Banana Bonanza Part Two: Banana Pecan Scones with Maple Brown Sugar Glaze

So bananas and I have a love-hate relationship. I’m not one for eating them on their own, but I love using them in other things. Such was my level of procrastination skill, that I planned two weeks in advance and bought bananas with no intention of eating them, so that right after my last midterm, when I should be pressing on with school work, I could make some delicious banana-y baked good. Mad procrastination skills. Except I couldn’t decide exactly what form I wanted the deliciousness to come in. Bananas are so versatile in baking – they can be used for muffins, loaves, cakes, smoothies, ice cream, milk shakes, cream pies, the list goes on for days. And with so many choices how was I, the worst decision maker in the world, to decide which one was most worthy? Fortunately I bought too many bananas, so after making amazing “Nutty Canadian” Banana Muffins, I still had bananas left over. Which meant that scones were back on the menu.

I unfortunately do not have a ton of experience with scones. Okay, I have only made them once. But , hey that’s what Google’s for right? Unfortunately, none of the recipes I found quite hit the nail on the head, so I did like I usually do, and went “Alright this should work right?” I did start with this recipe to get some ideas of proportions of ingredients, however, combined with proportions from other sites and a few tweeks as I went, such as swapping out some of the white sugar for brown, changing the flour and baking soda/powder balance, and adding pecans, I ended up in what I hypothesize to be a much yummier place.

banana scone closeWho doesn’t love banana bread, turn it into a scone, and you’re already on a good path. The yogurt makes the scones wonderfully rich and the pecans add a nice crunch. The finishing touch – the maple brown sugar glaze just takes it to a whole other level. These scones are heaven on a plate. You better be training for an Iron Man or have a lot of friends, because these are truly amazing. Amazing doesn’t actually cover the glaze.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ingredients:

Scones:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (you can use other varieties, but avoid fat free as they will be too runny)
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecan pieces + extra halves for garnish

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup confectioners sugar (I used 1/2 cup + 2tbsp, but if you prefer a thicker glaze add more)

Directions:

  1. Pulse flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in food processor. Add in butter and blend until you have a crumbly mixture.
  2. Combine bananas, milk, vanilla, and sugars in a bowl and beat until smooth.
  3. Remove the blade attachment from the food processor bowl and add wet mixture and fold together until just combined (alternatively you can add flour mix to the wet ingredients if your bowl is big enough).  Fold in the pecans.
  4. Line a pie plate with wax paper and add dough. Spread it out evenly and top with a second sheet of waxed paper. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.
  6. When dough is done chilling, remove top sheet of waxed paper and invert onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cut dough into 8 pieces and separate a bit to allow them room to expand. Don’t worry if they don’t stay in perfectly formed triangles. That’s life.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the edges are golden and the scones have puffed up.

banana scones unglazedGlaze (while scones are cooling):

  1. Melt butter and milk in a small bowl in the microwave (about 10-20 seconds)
  2. Add brown sugar and maple syrup and make sure you have a smooth mix, microwave a bit longer if necessary.
  3. Add confectioners sugar slowly, stirring after ever few tablespoons, adding one tablespoon at a time over 1/2 cup.
  4. Drizzle over the scones you plan on eating immediately, as scones will be sticky and will not be freeze-able after they are glazed. The remaining glaze can be covered and saved in the fridge for later use. Top with a few pecan halves.
  5. Devour.

Banana sconesAnd with that – mischief managed 😉

“Nutty Canadian” Banana Muffins

A decadent muffin with peanut butter, bananas, and maple syrup. Yes. Maple Syrup. Heaven.

Johnny Depp Freaking outSo it’s that time of year folks – midterms are in full swing, and students everywhere are entering panic mode. As a fourth year, with a bad case of senioritus even my panic is a little half-assed and indifferent, but it’s showing up in the same stereotypical form as always.Not sure if I'm calm because Baked goods. I bought bananas about two weeks ago, with the intent of waiting for them to go brown so I could bake with them. This kind of procrastination takes a lot of planning folks. So I patiently waited every day for them to get just brown enough. Then I patiently waited to have five minutes to do something with them. Midterms are finally done, and while I had at least 10 other things awaiting my attention last night when I got home, these bananas were my first priority.

I needed to break the breakfast rut I’ve been in as of late, so muffins were top of my list of what to do with these very ugly looking but very delicious bananas. I  published a muffin recipe back in the fall, but I wanted something more decadent this time. Sneakily decadent. So sneaky that they ended up being healthy again. So I thought back to late summer, when to say thank you to my grandparents for coming down and helping with the taming of my backyard, I made them the most delicious peanut butter banana loaf. Now we’re getting really good. But there was still a certain, je ne sais quoi, missing. Standing with the fridge door open, it dawned on me – I AM CANADIAN! And out came the maple syrup. Perfect.

nutty canadian muffin two plateThe resulting muffin is sweet and rich, thanks to the peanut butter and maple syrup,  and still very healthy thanks to the oats, bananas, and yogurt. The peanut butter gives a hefty dose of protein, the milk and yogurt give a nice dose of calcium, the bananas are chock full of potassium, and oats have been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol. So yeah, I found a way to have my cake and eat it too.

