Last week my school held its annual Field Day and served bananas as part of the mid-morning snack to the students. Guess how many teachers and staff have leftover bananas at home? My family does not eat that many bananas, so it was time to bake. I made a batch of Ina Garten’s Banana Crunch Muffins and bagged them up as little sirsees for my children’s teachers. We are close to the end of the year; we have testing next week, and teachers need a little appreciation gift when it gets close to the final weeks of school. (Alert: Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8 this year.)
These muffins taste the best fresh out of the oven, but they are still mighty delicious the next day. Ina Garten’s Recipe includes whole milk, granola, coconut, and walnuts. I used buttermilk in place of the whole milk and replaced the walnuts with pecans because it saved me a trip to the grocery store.
The muffins are baked in cupcake liners, but after the muffins cooled, I placed each muffin inside a Specialty Wilton Cupcake Liner that has tall, scalloped sides. The large liner protects the muffin inside the clear bag. I tied the bags with curly ribbon and added gift enclosure cards with a handwritten label. We arrived at school early and put the treats on each teacher’s desk for a breakfast surprise.
Since the puppy arrived at our house about a month ago, I have had a little extra time on my hands in the morning. After the 5:45 am wake up call, the puppy wants to play. By 6:15, the puppy wants to rest, and I am in the kitchen by myself. This morning I made these little Cinnamon Puffs for breakfast (recipe below). Unlike the pizza from a few nights ago, I baked these without the help of my children. Now, do not be fooled. Most mornings I sit at the kitchen table with an iced coffee and alternate looking at my US magazine and staring out of the window until someone else from my household arrives in the kitchen, and I can go lie down in my bed again. Anybody else gone above and beyond for a tasty breakfast treat lately?
1/3 c. shortening (Crisco)
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, melted (I never use all of this– start with 1/2 c. melted butter)
Beat the shortening and 1/2 c. sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add egg, beating well.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spoon batter into lightly greased miniature muffin pan cups. The batter should yield ~24 mini puffs. I can’t ever spoon evenly into the muffin pans, so I get ~20 puffs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Combine 1 c. sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish.
Remove puffs from pans and dip in melted butter. Give the puff tops a good bath in the butter, so they soak up enough buttery goodness. Then, dredge in cinnamon mixture.
The puffs contain egg and milk (protein) and sugar (energy).