Food & Drink, Gastronomi Klonowski

Gastronomi Klonowski: Muffin with attitude

Welcome back to your second home in the frozen North and to a brand new semester of Gastronomi-Klonowski! If you’re as excited as I am to hit the kitchen and cook up some good grub this Spring, you’re probably fooling yourself. And I’ll tell you why.

Many things have come to pass since the end of Fall semester, including the start of a brand new calendar year! Amid the barrage of fireworks, well-wishes and champagne that usually accompany this grand event, many people make resolutions for the year ahead. On January 1st, four words become the battle cry of determined folks across the globe: “new year, new me.” As a collegiate amateur cook who turned 21 last month, I prefer to think of it as “new year, new ingredients.”

That said, I must confess that I have yet to cook a fancy dinner using a dry white wine (but who really keeps their resolutions anyway?). Instead, I’ve decided to start small, with my favorite baked treat. I’ve written once before in this column about my grand vision for muffins on this campus.

To summarize, they’re easy to make and yet they’re a very shareable snack with a lot of potential to unite people. In addition to my new tradition of #MuffinMonday, I try to take along a batch whenever I go to a special event, especially one where I’ll meet new faces. I find they make a splendid icebreaker and give a great first impression. Who doesn’t love fresh muffins?

So it was shortly after my December 4th birthday that I began thinking about ways to expand my muffin horizons and take full advantage of the new opportunities brought about by my milestone birthday. This was one of the first recipes I found, and it has proved to be a worthy one. It combines the sweet softness of bananas with the kick of some ground cinnamon and a little Fireball whiskey. The first time I baked up a dozen, I was decidedly nervous that the booze would be overpowering. Fear not. While a hint of the secret ingredient is definitely present in the final product, the bulk of the flavor and texture still comes from the relatively harmless bananas.

Notably, the measurements in this recipe are a little bit wonky. That’s because the original recipe is for 18 muffins. Due to limited baking equipment, I’ve adapted it for a dozen instead, but 2/3 isn’t exactly the cleanest multiplier. If you have an 18-cup muffin pan, I’d certainly encourage you to change it back (and don’t forget to add a second egg)! If you’re like me, you have to work with the tools you’ve got, but luckily these amounts aren’t too hard to just eyeball on a standard set of measuring cups and spoons. That said, if anyone wants to buy me a bigger muffin pan, I’ll make sure you receive the entirety of its very first product.

Thanks for reading! I’m excited to bring you more food-based fun in the coming weeks. As always, bon appetit!

Banana-Fireball Cinnamon Muffins

Makes 12 muffins:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk (or fill 1/4 cup measure 2/3 full)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bananas, preferably overripe
  • 1 1/3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Fireball Cinnamon whiskey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  2. Peel bananas, place in a large bowl and mash into paste with a fork or clean hands. There should be as few chunks as possible.
  3. Add sugar, oil, milk, egg, vanilla and Fireball to the banana bowl and mix with an electric mixer.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet, a little bit at a time and use electric mixer until incorporated.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
January 29, 2016

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