I had 4 ounces of leftover cream cheese sitting in my refrigerator (after making Tortellini With Mushroom-Cheese Sauce a couple of weeks ago), and I needed something to go with the curried coconut vegetable soup I was planning to make for dinner, so on Sunday afternoon I figured I’d whip up a half-recipe of these muffins.
I got the recipe from P (along with a delicious sample of the finished product) a few months ago; she got it, I think, from AllRecipes.com. The first time I made it, the muffins tasted OK, but were flat and ugly and misshapen. This time, they were high and fluffy and golden and perfect. I don’t know what made the difference, but they turned out well enough now for me to recommend the recipe. Nothing fancy here, flavor-wise, just banana, pecans, and cinnamon (the quantity of cinnamon perpetually surprises me—a tablespoon seems like an awful lot—but it tastes good). The only novelty is that the cinnamon, nuts, and brown sugar are placed in a thin layer in the middle of the banana muffin, which is kind of visually cool, reminiscent of geologic formations. But the point is: yum.
Postscript, December 2009: I never made these again. I rarely make banana muffins anyway, and for those rare times when I do, I think I like these better.
½ cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1¼ cup white sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 2 muffin tins.
2. In a small bowl, mix together chopped pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
3. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Gradually add white sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until batter is just moist.
4. Fill muffin cups just one-third full. Sprinkle pecan mixture over batter and top with remaining batter.
5. Bake until tops of muffins are just golden and an inserted knife comes out clean, about 10–15 minutes.
Yield: 2 dozen
Time: 30 minutes