I bought some Trader Joes almond butter and it was—to say the least—disappointing, hardly any almond flavor at all. Jan really loves banana bread and when our bananas get to that state of over ripeness where no one will eat them it is time to mix up a batch. Mixing the almond butter with the banana bread seemed a good way to use it up.
Jan is always concerned about portion control. My mother, Claudia, always made banana bread in a loaf pan, but how big and what portion is a “slice.” Mini muffins arethe answer—besides two mini muffins are far more satisfying than one big muffin, you had two not just one after all.
I never took down my mother’s recipe, but I have adapted the one from the recipe in Joy of Cooking. For reasons of Jan’s diet, I have use fat free Grape Nuts in place of the usual nuts. The trick here is to remember to add the Grape Nuts at just the last minute before baking. If you add the Grape Nuts too early, they soak up all of the moisture and get soggy.
Karl’s Banana Almond Butter Mini Muffins
1¾ cups flour, all purpose
1 Tbs. baking power
½ tsp. salt
3 over ripe bananas
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup almond butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
¾ cup Grape Nuts (or ½ cup chopped pecans)
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
2. Use a fork to mash the bananas in a large bowl.
3. Use the fork to mix in the egg and oil.
4. Stir in the almond butter, sugar and zest.
5. Fold in half of the flour at a time and mix just until there is no white showing.
Tip: For a quick bread, you do not want to overwork the dough, because it will make the loaf tough. This is the opposite of yeasted bread, where you are trying to develop the gluten to give it its structure.
6. Preheat oven to 350° F.
7. Fold in the Grape Nuts until just blended in.
Tip: You can enhance the “nutty” flavor of the Grape Nuts by first toasting them for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat and then letting them cool before adding them to the mix.
8. Spoon the batter into a Pam-ed mini muffin pan.
9. Bake for the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
10. When you muffins are done, remove them from the baking pan and cool them on a wire rack.