It seems I’ve been baking out of dissatisfaction of late. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your breakfast time outlook), I am one of those people who wakes up feeling famished. I am also one of those people who needs a substantial breakfast, otherwise, come mid-morning I’m liable to become shaky-of-the-hand and sharp-of-the-tongue.
So, it’s usually muesli that does it for me in those first waking, stumbling-into-the-kitchen moments. Preferably a variety with whole nuts (some roasted), seeds, whole oats and great chunks of dried fruit (but on no account, any overly-sweetened fruit, such as papaya, pineapple or crunchy, sweetened-to-death banana), which will then be dolloped with thick natural yoghurt and topped with whatever fresh fruit is in the basket.
But for a few days now, muesli has failed to push my breakfast button.
Muffins I like the idea of. Quick to make, so but-you-don’t-need-an-electric-mixer easy, and with cake-like appeal, they seemed to be just the muesli break I needed. Except they weren’t. At least not the first couple of batches, anyway.
The thing you need to understand before you start getting excited at the thought of cake for breakfast, is that muffins are not cakes. They’re full of air and squidge and not a lot else, so they lack the dense, crumbly, satisfying properties of a good cake.
However, ignorant of this distinction and full of the idealistic thoughts of breakfast-cake, I quickly weighed, grated and mixed and half an hour later, I had my first half-dozen batch of carrot, ginger and honey muffins.
Imagine my disappointment at the spongy, what-was-not carrot cake the next morning, having leapt out of bed and zoomed into the kitchen in my slavering state, all ready to welcome my fate of breakfast joy.
Believing it was the recipe that was at fault, I tried again, adapting the ingredients to make my second version a carrot, cardamom and sultana half-dozen batch. It was then that realisation set in.
Having admitted that it is the very nature of the muffin that means it will never triumph over the winning muesli + yoghurt + fruit combination, I made a last-ditch attempt at coming up with something of the muffin persuasion with added cake-like density, which would find a place on my Top 10 Things for Breakfast list.
Friends, I give you the Banana and Peanut Butter Muffin. The recipe makes 6 fairly massive muffins.
Mix of wholemeal and white flour – 125g
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Bicarbonate of soda – ¼ tsp
Salt – a pinch (bearing in mind that your peanut butter may already have salt added)
Honey – 4 tbsp, plus a little extra for drizzling
Bananas – 1 large, very ripe
Crunchy peanut butter – 2 heaped tbsp
Eggs – 1, beaten
Natural yoghurt – 4 tbsp
Oats (optional) – 1 tbsp
Muffin trays – 1, lined with 6 large muffin paper cases
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius/gas mark 4. Peel the banana and slice in half. Mash one half roughly with the peanut butter and chop the other half into smallish pieces.
In a bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt with a metal spoon. Stir in the honey and banana/peanut butter mush until all the ingredients are just combined.
Add the beaten egg and yoghurt and again, stir until just combined. Finally, gently mix in the chopped banana with a couple of swift movements and spoon evenly into the 6 paper cases.
Scatter a few oats over the top of each muffin and pop the tray into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until very well risen and lightly browned.
Once you have removed the muffins from the oven, place the tray on a cooling rack for 5 minutes or so and while they’re there, drizzle the top of each one with a little more honey.
Remove the muffins from the tray and leave them on the cooling rack until you want to eat them. (I would suggest after about 10 further minutes, while they’re still fairly warm.) If this happens to be the next day, make sure you store them in an airtight container once they have fully cooled.