Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kona Inn Banana Muffins

*This might not seem like much, but using lots of bananas and beating them into submission give these an especially moist and delicious flavor.  I made 3 batches in a week's time!  We love muffins at our house!

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I like using butter-flavored)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
5 very ripe medium bananas (thawed, frozen bananas also work well)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I probably used more--some finely chopped, some coarsely chopped)

Makes 12 muffins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the lower-middle level.  Smear the cups of a muffin pan with a little shortening, sprinkle with a little flour, and shake the pan to distribute the flour.  Turn the pan upside down over the wastebasket and shake out any excess flour.

2.  Peel the bananas, place them in a large bowl, and beat them well with an electric mixer.  The riper the bananas and the more you beat them, the more tender your muffins will be.  Don't expect absolute smoothness; there will always be a few lumps.  Set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the sugar, shortening, eggs, and walnuts tot he bananas and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients tot he banana mixture and stir just until the batter is thoroughly blended.

4.  Pour the batter into a large measuring cup with a spout and fill the muffin cups about 2/3s full.

5.  Bake for 15 minutes, then check the muffins for doneness.  A toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean.  If not, bake for 5 minutes more and check again.  When the toothpick comes out clean, remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Turn the muffins into a cake using the same recipe.  Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and divide the batter between them.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes.  Loose the edges with a knife and turn each out onto a platter.  To give the cakes a nice finish, place 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in a strainer and sift it over the cakes.  Serve with whipped cream.

Heath Bar Chocolate & Toffee Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour, divided + more for rolling
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 (1.4 oz each) Heath bars, crushed (I used Heath baking chips)

1/2 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
2 T melted butter
 pinch of salt
1 (1.4 oz) Heath bar, crushed

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, canola oil, and sugar.  Heat the mixture until just before it reaches the boiling point. Remove from the heat and let cool for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the mixture is lukewarm. If the mixture is too warm, it will kill the yeast.  Add the package of active dry yeast and stir.
Let the yeast rest for 10 minutes, then add 4 cups all-purpose flour. Stir well.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for at least an hour.
After the yeast rises, mix in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well.
If you are ready to make the cinnamon rolls, continue with the next steps. If not, cover the pot with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Working on a well-floured surface, shape the dough into a rectangle.  With a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough thin. Pour melted butter over the dough and spread with a brush or spoon.  Sprinkle cinnamon and Heath Bar bits over the butter.
Starting from the far edge, roll up the dough. Do it as tightly as you can without pushing all the butter out the sides. Cut the roll into pieces that are 3/4 – 1 inch wide.  Spray baking pans with cooking spray and place the rolls in the pans, leaving a small space between the rolls.  Cover and let the rolls rest for 20-30 minutes so that they rise a little.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the pans in the oven and bake the rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. Put powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add vanilla extract, milk, melted butter, and salt.  Stir until the glaze is smooth.  Stir in Heath Bar bits.  Drizzle the glaze over the rolls while they are still warm.  Serve.
Makes about 18 rolls.
*I have to say, the picture from the site I got this recipe looks better than mine...I think that maybe I added the glaze a little too soon, maybe a little less milk.  These were good and fun for a mix up, but I still think good ol' cinnamon and raisin are my favorite.