Showing posts with label banana muffins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label banana muffins. Show all posts

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Guest Post from Victoria Hamilton plus Bananas Foster Muffins!

Learn more about Victoria
and her books by
clicking here.

It's always a pleasure to welcome talented author Victoria Hamilton to our kitchen. 

Today she's sharing a deliciously creative recipe for Bananas Foster Muffins and news about the upcoming releases in her three terrific mystery series, including her upcoming release in July, DEATH OF AN ENGLISH MUFFIN. 

Take it away, Victoria!
~ Cleo

~ :: ~

It’s been one of those weeks...long, tiring, extremely busy. I’m not the most organized person in the world, so when I got a sweet note late Thursday reminding me—gently—that my guest blog for Mystery Lover’s Kitchen was due, I kind of went into panic mode. I had promised Bananas Foster Muffins, right? Well, yes I had, and I had also gotten it into my head that I had another full week to get it ready.

However...I really love coming to Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, and I was not going to let down the gang. Sure, I may have the manuscript for book #3 of my Teapot Collector’s Mystery, (I write them as Amanda Cooper) THE GRIM STEEPER (February 2016) due on July first. And I have a typeset edit of Book #5 of my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, WHITE COLANDER CRIME (November 2015) sitting on my desktop to get in ASAP. And a multitude of other things, but don’t we all have busy lives?

I am woman, hear me roar. Or whimper. Depending on the day.

But muffins are the perfect bake-ahead, or bake-in-a-hurry for busy lives; they’re forgiving, homey and delicious. How hard would it be to whip them up? So I went on working to deadline; draft two of THE GRIM STEEPER is done as I write this, at 3:44 pm Friday. Now to whip up the muffins...

I look at the recipe I’m adapting—who ever leaves a recipe alone?—only to discover I don’t have dark rum. Okay, I’ll use either white rum or rum extract. I can do this. here was a conundrum. I have no eggs. I distinctly remember using the last two eggs yesterday for lunch, knowing I’d be shopping Saturday, except...well, dang. Today is Friday, I need to get the blog in by tomorrow noon. Okay, all right, not to sweat. I have a carton of egg whites in the fridge; I’ll use those.

So here is the ingredient list using what I actually had, and let it be a lesson to you: keep a well stocked fridge. And liquor cabinet. Especially that. I’ll tell you how the muffins come out when I taste them.

Victoria Hamilton's
Bananas Foster Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins 

Note: Bananas Foster is a decadent dessert of sautéed rummy bananas served with vanilla ice cream. I don’t think I would serve these muffins with ice cream, but I hope the flavors of banana, rum, brown sugar and cinnamon, are reminiscent! 


1-½ cup very ripe mashed bananas. (3, from my freezer, in my case.)

½ cup golden brown sugar

1-½ cups butter, divided (1 Cup and ½ cup) (they said unsalted, but… well, I didn’t have unsalted, so I used salted and omitted the salt in the recipe)

1 Tblsp. rum extract (original recipe called for 3 tablespoons dark rum, but… well, you know. According to online calculations I used 1 ½ tblsp rum extract to substitute, but I think that’s a little much, so… use 1 tblsp.)

¼ cup white sugar

1 large egg (In my case, 3 tblsp. and 2 tsp. of egg white)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1-½ cup all purpose

1-½ tsp baking soda


1 – Preheat oven to 350° F.

2 – In a small saucepan melt ½ cup butter. Add the brown sugar and bananas and caramelize. (I found they didn’t so much caramelize as just slightly thicken, and begin to smell heavenly!) Remove from heat, add vanilla and cinnamon and allow to cool. 

3 – Combine remaining butter and white sugar in a separate bowl. Add the egg (in my case egg white) and rum extract, and mix well. Add the cooled banana mixture—it’s important that it’s cooled, or the eggs in the eggs, butter and sugar mixture will scramble—baking soda and mix well, then blend in the flour until just combined. Don’t overbeat muffin batter!

