Some Sundays, I make a full-on feast and other days I just want to relax and spend quiet time with Mr. Scrumptious. On those days, one of our favorite rituals is late afternoon tea.
This weekend after cleaning up the brunch dishes, Mr. Scrumptious came into the kitchen to find me busy with the bowls and pans and pulling ingredients from the pantry. He smiled gently and asked "What are you making?" I replied, "Mini Banana Pecan Muffins" and he laughed, saying "The smell of overripe bananas got you, didn't it?" Indeed. I spied two ripe and browning bananas and knew they were bound to be the snickey snack for our afternoon tea.
I used a pretty standard banana and pecan bread recipe but added a couple of my unique touches. We bought the tea set you see in the photos at a great store here in New York called Subtle Tea and since the set is so festive and whimsical I decided to do mini muffins instead of a bread. Actually, I did 24 muffins and a small loaf of bread since I still had some extra batter after filling the cups. I used the mini silicone baking cups for the first time and loved them! I should have bought 36 of them, however. I'll be writing them up over on one of my other blogging gigs. If you happen to live in New York, I heart this tea shop! They have incredible quality and mixes available.
Here's my recipe for the "Mini Banana, Pecan and Ginger Muffins".
Makes 36 mini muffins or about 18 small muffins
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 c. salted butter
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
1. Preheat oven to 360˚Farenheit. Place the bananas in a medium bowl and mash. Add the milk, vanilla extract and ground ginger and continue mashing and stirring until thoroughly mixed and the consistency of very thick soup.
2. In a large bowl cream together the sugar, egg and butter making a smooth and even consistency. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
4. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and mix evenly with a wooden spoon, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Add one-half of the banana mixture and stir gently. Repeat with the remaining flour and banana and stir only until it's all incorporated. Do not overmix this batter or the muffins will be dense and chewy instead of light. Add the chopped pecans and fold in gently.
5. If using the silicone muffin cups, you don't need to prepare them, you'll simply fill them and place them on a baking sheet. If using regular or small muffin tins, grease thoroughly. Fill the muffin cups of choice to a level just below the rim, a little over 2/3 full.
6. Bake the muffins until golden brown, springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. The length of time will depend upon your muffin cups. My mini silicone cups took 16 minutes. Small muffin tins would take about 20-25 minutes and large muffins would probably take 30-35 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven when done and set the baking sheet on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Move the muffins to the rack directly and let cool completely before removing the silicone muffin cup. Serve and enjoy!
These are delicate, moist and the classic combination of bananas and pecans works so well as always. The vanilla and ginger give them a more balanced flavor but I promise I haven't used so much that they taste of ginger. They do not, it simply has a deeper flavor and it goes extremely well with the light and floral flavor of the rooibos tea we drank. Sunday tea is such a treat when it's done with love.