Banana Caramel Muffins for Cooking with Kids

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We like a lot of  banana flavor in our muffins.  That took  two things: really ripe bananas and added banana flavor. This is a wonderful treat for cooking with kids. Of course they will sample a LOT.

This recipe transforms banana muffins from a breakfast bread to a dessert or at  least, a sweet brunch treat.  We covered  the tops with salted caramel and served them with dollops of whipped cream in  flavors like caramel, butterscotch, and banana.

Is this over the top for calories? Yes. So this is a TREAT not an everyday event. And it’s worth it. I have learned from my guru on how to lose and maintain weight loss Dr Deena Solomon, that you can eat whatever you like whenever you like,  as long as you count the calories and know the amount of daily calories at which you maintain, lose or gain weight ( for me it’s about 1500 a day for maintenance) , bank the amount of calories you need in advance if you are planning an event like this one – baking and eating these scrumptious treats – and write down what you are planning to eat before you eat it! Sounds so simple doesn’t it? And it works.

So  first put on music – everything is better with music – for this event we chose the Happy Song. Then make your favorite banana muffins ( or use our recipe below).  Top  them with three-ingredient caramel.   Sprinkle them with salt crystals.   Add some flavored whipped cream.  You’re  a hero.

The Best Banana  Muffin Recipe

The perfect banana muffin is very banana-rich but still light and cake-like.

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups ripe mashed banana
  •  1/2 cup granulated sugar
  •  1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon banana  flavor 1 cup pecan or walnut  pieces

Preheat  the oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the mashed banana, sugar, sour cream, vegetable oil, egg yolks, and       flavor together.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until the ingredients are mixed       well.  Fold in the nuts.
  4. Fill the well-greased tins nearly full.  Use all the batter for twelve standard muffins.  Sprinkle on some optional streusel topping.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes or until done.  Let sit for five minutes and       remove the muffins from the pan to a rack to cool.

How to Make Salted Caramel with Only Three Ingredients plus Salt

Genuine  caramel can be made with only three ingredients: Cream, brown sugar, and corn  syrup.  Mix it together and boil it.  Simple.    We usually double the recipe to make a big batch–you can’t have too much  caramel.

  • 2  cups heavy cream
  • 1  cup brown sugar
  • 1  cup corn syrup
  1. Mix the three ingredients in large saucepan.  It’s going to       boil up so fill the pan no more than one-third full.
  2. Cook over medium high heat stirring nearly continually. The high heat shortens cooking time substantially but if not tended, you will burn your caramel.
  3. Cook to a soft ball stage, 230 degrees.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

candy thermometer is the way to go the first few times you make caramel unless  you are already familiar with candy making.   I don’t bother; I find the thermometer gets in the way of my  stirring.  It’s easy to put a little  caramel on a spoon and ease the spoon into a cup of cold water.  When cooked, the caramel will cool to a soft  ball.

If  you want to make a caramel sauce, don’t cook it quite so long, maybe 220  degrees.  You can thin your caramel with  a bit of cream.  If you want a firmer  caramel, cook it a bit longer.

I  guarantee that after two times, you’ll be comfortable making caramel and  you’ll find a lot of uses for it: a topping on desserts and on ice cream;  caramel candies and caramel apples.

How to Make Flavored Whipped Cream

Never settle for plain whipped cream.  It’s so easy to  make very special whipped cream.  Often it’s as simple as adding a flavor  to the whipped cream.  Sometimes you’ll want to sweeten your whipped cream  with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.  I often add lemon zest to  lemon whipped cream and orange zest to orange whipped cream.  We grow our own citrus and so its easy to do that. The zest  adds a little flavor and the colored flecks are pretty.

For  your banana muffins, we recommend banana, caramel, butterscotch, or brown sugar  whipped cream.

Whip the cream to soft peaks.  Add the  sugar and flavor and continue whipping.

To Assemble Your Banana Muffins

Chances  are your caramel will be too thick to cover the top smoothly and drizzle down  the sides.  That’s fine.  Push a large spoonful of caramel off the spoon  onto the top of the muffin.  Zap it in  the microwave until the muffin is warm and the caramel starts to melt (about 12 seconds).  Sprinkle it with optional salt crystals.  Use the salt sparingly.

Thai cooking combines a lot of salt and sugar next to each other – each brings out the flavor of the other.

Add  a dollop of flavored whipped cream.  Don’t  bother trying to stack the whipped cream on the top of the warm muffin; it will  just slide off.  We use a large ice cream  scoop and place it next to the muffin.

Brace yourself.   People will go nuts over this.

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About Grandma

I have reinvented myself many times during my life -teacher, lawyer, business woman, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board member, Professor, Mom, Wife, Farmer, Chef, Musician, Author and now my best role of all - Grandma to multiple grandchildren, grandnephews and nieces worldwide.
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