4 – Line 12 muffin cups with liners, and fill with batter. Bake at 350° F. for approximately 25 minutes, or until the toothpick test or spring-back test indicates they’re done. 
~ :: ~

Okay, so… I just took them out of the oven and they are actually delicious! I hope you like them. Curl up with a good book, a muffin, and a cup of Wynter Castle Blend tea!


A Merry Muffin Mystery

by Victoria Hamilton

From the national bestselling author of Muffin but Murder, baker Merry Wynter returns with a fresh tray of muffins and a case that has authorities stumped…

They say one’s home is one’s castle, but when it comes to Wynter Castle, Merry would like it to belong to someone else. But until a buyer bites, she could use some extra dough, so she decides to take in renters. The idea pans out, and Merry’s able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies.

The Legion of Horrible Ladies, as Merry calls them, is led by the terribly nasty—and fabulously wealthy—Cleta Sanson. The abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy—until she meets an embarrassing end behind a locked door. Evidence reveals that Cleta was murdered, yet no one is privy to how the deed was done. Merry knows she must quickly find the killer before another of her guests gets greased…

~ :: ~

Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing! 

Visit Victoria's Website:

Friend Victoria on Facebook

Like her Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page 

Follow her on Pinterest

Follow her on Twitter

Congrats to 

Victoria's Winner!

Prize Package 

1 copy each of


1 "Cozy up to a Good Mystery!" tote bag, and 

10 Wynter Castle Blend teabags! 

OPEN to Canadian
and US addresses only. 

This contest is now over.

Congrats to Tonette
whose comment was
randomly selected to win
the prizes above!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

~ Victoria

Monday, February 2, 2015

Valentine Brunch Muffins

Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year. If you're very lucky that might mean breakfast in bed. (I hear you laughing!) Okay, for most of us, just snoozing a little longer is a treat. But then it's time for brunch.

You can whip up these muffins half asleep while you work on your first cup of coffee. In fact, they would go great with coffee! Not only are they quick and easy but your kitchen will smell wonderful. Happily, they taste good warm and cold. (Yes, I tested them for you both ways! How I suffer for this blog.) They turned out so pretty that you could serve them straight from the oven. But if you're in the mood to do something a little fancy for your Valentine (very little, let's not overdo it, right?), then melt some chocolate chips and drizzle the chocolate over top of the muffins.

If your Valentine barks and happens to have four legs and a tail, omit all the chocolate, and you can share a little bit of your muffin with him or her.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

½ cup butter
2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 1/2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
additional 1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix.
Mash the bananas in another large bowl with a fork. Add the cooled butter and vanilla and mix. Add the eggs and mix well with the fork.
Pour the flour mixture on top and fold until the flour disappears. Do not overmix! Gently stir in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
Spoon into the cupcake liners, filling them almost to the top. Bake 20 minutes or until the muffins are a light golden brown on top.
Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in microwave on 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Use a fork to drizzle chocolate over top of cooled muffins.

Makes 12 – 16 muffins.

Mash the bananas and remove any dark bits.

Crack the eggs right into the banana mixture!

Mix gently until the flour disappears.

Add chocolate chips!
Fill almost to the top.

So pretty you could serve them just like this!

Or dress them up by drizzling chocolate on top!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Caramel Banana Muffins

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
  38 (80%)
trendy recipes
  7 (14%)
healthy recipes
  17 (36%)
meatless main courses
  13 (27%)
  18 (38%)
recipes with unusual ingredients
  8 (17%)
easier recipes
  18 (38%)
more complex recipes
  8 (17%)
quick fix recipes
  25 (53%)
theme weeks (holidays, barbecue, etc.)
  26 (55%)
  18 (38%)
reader's recipes
  12 (25%)
beverage recipes
  8 (17%)
mixed drinks
  6 (12%)
cake recipes
  9 (19%)
chocolate recipes
  15 (31%)
low calorie recipes
  12 (25%)
cookbook recommendations
  19 (40%)
please see comments
   3 (6%)

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
2 eggs
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
3 Kraft Caramels
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.