Monday, October 10, 2011

Banana Muffins filled with Peanut Butter and Honey... and a Day at the Zoo

Muffins were one of the first foods my sister and I learned to bake when we were young.  After working at home as a seamstress for years, my mom got her nail technician license and starting working part-time, sometimes in the evenings.  My dad was not too adept in the kitchen at that time, so my sister and I started making simple dinners:  salads, rice, beef stew, and muffins.  So many muffins.

We fed my dad muffins so often that I think he grew to detest them.  But we were proud of our ability to make dinner, and granted, the beef stew came from a can and the muffins from a box, but still, it was a start.  In spite of the muffin overload, they're one of my favorite things, and I have a hard time resisting their sweet cakey goodness.

When I think of my childhood favorite foods, a sandwich with peanut butter, sliced bananas and honey comes to mind.  This banana muffin with peanut butter and honey inside combines all those flavors into a fun breakfast food that is loved by kids and adults alike.  I made these to take to a get together at a friend's house the other day, and couldn't help but laugh at the excitement of one friend's 3-year old daughter, over getting to eat what she kept calling a "muffin puffin".

Today marked the first official day of Jamie's and my fall vacation - we both took a week off work - just to spend some time relaxing and doing a few things around Denver.  We started this morning off with a breakfast of homemade granola, then after an errand in LoDo, headed over to the Denver Zoo.  And somehow, in spite of my dorky love of organization which prompted me to type up an agenda of possible activities for the week, including what we'll be cooking/eating, I got the days mixed up.  I'd wanted to go to the zoo on Wednesday, simply because it was a free day, but once we were there, we just rolled with it.

We couldn't have asked for better weather to enjoy the pretty colors and the silly antics of all the animals.  I'd never seen tigers so active before, and they played and wrestled for the 45 minutes we stood and watched.  I think they were enjoying the warm weather as much as we were.

Banana Muffins filled with Peanut Butter and Honey

peanut butter honey filling
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, slightly softened
muffin batter
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, no sugar added
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup salted peanuts, crushed
With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, honey and cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until well combined.  Spread out a piece of plastic wrap and spread the filling on the plastic, arranging it in a log shape as best you can.  Tightly roll up the plastic, then roll that in a piece of foil.  Freeze for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and place 24 muffin liners in muffin pans.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, applesauce and sour cream, and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, stirring until just moistened.

Spoon a dollop of batter into each muffin cup, so that they are about 1/3 full.  Remove the peanut butter filling from the freezer and slice into 24 equal pieces.  If yours don't slice very neatly, which mine didn't, simply roll the slices into balls then flatten slightly with your palm.

Place the peanut butter filling slices/balls on top of the first layer of muffin batter.  Spoon the remaining batter over the peanut butter filling.  The cups will be very full, almost to the top, which will give them a nice puffy muffin top on each as the batter spreads a little over the edges.

Sprinkle the batter with the crushed salted peanuts.

Bake at 350 for 21-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted along the side comes out clean.

Serve warm with strawberry jelly for the ultimate flavor combination of your favorite childhood sandwich in a muffin!

Yields 24 muffins.

You might also like...