I made three attempts to find instant espresso powder in my neighborhood before I was finally successful. It was worth walking around in this freezing weather. (And once you have instant espresso powder you can make a ton of excellent desserts.)
This recipe for Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins is from the Baked Cookbook (which I've mentioned quite a bit recently). These little treats are an excellent way to start your day and a great way to turn those over-ripe bananas into something more delicious than compost mush.
Note: Instant espresso powder is not the same as ground espresso - it dissolves instantly in hot water.
BANANA ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS (Courtesy of Baked)
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I usually go with Ghiradelli.)
Yield: 12 muffins (Halving the recipe is simple, except for the egg part...)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I take a paper towel and use the remaining melted butter from the saucepan to grease the muffin pan.)
In a medium bowl, stir together bananas, sugar, butter, milk and egg.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill each cup about three-quarters full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Move the muffin pan to the cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.
Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
* * *What's coming up on Sparrows & Spatulas:
I've been seeing a lot of fennel and artichokes around recently, so I'm going to go seasonal with Jerusalem Artichoke & Goat Cheese Soufflé and an Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin.
I've been feeling particularly inspired by some of the recipes in Ina's new cookbook, How Easy Is That?- especially after meeting her at a book signing this week. Giddy, giddy me! I'm thinking that I will start with her French Toast Bread Pudding for brunch this weekend.
I also had a few ideas for the New Year. As some of you know I've been obsessed with the West Coast in general, the Pacific Northwest in particular, and have been for many, many years. But I seem to be stuck in New York City, for better or worse. Well on the "for better" side, the city (outer boroughs represent) has some of the most amazing range of ethnic eats anywhere in the country. Did you know that Jackson Heights is the most diverse zip code on Planet Earth? The food is also incredible. So my idea for the New Year is to visit 12 different ethnic neighborhoods and then cook the best recipes I can find from those cuisines/cultures.
The Sparrows & Spatulas family is moving out of Prospect Heights (weep) at the end of the month. We will be relocating to a little place a few neighborhoods away. (You know, just for a year while we figure out the next step. I personally think it's time to buy and put down some roots...but that discussion is for a different time and place.) The layout of our new pad is much better and we will have a private outdoor area (rarity!), so grilling will be in our future. The best part about the move is that we will be living a stone's throw away from the city's best Mexican food, Brooklyn's Chinatown, and tons of Vietnamese eateries. We are also just a 15 minute subway ride to Tanoreen, the city's best Middle Eastern restaurant, hands down. This dovetails perfectly with my New Year's plan to branch out to other cuisines in addition to seasonal, New-American cooking. I will also start using the new cookbooks my husband got me for the holidays: Land of Plenty, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Classic Indian Cooking and Thai Food. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you are too!