Monday, February 7, 2011

My Favorite Whine

The weather's getting me down. I think I'm not alone here. Although the Pacific Northwest isn't being hit by the epic amounts of frozen global warming that the East and Central areas are (including Texas, freaking hot Texas almost couldn't host the Super Bowl because of drifts of the stuff!), we are under a cloud. Actually, lots of them. We're in that bleakest month of the year, February, where the predominant color theme is grey.

Vitamin D deficient, we stumble down the street clutching our coffee, hoping to find a lifeline in a paper cup of caffeine. It gets us through the day, but just barely. What we need is sunshine. Beautiful, warm, light sunshine.

What I want is a beach. A warm sandy beach where the sand is so soft it's like stepping on pillows. And, although the temperature is in the 80's (F), it never feels too hot because of the soft breezes that waft the elusive scent of plumeria over you. When the gentle warmth has seeped all the way into your bones, you can get up and take a few steps to the edge of the water, wade in, and cool off. The water is just the right temperature, cool enough to be refreshing, but warm enough that it doesn't take your breath away.

You see, what I really want is to pack my bags and go to Hawaii. What I did instead was make muffins. Tropical muffins. I threw together the flavors of the tropic - bananas, pineapples, would-have-been-coconut-but-I-couldn't-find-any-in-my-cupboard, and macadamia nuts. Then I could drape a lei over my neck, put Tiny Bubbles on my iPod, crank up the house heat, light a floral candle, and hula my way around the house, eating the taste of the tropics. My husband draws the line at importing a beach, though. The sand is a booger to get out of the carpet.

(I also put quite a bit of bran in the muffins. Hopefully that will help me live long enough to actually get to Hawaii! Or at least to outlive winter.)

Tropical Branana Mini Muffins
- adapted from The Complete Muffin Cookbook
makes about 36 mini muffins, or 12 regular ones

1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup chopped dried pineapple
1/4 cup dried coconut
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
3 ripe bananas, mashed (1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup water
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon peel OR 1/4 tsp lemon extract OR 1/8 tsp lemon oil

1- Preheat the oven to 375 deg. Lightly grease the insides of a mini muffin tin.

2- Into a large bowl sieve together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the wheat bran, pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts.

3- In a medium bowl whisk together the bananas, water, egg, vanilla, and lemon flavoring.

4- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overstir!

5- Spoon the batter (I used a small cookie scoop) into the prepared tin. Fill each cup to the the top.

6- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan for 8 to 10 minutes before removing from the tin. (At this point I had to wash out my tin and regrease it for the second batch. If you've got more than one tin, lucky you!)


Natalie said...

ha funny---i can definitely relate, i have a very similar post today :)

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

I love your inspiration for these. I hope you get to hawaii one day soon! These sound delicous. My type of muffin indeed.

Debbie said...

Oh they look delicious. Love the tropical flavors. I would love to be somewhere tropical this time of year!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post for this chilly gray morning. I think I shall induge too! BTW, coconut is a staple at my house, so stop by anytime you need some. I'll put the kettle on and kick the allergy producing cats out.

Dee Light said...

Snow storm on the way...I need something tropical :)

grace said...

yep, sadly, muffins like these are the closest i'll be getting hawaii and hawaii-like weather for a good long while!