Miniature Banana Bread Muffins

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I have a very special helper in the kitchen. Whenever I’m mixing and whisking away, this special helper is always ready to lend a helping hand… or paw. Let me introduce you to Rudi, our cat that loves baked goods almost as much as I do. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will remember that almost 2 years ago Rudi ran away and had a one month stint in the Ann Arbor wilderness. Upon his return back to captivity, I made him some delicious chewy cat treats. However Rudi doesn’t discriminate between cat and human food, he loves it all.

This past weekend Matt was away at a conference and I was home alone with Rudi. Although we both missed Matt it was nice to have a lazy weekend to relax around the house. I even engaged in one of my favorite guilty pleasures—a Law and Order SVU marathon. No weekend at home would be complete without a little baking, and I decided to experiment by trying out some miniature banana bread muffins.

I love this recipe because it’s so quick and simple! You know those times when you need to make a dessert but don’t have much time for preparation? Well these little morsels are the perfect solution for those moments. It only takes about 5 minutes to mix the ingredients together and then you can put them in the oven and forget about them for 20 minutes. It couldn’t be any simpler than that!

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Banana Bread Miniature Muffins
Makes approximately 24 miniature muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.

Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
If you’d like to jazz up your muffins, try adding a brown sugar crumble to the top. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons four, 3 tablespoons butter, 5 tablespoons brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Evenly sprinkle over the top and voila—you have some added flavor!

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Irish Soda Bread Muffins

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I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Instead of dwelling on the potential downsides of turning the Big 3-0, I made a conscious decision to do the opposite. Instead, I decided to embrace where I am in my life and reflect on how much I’ve grown personally, spiritually, and professionally. Now that I’m plunging into my thirties, I even did some self reflecting on the upcoming years and some of my dreams and aspirations. Who says it’s not too late to run that half marathon?

While there were several things that I was expecting on my birthday, one thing that I didn’t see coming was the wonderful surprise party that Matt threw for me. It was a surprise that unfolded in stages leaving me guessing at every turn. What made the celebration even more special was getting to spend time with my parents and several friends from out of town. I’d been missing my family and close friends in Ann Arbor, so it was invigorating to have an entire weekend with loved ones.

Aside from celebrating my dirty thirty, there’s also been some baking going on in the Sweet Precision kitchen.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday brimming over with myths and traditions that date back centuries. Perhaps the best part of the holiday is the food and beverages that also get consumed. March 17th wouldn’t be complete without a few classic items such as green beer, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and my absolute favorite— Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread is a sweet white bread made with eggs and butter, which is studded with raisins and sometimes caraway seeds. The “soda” in the name comes from the baking soda used to leaven the bread instead of yeast and kneading. These muffins are a fun and healthier twist on the traditional bread. Half of the flour is whole wheat and the butter in the recipe is reduced to three tablespoons which means that each muffin comes in at approximately 145 calories.

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Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp chilled butter
1 cup 1% buttermilk
3 tbsp honey or agave
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray muffin tin with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, honey (or agave) and egg until blended. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.

Remove tin and cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing muffins from tin; finish cooling on rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store muffins in an airtight container or ziplock bags at room temperature.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
None of us want to deal with a mountain of dishes once we’ve made muffins. But don’t let that inspire you to use an already dirty spoon to divvy up the batter. Use a cookie scoop — even though it’s one more thing to clean — to equally measure the batter into your muffin tins. This will ensure evenly cooked muffins.

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