Bakery Style Banana Date Nut Muffins

Here is one of my favorite recipes for the large size muffins covered in the Stellar Streusel I told you about yesterday. This recipe will make approximately 12 beautiful, delicious muffins.

First, a quick discussion about mixing muffin batter. To get light, moist muffins it is very important to mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and only stir the dry into the wet just enough to moisten everything. Then any add-ins should be folded in gently with a rubber spatula til just incorporated. The reason is that mixing increases the gluten strands. The more you do that, the tougher the muffins get. It is the same principle in kneading bread… in that case you want to increase the gluten. So be gentle with your muffin batter for the best results.

On the other hand, most recipes for using bananas tell you to mash them. That’s fine if you like pieces of banana in your end result. I do not, so I beat the bananas with the butter and sugar and the rest of the wet ingredients. The result is smoother and I just like it better. If you prefer to mash them, go ahead. Then stir the bananas into your wet ingredients before stirring in the dry stuff.

I played with this recipe a lot before finalizing it. I haven’t found anyone yet who doesn’t love them.

In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer for this part) put 6 peeled very ripe bananas. Beat them with the mixer until they are as smooth as you can get them. Add 1 stick room temperature butter and 1/2C vegetable oil. Beat well on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add 1C granulated sugar and 1C packed brown sugar, and again beat well. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in 2T vanilla extract and 1C buttermilk. In a separate large bowl, sift together 4C flour, 1T baking powder, 1t baking soda, and 1t salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the banana mixture into the well. Use a wooden spoon to mix until everything is moistened, then Stop!

Now, finely chop 1/2C dates and 1/2C pecans and very gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, set out 12 paper muffin tin liners. (No muffin tin used here!) Spoon batter into paper liners. Do it slowly, as muffin liners will spread open, allowing them to hold more batter. This will give you those nice big muffins! Fill to 3/4 full. Depending on the size of your bananas and add ins, you may have 13, or only 11. Don’t panic. Go with the flow.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. While it’s heating up, make the Stellar Streusel. I use a food processor for this, but you can use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture. In the bowl of a food processor with the blade attached, put 1C flour, 1C packed brown sugar, and 1/2t salt. Pulse a few times to combine well. Cut 1 stick very cold butter into chunks and drop into flour mixture. Pulse several times until the mixture resembles pea sized coarse crumbs. Spoon generously over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 12 minutes, then decrease oven to 350 F and continue baking for another 12 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin should only show some moist crumbs, no wet batter. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and cool muffins at least 10 minutes before serving. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

These will make you very popular at anything that requires you to bring a baked treat. My husband, neighbors, and grandchildren love them. I hope they become a favorite at your house too. You can cut the recipe in half, you can make regular sized muffins in a tin, you can leave out the dates and/or nuts if you like. This is such a versatile recipe, and there is nothing quite like a fresh bakery quality muffin and a hot cup of coffee. So. Darn. Dee-lish.

Love, Grammy

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