Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tropical Muffins with Coconut-Macadamia Topping

These muffins define the word scrumptious! They're so moist and delicious, with a flavor that's a combination of banana-nut bread and a yummy piña colada! I clipped the recipe from a Cooking Light magazine a few months ago and have been wanting to try it ever since. This morning I had some bananas that were past their prime, so I decided it was the perfect time to whip up a batch of Tropical Muffins with Coconut-Macadamia Topping.

They smelled so good while they were baking - oh, the anticipation! I could hardly wait to dig into one. I decided to do it right, though, and actually take a few minutes to sit down at the table (instead of standing at the counter gulping one down), and have a proper cup of tea with my warm, fragrant muffin. To make it even more of an event, I got out a tea cup and saucer from my mother's set of lilac china. Those old china teacups are so thin and delicate and pretty - they make you feel fancy, just holding one in your hand.

9" x 12", watercolor, pen & ink

That tea cup looked so pretty with the morning sun shining on it - I just had to do a quick sketch of it. But I can't seem to leave well enough alone, and the sketch kept growing until I had a 9" x 12" page in my sketchbook filled with the tea cup and muffin, plus an abbreviated version of the recipe. (Mine's a little different from the original - I substituted walnuts for macadamias, since that's what I had on hand.)

Isn't this just typical of how some days go? I spied those unassuming ripe bananas on the kitchen counter, and next thing I knew, I had a warm muffin in my hand while I sipped tea from an antique china cup while smiling at my brand new illustrated recipe. Now that's a great way to start the day!

Here's the recipe ...

Tropical Muffins

Muffin ingredients:
1-1/3 cup flour (about 6 ounces)
1 cup rolled oats or quick oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 T. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
3 T. finely chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

Topping ingredients:
2 T. flaked sweetened coconut
1 T. finely chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
1 T. sugar
1 T. rolled oats or quick oats

1. Preheat oven to 400º.
2. To prepare muffins, combine flour and next four ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture.
3. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in pineapple, 1/3 cup coconut, and 3 T. nuts.
4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
5. To prepare topping, combine 2 T. coconut and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
6. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. of topping over each muffin.
7. Bake at 400º for 18 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Notes:

- Macadamia nuts are the perfect choice for true tropical flavor, but walnuts or slivered almonds are great substitutes.
- Toasting the nuts before adding them to the batter really helps to bring out their flavor. I put mine in a Pyrex pie pan in the microwave for a few minutes, stirring every minute or so. Be careful - they can burn very quickly.
- I substituted Jules gluten free flour for wheat flour, with no other adjustments, and the muffins turned out just perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Another great story. I can really relate to 'one thing leading to another, and another, and....'. It happens more frequently than one might think. I can also picture you enjoying tea in your Grandmother's tea cup. My mom has a bunch of hers and my Grandmother's and I've had an interest in sketching some of them.

    You are very ambitious to end up with the illustrated recipe in addition to the delicious muffins.


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