Friday, 10 October 2014

Italian Breakfast Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze

Well -  first off you might say, hang on a second...I'm sure banana bread can't be classed as Italian! Your sort of right there, however there is an  'Italian' element in this - the hint of espresso powder, and even though there seems quite a lot in there it actually doesn't overwhelm the flavours. It's more of a hint, and the subtle bitterness of the coffee really undercuts, most charmingly, the creamy sweetness of the banana's characteristics. 

Apparently, it's hugely popular in Italy right now, as are many recipes that spiral from the baking canon of North America and the UK.  It's also cleverly named a breakfast muffin because the Italian's are traditionally known to have a coffee at breakfast time, and then, often or not for some Italians it's common to have a quick breakfast snack during the middle of the morning. voilà (I know that's French but who cares?) that's where my breakfast banana muffins step in!! (WELL technically Nigella Lawson's muffins, as it's her recipe after all, but I've still added a glaze as always!) 

In Nigella's recipe she says to make it as a loaf, yet sometimes I just can't be bothered to cut a slice in the early hours of morning, so it's a lot handier if they're already portioned for you. Plus- they look a whole lot prettier, bonus! Or if your the sort of crazy person to eat your breakfast on the go...then this breakfast recipe is perfect for you! (Just remember to make the night before.) 

It's actually better if you can bear to let it stand for a day or two after baking, and it also makes life alot easier as you have a batch of muffins to last you the whole week (if your not TOO greedy that is!) plus they will still taste alright - unlike some other cakes. 

But, just because the title has 'Breakfast' in it, doesn't mean to say you can't have them at any other point in the's a lovely teatime treat! You don't even have to put the cinnamon glaze on it, you could just smear them in lovely nutella if you wish. Or how about some mascarpone dusted with cinnamon if we are feeling adventurous?! 

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):

150ml flavourless vegetable oil
3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch salt
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
175g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder

For the topping:
60g icing sugar
¼ ground cinnamon
½ teaspoons milk
35g chopped walnuts


Preheat your oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6 / 400°F. Line your muffin tray with cases.

Mash the bananas with the vanilla and salt and then beat in the oil. Now, beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the sugar. Mix in the flour with the bicarb and espresso powder, and beat these into the runny batter.

Pour the batter into muffin cases, I use an ice cream scoop for each muffin as a guide, and bake for 20 minutes until golden and cooked inside when a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. 

To make the glaze, mix the icing sugar with the cinnamon and milk, add more milk if it isn't a gloopy, pouring consistency for drizzling, or add some more icing sugar if it is too runny. Drizzle over the muffins whilst still slightly warm and then scatter over some chopped walnuts before the glaze sets. Enjoy! 

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