
½ cup soy yogurt or sour cream
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, at room temperature
2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin (or 9″ round pan) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a food processor, purée the banana and sour cream until completely smooth. Add the vanilla, applesauce, and process briefly to combine.
4. Add the margarine and about ½ of the puréed mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Beat to combine on low speed; then increase the speed and beat for about 90 more seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and add the rest of the purée, beating to combine well.
5. Pour and scrape the batter into the muffin tin. Bake for about 12-18 minutes (muffin) or 35-45 minutes (cake pan), until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.
NOTE: For a more fully cake-like final product, substitute the applesauce with additional margarine.