Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Berry Yummy Bargain

I had one of those great trips to the grocery store today. Before you ask "what do you mean a great trip to the grocery store?" hear me out. Ever since last Saturday, when I saw my friend sipping on a martini garnished with fresh strawberries, I've been craving berries. Strawberries are probably one of my least favorite berries, but just seeing those gorgeous, bright red guys floating around in the martini glass was enough to make me want one.

Fast forward to today. I was meandering through the produce aisle at Fresh & Easy checking out all their yummies. I stopped at the berries hoping they would look decent enough to take home. Not only did they look great, but blackberries were on special! And not just any special...half off! Needless to say I scooped up a couple of cartons on the spot. Who cared if they were on special because they were nearing the end of their shelf life? I was pretty sure they weren't going to make it to the next day.

Before dashing off to the check out line, I grabbed some bananas, knowing that berries and bananas are one of my favorite combinations. While I waited patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently) in line, my mind was reeling with all the fantastic things I could make. Cobbler? Sorbet? Or should I just eat them plain or with yogurt? I couldn't decide.

As soon as I got home, I hit the Internet and every cookbook I have. Finally, I found a recipe that fit exactly what I wanted--blackberries, bananas, and warm comfort. I hope you'll like it, too.




Blackberry Banana Muffins
adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3/4 c. light brown sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 c.)

1 c. fresh blackberries

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Line the muffin pan with paper liners or grease with butter or a baking spray. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan melt the butter. Set aside.

3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Add the melted butter to the brown sugar mixture and stir to combine.

4. In another large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Gently fold in the berries, making sure they are coated with flour. This helps to prevent the berries from sinking during baking. Do not over mix or the berries will turn the batter purple.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix.

6. Fill each muffin cup about two thirds full of batter. Fill any unused muffin cups halfway with water to prevent warping of the pan and/or over browning of the muffins. Place in the oven and bake until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yields 12 muffins

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