Deep brown, a specific mix between milk and dark chocolate that leans more towards the cocoa rich stuff, blankets the otherwise white freezer. I’d almost accuse the shriveled crescents of littering, except that I put them there. So it’s my problem (I wish all my problems were like this), and I need to fix it. Hence all the frozen banana goods filtering through the house recently.
I’m not a big banana bread person, but my mom insisted on banana muffins with cream cheese frosting. I think she just wanted cream cheese frosting. Her addiction is definitely something she passed down to me.
I didn’t have any nutmeg, so I substituted cloves. They have similar flavor profiles and are both “fall” spices to me, so I wasn’t worried. The original recipe called for splitting the batter between 18 muffin cups, but I had so much batter I ended up making 24. I’d probably make 28 next time, as the muffins rose above the top of the pan edge and were hard to remove. A plastic fork was helpful when I was getting the hot muffins out of the pan and onto the wire rack.
I wanted to use up the cream cheese I've had for months, so I used 4 ounces instead of 3. I added Greek yogurt instead of mascarpone, and upped the sugar to help combat the tangy qualities of the yogurt. Make sure that your dairy is all room temperature- lumpy, cold cream cheese is infinitely frustrating. My honey is depressingly crystallized, so I used maple syrup instead. I also added a splash of vanilla to the frosting to give it a bit more oomph. I think a grating of lemon or orange zest would make it even more yummy (if that’s possible, considering the fact that cream cheese frosting is amazing already).
The muffin was shockingly good. It had a wonderful banana flavor, and there were caramelly notes despite the lack of brown sugar. The top was lightly crunchy, a great contrast before sinking into the moist, soft inside of the cake. I liked the top-to-inside ratio of the muffin; a loaf bread is too soft for me. The frosting wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but still offered a nice counterpoint to the sweet cake.
It’s really yummy and quick. I’d leave out the cream cheese frosting if I was short on time or refrigeration space (I stored mine in the refrigerator), and the resulting muffins would be just as delicious.
Banana Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted slightly from Giada de Laurentiis
3 cups all-purpose flour (you can use a mix of white wheat/whole wheat/ap/etc)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cloves
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 eggs, room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup mascarpone or Greek yogurt, room temperature
3 T honey or agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
- Divide among 24 lined muffin cups. Bake at 325F (convection) until the tops are golden and a tester comes out with few crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool on a rack.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone, then the honey. Frost the muffins. Sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts.