Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

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Let’s ease into fall-baking, okay? I mean, I’ve been ready since September 1st to bring on the pumpkin and spice…but I know not everyone is quite as enthusiastic as I am for the best-season-of-all-the-seasons, AUTUMN! Basically, this is my transition from fall to summer and as soon as that equinox arrives, you better believe I’ll be smashing open a can of pumpkin.

So, let’s ease into it with nutty brown butter, a little spice, wholesome bananas, and a little chocolate for good measure. These muffins are moist and tender, rich with brown butter and banana, and indulgent thanks to the chocolate. Banana is basically an all-season fruit to me, but paired with chocolate and browned butter, it speaks of early fall and the much-anticipated baking season. So, pull on a sweater, grab a cuppa something warm, and get to baking!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

I used a bar of chocolate provided to me by Kallari, an Ecuadorian farmer-owned, organic chocolate company. Kallari was kind enough to send me a sample to try out and I used it in these muffins. Their chocolate is rich, smooth, and comes with an amazing mission. They grow and own the cacao and make it into chocolate, and pay a living wage while striving to conserve both their culture and land.* Feel free to use whatever chocolate you like. 

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tablespoons milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

5 tablespoons butter, browned

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease well.

Brown your butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids in the butter turn deep golden brown and smell nutty and fragrant. Pour into a small dish, making sure to scrape out all of the browned bits, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, milk, banana, eggs, the cooled brown butter, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold until just combined, don’t over mix! Some small lumps are okay. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Can be stored, covered well in the refrigerator, for 4 days.

*Kallari provided me with chocolate to sample. I was not paid for this post, as usual all opinions are my own.

 

Coconut + Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

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Guys, these scones!

Oh man, what a dream! I mean, toasty coconut and chocolate chips are always a fine pair, but in these scones they are even better.

These are cream scones, which means the main liquid is rich and buttery cream. The cream gives these scones the dreamiest crumb that is at once light and decidedly rich. They are super tender with the help of a soft, low protein flour–like White Lily or even a pastry or cake flour. The soft flour has less protein, meaning less gluten, meaning less elasticity, plus more tenderness. While yeasted doughs benefit from some chew, supple scones definitely do not. The chocolate and toasty coconut make these already special scones a bit more decadent. They would be perfect in a brunch spread or even an easy weekend breakfast. They also make the perfect afternoon treat alongside a cup of something warm and caffeinated.

Coconut + Chocolate Chip Scones

Adapted from Take a Megabite and Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12, 3-inch round, scones.

These scones are still good as leftovers the next day, but are at their very best still warm from the oven. For super fresh scones, I like to freeze the cut and unbaked scones in a single layer on a sheet pan for several hours, then I transfer the frozen scones to a zip top bag and return the the freezer. The scones can then be baked, as needed, from frozen. Just bake an additional 1-2 minutes. 

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

2 cups low-protein flour (like White Lily brand, pastry or cake flour)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted, plus more for sprinkling

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 egg + 1 Tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 425*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat.

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut stirring and watching so as not to burn.  Once the coconut is golden and toasty, scrape it into a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

In a measuring cup mix together the cream and vanilla. Set aside.

Whisk together the egg and tablespoon of milk. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Work in the chilled butter quickly with your fingertips, rubbing the butter into the flour until the bits of butter are no larger than peas. Toss the coconut and chips into the mixture to distribute. Add the cream mixture and bring the dough together by folding gently with a spatula. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead–the goal is to bring the dough together in under 12 turns of kneading. Once the dough has just come together, pat it out into desired thickness (go for a rough circle to cut triangles, makes about 8), cut with a biscuit cutter and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of each scone with egg wash and sprinkle with coconut. Bake in the center of the oven for 10-13 minutes or until tops and bottoms are just golden and scones are baked through.

 

 

 

 

Tea Time: Apple Cider Steeped Tea

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There are a lot of things I love about this time of the year in the northern hemisphere.

The cool weather, the sound of crisp leaves under foot, long walks (where I don’t end up sweating bullets!), the clothes, the smells, the baking and cooking, and possibly one of my very favorite things…warm drinks.

Like tea and hot apple cider.

I love them!

When I saw this brilliant idea on The Kitchn via the October issue of Martha Stewart magazine, I knew it would become an instant fall-time favorite. It combines two of the best hot beverages I can imagine and the results are simply perfection.

I have been drinking this nearly everyday and have tried it with both a spiced black tea (like this one) and a green jasmine. I love the sweetly spiced flavor and aroma that the black tea imparts, while the green tea makes for a light and floral scented cup. You could use any tea you fancy, I’d love to try it with a chai or orange tea. I also think that you could add a little shot of bourbon or rum for a twist on hot toddy!

It’s warming and seasonal and seriously good.

Apple Cider Steeped Tea

I like a ratio of 1 part apple cider, 1 part hot water, to 1 tea bag. You could use just apple cider for this and it will be even more apple-y and delicious. 

for one cup:

3 ounces apple cider (unfiltered, local stuff if you can get it)

3 ounces hot water

1 tea bag of your choice

Heat apple cider in a small pot on the stove or in a heatproof glass measurer in the microwave. Add hot cider, water, and tea bag to a mug and steep for 3-5 minutes. Cozy up and drink!