Friday, July 16, 2021

Caramel Banana Muffins

 It started when I watched a Budget Eats video from Delish in which Delish Senior Food Editor June lived off of her leftovers and pantry for a week.  Y'all know that from time to time I like to use up random food odds and ends that I've collected, and that's exactly what June did during this extremely hot week of filming.   She's so good at it.  Seriously.

On the 6th(?) day June decided to make Banana Caramel Teff Cakes.  And I said to myself, "self, we have leftover caramel sauce in our fridge."  And myself replied, "yes, and we also have overripe bananas in the freezer."  

"We should make caramel banana muffins!" we exclaimed in unison.

It happened exactly like that.

And so I found myself googling banana caramel muffins, and I came across this recipe from Midwest Living.  Now, the disadvantage of this recipe is that it uses only a couple of tablespoons of caramel sauce, and we have ... well, we have more than that, but the advantage of this recipe is that it uses a little bit of cream cheese, which I and myself happened to have in our freezer, because of buying 8 ounces and then only using 6 and then letting it sit in the fridge until it was almost not good anymore and then sticking it in the freezer because maybe I/we would use it someday.

Y'all.  These muffins are so good.  Unlike traditional banana bread, these muffins are light and fluffy, more like a cake than a muffin, but also super moist, with just the right amount of banana flavor.  You can skip the topping if you like, but do not skip putting part of the topping mix into the batter.  Mmmm. So good.

Here, without further ado, is the recipe.

Caramel Banana Muffins

Adapted from here
Click here to print this recipe

For the topping (cut in half if you're not going to use the topping as a topping):
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
For the muffins:
  • 2-3 oz cream cheese, softened (I used 2 oz, because it's what I had, and it turned out great)
  • 1/4 c (half a stick) of butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 T caramel flavored ice cream topping, plus more for serving if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line 12 muffin cups (I use silicone muffin liners).  You could grease the cups instead, but be aware that you might decide you hate your life when you try to remove the muffins, and then later, when you attempt to wash the pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 c. chopped pecans, 2 T sugar, and 1 t cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2-3 oz cream cheese, 1/4 c butter, and 2/3 c sugar until combined.  Add 1 egg and mix well.  Add 1 mashed banana and 1 t vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
  4. Add 1 1/4 c flour, 3/4 t baking powder, 1/4 t baking soda, and 1/4 t salt and stir just until combined.  Stir in 1/4 c of the pecan mixture.
  5. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared muffins cups, about 1 rounded tablespoon per cup.  Drizzle with about 1/2 t of caramel sauce (use your heart on this one, friends), then top with the remainder of the batter, distributing evenly among the cups.  Use a spoon or spatula (or your finger--I won't judge) to smooth the tops, taking care to cover all of the caramel sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining pecan topping if using.
  6. Bake in a 375° oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm drizzled with more caramel topping, if you like.

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