Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Muffins

I've spoken a little bit about Caroline's egg allergy on here.  Short, basic story is that she is allergic to eggs.  We are hoping that she'll outgrow it, but every time we take her for her allergy testing, I leave disappointed.  And I always go into her appointment thinking that if she's no longer allergic, then I'll take her out to breakfast and order her scrambled eggs and a waffle.  But, that has yet to happen.  Most recently, I planned for us to spend the afternoon baking up egg-full treats that she could enjoy.  Maybe next year.

Most of the time she is a pretty happy go lucky kid, so she was a good sport through the poking of the test, and then when we left, she very matter-of-factly asked me if eggs still made her sick or if she would be able to eat cupcakes with her friends now.  It broke my heart, but she just said "okay" when I told her that they still make her sick.  And then she just went about her business like it was nothing.  Most of the time I really think it's harder on me than it is on her.  She doesn't know anything different, so she's fine with it.  And I should really take a cue from her and gain some perspective.

The good news is that even though she is still allergic, the diameter of her reaction spot has decreased from last year.  So we are still hopeful.  Maybe next year will be our lucky year!  Instead of wallowing in self/Caroline-pity this year, I thought that we might as well still enjoy baking together the afternoon following her appointment.  So instead of making cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream and egg yolk-based ice cream, we made these strawberry-banana muffins.  And I don't think she minded a bit.  To make them allergen-free, I just used egg replacement powder in lieu of the 2 eggs called for in the recipe.

As far as muffins go, I feel like they generally fall into 2 categories:  healthy and nutritious vs basically an excuse to eat a cupcake for breakfast.  I like to think that these are closer to the healthy side with a little indulgence from the butter.  You can replace up to half of the flour with whole-wheat flour, there is less than a cup of sugar in entire recipe, plus come on - there are bananas and strawberries there.  Fruit = healthy.

Caroline still loves to help me in the kitchen, so she lined the muffin tins with cupcake liners, whisked the dry ingredients, mashed the banana,  stirred it all together, and then topped each one with a slice of strawberry.  This was such a fun recipe for us to make together, and the muffins were enjoyed for several days following.

And since I just spent the entire post talking about Caroline, I suppose it's only fair to share a recent picture of my sweet girl.

Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Muffins
adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute up to 1 cup of whole-wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed banana (2-3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup small diced strawberries, plus 2-3 more for topping
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with liners or grease each well with butter.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt or buttermilk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas.  When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir,  scraping the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold in the diced strawberries, being careful not to over stir.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and top with thinly sliced strawberries.   Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Cate said...

These look delicious, and Caroline just keeps getting cuter!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

These muffins sound like heaven! Love this idea.

Elizabeth said...

Brown butter is so delicious!

Joanne said...

That girl is so adorable. And such a trooper! Love her attitude.

And these muffins! Swoon. I love anything with brown butter!

Kelsey said...

What a sweet post for a sweet girl! From all your pictures and descriptions, I just can't imagine Caroline any other way than with that precious smile on her face.

Annie said...

Love that girl!

Emily @ She Makes and Bakes said...

Bummer that she's still allergic. I'm crossing my fingers for next year! She's adorable though. These muffins look incredible. Can't wait to try them!

Anonymous said...

Your little Caroline is SO precious! It sounds like you are really such a good mommy to her. She is a very lucky girl!

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