As an added bonus, I took this chance to break out my beautiful new Ninja Mega Kitchen System. Using a food processor instead of a hand mixer made this easier than normal and ensured that there would be no batter flung into strange corners of my kitchen. Score one for me. You do need to make sure you don’t over mix once you’ve added the wet ingredients as you will end up with a tough, dense muffin, but it definitely saves time and effort.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups oats (quick cooking, not instant)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and grease 12 muffin tins.
  2. Mix egg, vanilla, and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Add peanut butter, milk, and bananas and combine until smooth.

    You'll get something like this!

    You’ll get something like this!

  4. Combine dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in the food processor and pulse a few times to get it all mixed together.nutty canadian dry
  5. Add the wet mixture to the food processor and mix until just combined. Remove the blade and fold in chocolate chips.nutty canadian batter from top
  6. Spoon into muffin tins, filling right to the top and bake for 5 minutes at 425F, then 15 minutes at 350F, or until toothpick comes out clean.

nutty canadian singler nutty canadian stackBon Appetit!

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

So I have an issue with bananas. I never eat them. I buy them for other people. Every once and a while I end up with excess bananas. I will occasionally freeze them for smoothies, but the remainder go to my other love – banana baked goods.

Since I had already mixed up some cookie dough that was chilling in the fridge, I decided I should at least pretend like I’m healthy. I have this weird set of cognitive schemas where banana muffins = healthy, and banana bread=dessert. So I was trying to do the healthy thing, which meant muffins were on the menu. Also trying to be healthy also meant that I should probably make them with oats.

A few weeks ago I tried a recipe that directed me to my food processor. Which kind of excited me because my mom had just given me her ancient food processor (I think it was a wedding present, so I guess it’s not that old, but looking at it you wouldn’t know that), and since I have a tendency to fling stuff everywhere with the beater (the thing has a mind of its own) using the food processor meant hopefully mess free. Problem was that I ended up with a very dense, moderately chewy muffin. Which happens when you over-mix. Which is likely to happen if you use a food processor and don’t pay enough attention.

I decided I wanted a more oat-y texture this time round, so back to Google/Pinterest I went. Problem was that I realized that after making cookies I only had one egg. Every recipe called for two. Crap. They also called for butter. Which I’m not such a huge fan of in baking, especially since, you know I’m a healthy baked goods addict. Having a general idea of how to make muffins, I decided to wing it.

First thing – swap the oil/butter most recipes use for apple sauce and Greek Yogurt. Second – swap in an extra banana for the missing egg. Good? I’ve filled two health check marks. One more thing I have to do though. Ever since a kid, I always have added chocolate chips, my mom apparently didn’t like the whole idea because I only ever convinced her to add them to half the batter. But these were my muffins – so in the chocolate chips went. Result – a delicious muffin that is healthy enough for me to justify the addition of chocolate at breakfast.

You can top them with additional oats if you want but doe it before they go into the oven! Otherwise you just get oats all over your counter.

You can top them with additional oats if you want but doe it before they go into the oven! Otherwise you just get oats all over your counter.

If you want to be cool like me, you can knock the mixer off the edge of the bowl after the second addition of flour, somehow triggering it to turn on and getting batter everywhere. This is totally optional though.

What you need to gather up:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2  cup quick cooking oats (not minute or instant)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 mashed bananas (if your bananas are little use 4)
  • 1 container applesauce (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (you could also use other yogurt, but if you use the fat free skip the milk)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

How to turn these ingredients into something moderately healthy:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line muffin tin (or grease it).
  2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, sift it together.
  3. Beat egg, sugars, bananas (it is best if you do this with a hand whisk – the batter will be fairly liquid-y at this stage, so it is very prone to attaching itself to your walls/cabinets/shirt). Add in applesauce, yogurt, milk, and vanilla and again beat until just combined! (over beating makes a chewy dense muffin)
  4. At this point you can start using you mixer/beaters. Slowly added flour, beating until the flour is mostly incorporated until the last addition, then beat until just combined.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin (should make 12), filling the cups almost to the top. Put in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F and bake for an extra 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then take them out and cool on rack.

in case you’re wondering – you start high (425F) to get a nice puffy muffin top, don’t cook them all the way at this temperature though or it will backfire and you will end up with a dense, overcooked muffin.

If you were going to go the loaf route:

Of course the loaf can always be made into a muffin reducing cook time to somewhere in the 20-30 minute ballpark, if you’re like me and HAVE to use a muffin recipe – these Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins from Delicious in a DASH look very promising!

Happy baking folks!