Polls are funny things. One of the very best classes I took in college was a survey class. Our patient professor taught us to write a survey, conduct the survey, and then interpret the results. It was a statistics class so at the end, we got to play with the numbers.
It was an interactive class, and I always learn so much more when I do things hands on. There are so many ways to interpret questions and responses. And even more ways to tweak the results if you've been clever enough to slant the questions! I have to admit that I've been skeptical of surveys ever since that class. Maybe that was the point!
For instance, in our survey, 17 people voted for healthy recipes and 18 people voted for desserts. I'm willing to bet that some of those votes came from the same people. After all, they're not mutually exclusive. Eating healthy doesn't mean you can't eat dessert. At least that's my theory, and I'm clinging to it!
Thanks to everyone who voted and also to those who left comments. We'll talk about the results as a group but, if I were to look into a crystal ball, I'd bet you were going to see more theme weeks, quick fix recipes, and some cookbook recommendations. And I appreciated the suggestions about make-ahead and low-carb recipes. Great ideas!
Here are the final results.
recipes with stories from authors' lives
meatless main courses
recipes with unusual ingredients
more complex recipes
quick fix recipes
theme weeks (holidays, barbecue, etc.)
low calorie recipes
please see comments
As it happens, The Diva Digs up the Dirt will be released tomorrow. This time Wolf is in big trouble. Poor Sophie had planned a relaxing stay-cation at home, but, as usual, Natasha manages to ruin that!
When I was writing the book, I stumbled across a recipe for Caramel Banana Muffins, but the ingredients didn't appeal to me. Still, I couldn't shake the sinfully delicious thought of ooey-gooey, sweet caramel on banana muffins. So I played around with walnuts a little bit and came up with this recipe, which is my official favorite breakfast (or anytime) muffin now -- even without the caramel. They're moist, thanks to the bananas, but there's no crunch because the walnuts are basically ground into flour.
Don't spread it around, but I've found myself buying extra bananas so I'll have some that look icky and have to be used up. This recipe even passes the picky eater test!
If you bake the muffins in advance, don't put the sliced bananas and caramel on top until just before serving. Or you could eat them plain, because they're great that way, too.
Caramel Banana Muffins
½ cup butter
1 cup walnuts
1 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
Topping below – optional.
Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a food processor, mix the walnuts with the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse until fine. Set aside.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a fork. Add the cooled butter and vanilla and mix.
Whisk the eggs for one to two minutes, then mix them into the butter and banana mixture. Pour the flour mixture on top and fold with a spatula. Do not overmix!
Spoon into the cupcake liners, distributing evenly among cupcake liners. Bake 23–25 minutes or until the muffins are a light golden brown on top.
Makes 12 – 16 muffins.
Per 3-4 muffins --
1 to 2 bananas
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Place the caramels and the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl or cup. Microwave for 20 seconds, then for 10 seconds, checking to see if the caramels have melted. Stir. Slice the bananas, and place two to three slices of fresh banana on top of each muffin. Top with caramel.
Note: three caramels and one tablespoon cream make enough sauce for three to four muffins. For more, simply double or triple the amounts.