Cooking on deadline: Blueberry muffins from scratch
April 16, 2007
Sure, you could make your own blueberry muffins from scratch. But sometimes you want a special occasion breakfast without the trouble. Likewise, it would be nice to have that fresh-from-the-oven taste without traipsing to the bakery that morning.
The solution? Use a few simple ingredients to give store-bought muffins a gourmet makeover. This recipe for toasted blueberry muffins topped with caramelized bananas can be on the table in the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.
The muffins (they need not be blueberry) can be bought a day or two ahead; the toasting will revive any life lost during that time.
On the morning in question, the muffins are cut in half and toasted in a skillet of melted butter. This gives the muffins a luscious toasted brown crust and warms them nicely. They then are kept warm in a 200 F oven while the topping is prepared.
Caramelized fruit is an easy way to make any breakfast (or dessert) decadent. Generally, hearty fruits do best. Pineapple rings, apples, pears, thick slices of kiwi, even large pieces of mango work well.
Bananas caramelize particularly well. The method is simple. A bit of butter is melted in a skillet. The bananas are added and allowed to brown on the cut side before flipping and cooking another few minutes.
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To create a syrupy sauce, cinnamon and brown sugar are added when the bananas are flipped. This sauce can be spooned over the bananas and muffins. Other fruit, such as pineapple and apples, might need to cook a bit longer to soften up.
If muffins aren’t your style, caramelized fruit also is a great topping for waffles, pancakes and crepes.
A lower fat version of this dish can be had by using cooking spray (such as canola oil) instead of butter.
The taste won’t be quite as rich, but the browning and toasting will be fine.
BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH CARAMELIZED BANANAS
Start to finish: 10 minutes
4 T. butter
2 large blueberry muffins, cut in half down the center
1 large banana
3 T. brown sugar
1Ú2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200 F.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 T. of butter. Place the muffin halves, cut side down, in the skillet. Toast 2 minutes, or until browned. Transfer the muffins to two ovenproof serving plates, cut side up. Place the plates in the oven to keep warm.
Add remaining butter to the skillet and return to a medium-high heat.
While the butter melts, slice the banana in half lengthwise, then cut each half in two across the center. Place the bananas in the skillet and cook, moving them gently in the pan to prevent sticking, for 3 minutes, or until browned.
Gently flip the bananas, sprinkle them with brown sugar and cinnamon, and cook another 2 minutes.
To serve, set one section of banana over each muffin half, then spoon any sauce from the pan over them.
• Hirsch can be e-mailed at email@example.com