Monday, March 5, 2012

Good Morning to You - Coconut Banana Muffins

Last week was a long week, full of ups, downs and in between.  This week?  A biofluids exam coming up, homework due a week earlier than usual, a meeting with a professor about robotics and of course, the never-ending stack of articles to be read for research.  Luckily, these muffins may just fortify me enough to scrape the remains of myself off the floor and press on.

I made these the Thursday morning that I suddenly had free.  That was one of the better times of the week. I've been trying to procrastinate less and condense my workload to reduce exhaustion, similar to sprinting, then resting fully, then sprinting again.  As a former cross-country runner, I usually find a long, steady run to be easier, but it seems that my mind is sharpest in bursts.  Since I am attempting to radically overhaul my working schedule, I'll let you know how it goes.  Hopefully, if it goes well, I'll be able to show you the homemade poptarts from a couple of weeks ago next Saturday :)

From Deb of Smitten Kitchen comes these incredible muffins.  Soft and moist inside, topped with toasted, lightly caramelized coconut shreds and hinting at the flavor of banana, they brighten up your day.  Deb actually suggested banana as a good flavor variation on the original coconut muffins, but apparently I didn’t read her entire post carefully.  She was right :)

Neatly lined up, by the dozen.

Coconut Banana Muffins
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 12 muffins

1 cup white whole wheat flour*
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup + ¼ cup (1 cup total) sweetened shredded coconut
1 banana, mashed**
1 large egg
½ cup sweetened cream of coconut***
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (coconut if you can get it)

1 large mixing bowl
1 rubber spatula
1 whisk (optional, for mixing dry ingredients)
¼ teaspoon measure
½ teaspoon measure
¼ cup dry measure
1 cup dry measure
2-cup liquid measure
12-cup cupcake baking tin
12 paper liners/parchment squares/butter or oil for greasing


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners, parchment paper, or simply grease with butter or oil.

2. In the large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.  Toss in the shredded coconut and mix until thoroughly combined.

3. In the measuring cup, beat the egg.  Add the banana, cream of coconut and vegetable oil.  Note that the beaten egg will be around ¼ liquid cup, and you can just add the rest of the liquids from there. 

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold until there are no streaks of flour left in the bowl.

5. Divide the batter into 12 muffins, filling each cupcake dimple a little more than ¾ of the way full.  Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or a toothpick stuck into the middle muffin comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy!

Pick me, pick me!  I'm delicious!

* Deb’s recipe called for ¾ cup whole wheat flour and ½ cup all-purpose.  I suspect that a mixture of just about any proportion whole wheat to all-purpose would work here, as long as the total is 1¼ cups, but I like the slight texture that comes with whole wheat flour.  Besides, Trader Joe's (and other places) sell a lovely white whole wheat flour that tastes and bakes up a little lighter, but still offers some of the structure and flavor of whole wheat flour.  Be aware that a completely whole wheat muffin will be rather denser than one made with only all-purpose flour.

** My banana was overripe and leftover from banana muffins.  I froze it for a while, then thawed it in a bowl in the refrigerator.  Warning!  Frozen bananas can leak quite a bit when thawed.  They essentially become mushy bags of sweet banana puree, which is perfect for baking, but perhaps less so for a snack.  Also, not a lot of fun to clean out of your roommate's fridge.

*** Substitute coconut milk or coconut cream with ⅓ cup sugar if you don't have it.  Originally, Deb's recipe called for 1 cup greek yogurt and ⅓ cup sugar, which I substituted with the cream of coconut and the banana.  Fun fact: a medium banana, when mashed, equals about a half liquid cup.

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