It's a banana muffin. But it's sporting a gorgeous and scrumptious topping of sticky cinnamon-brown sugar walnuts, browned butter icing and a swirl of caramel sauce. When you sink your teeth into this delectable muffin you can feel the smoothness of the icing, the stickiness of the caramel, the firm yet soft crunch of the walnut and the moistness of the banana cake. It's a perfect combo of flavour and textures with just the right amount of sweetness.
For those who are counting calories or are fussy, feel free to leave off the caramel or the icing, or both. You will definitely want to keep the walnuts, and they're good for you, as is the cinnamon the are coated in. They also make a delicious snack on their own. But I warn you, they are highly addictive!
In the recipe I followed for the walnuts, they are not supposed to stay sticky (I must have made an error with the temperatures--my candy thermometer is out perhaps?) They are supposed to dry out and are like candied walnuts. Either way they will be delicious atop this lovely banana muffin!I think the walnuts on their own would make a very pretty Christmas gift, tied up in a clear cellophane bag with some red ribbon. That is, if they don't stay as sticky as mine turned out! Keep and eye on your candy thermometer and you'll be fine.
BANANA MUFFINS WITH STICKY CINNAMON WALNUTS & BROWN BUTTER ICING
(A Lick the Spoon Original with walnuts adapted from Eat Good 4 Life)
1 1/4 cup Self Raising flour
1/4 level tsp. bicarbonated soda
1/2 level tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup thickened cream
To make the muffins, sift flour, bicarb soda and salt together in a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating after a each addition until well combined. Add the mashed banana and beat again. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. pour mixture into muffin trays or paper liners. Bake at 180C for about 1 hour or until firm on the surface and golden brown.
Meanwhile, to make the sticky cinnamon walnuts, place brown sugar, milk, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan. Place on medium heat and whisk until the mixture comes to the boil.
Boil the mixture on a lower heat until it reaches 115C on the candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir through the vanilla, then the walnuts.
Spoon onto baking paper and separate any clumps. Let to cool.
To make the icing, place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, reduce the heat and swirl the butter in small circular motions. The melted butter should foam and begin to turn amber. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, place the other ingredients. When the butter has cooled, add to the icing mixture and beat into a thick icing.
To assemble, remove the cooled muffins from the pan and add a dollop of icing to each. Top with sticky walnuts and serve with caramel topping or sauce, if desired.