Tediously chop up chocolate
Smash bananas into mushy oblivion
Eat every speck of stray crumb topping left behind on the muffin tin
Chow down on some delicious muffins
What I was not anticipating, however, was having to fend off animals, wild and domestic alike. After taking pictures of in-process batter on the porch, I came back into the kitchen to find my cat on the kitchen counter, licking batter off the beaters of my hand mixer. Animals on anything higher than a chair is strictly verboten in my home, and such transgressions are punishable by livid, curse-laden shouting, a kitchen sink hose-down, and exile. I was feeling merciful that day, so Izzy was only subjected to cursing and rooftop exile.
The next incident occurred while the muffins were cooling on the porch. A squirrel (whom I have named Mr. Pibb) lives in the other end of the window box Izzy is sitting on in the above picture. Pibb and I don’t exactly get along. I left his home intact two springs ago when I planted in the window box, and he showed his appreciation by destroying everything. So this year, I replaced his home with New Guinea impatiens. He retaliated by wreaking havoc on my main garden, pulling peppers off plants and throwing them on the ground. (There are tons of squirrels all over the neighborhood, but I know it was him.) Now that the flowers are gone, Pibb is settling back into his old home, and trying to break into mine. While cleaning up in the kitchen, I heard a bizarre racket coming from the porch. I peeked out to see Pibb, hanging on one of the screen window near the muffins, shaking it with all his might. I grabbed my camera, but by then he had retreated to the safety of a nearby tree.
Banana Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
yield: 12 muffins
- 9–12 oz. of high-quality, extra dark chocolate (80% cocoa), chopped into chunk-sized pieces (I used upwards of 13 oz., and I thought it was too much)
- 3 ripe bananas
- ⅓ cup of butter, melted
- 1 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- a splash of milk
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter, chilled
Preheat oven to 350°. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then add butter and stir to combine. Mix in sugar, egg, vanilla, milk, and spices. Add baking soda and flour, and beat until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Make the crumb topping by combining sugar and flour together, and then cut in the cold butter until a crumbly mixture forms. (I really tried to think of another adjective to use besides “crumbly,” but all I could come up with was “little flour and sugar coated butter chunks.” So whatever. I’m sure you know what a crumb topping should look like anyway. Even so, I’m still going to show you a picture.)
With a spoon, evenly distribute batter in a standard-sized muffin tin, and then evenly distribute crumb topping amongst the cups. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from tin and let cool (preferably in a place free of ravenous, indignant squirrels).