Blackberry Banana Muffins / by Chelsea Zwieg

Not at all surprising, but I am a BIG fan of pretty much any cooking show. Top Chef, Next Food Network Star...I get super into it. But what I can never quite believe is how the chefs get a challenge thrown at them to create a super specific or complicated dish, Padma yells go and they are all sprinting to get their ingredients and are chopping like crazy before I can even lift my remote to up the volume and hear what she said, much less formulate a recipe and strategy in my mind. I suspect some level of crazy editing and pre-challenge briefing/preparation goes on but even so, I am always so impressed. That being said, these shows continually cement in my mind what a hot mess I would be in the same situation. I constantly have about 100 recipe ideas flying around in my brain at all hours of the day but when it comes time to experiment and actually make the picture in my head turn into something real and edible, I need a few times to really mess it up first.

Like really mess it up. 

I've been wanting to make a blackberry muffin for a while (because muffins are the most underrated, under appreciated baked good in my humble opinion) and I had visions of warm, fluffy muffins with gorgeous swirls of berries running through them, the perfect picture of spring to bring a little hope to this whole February situation. 

In reality, the whole wheat flour made them taste more tree trunk like than muffin like and my berry 'swirls' turned the whole batter purple, which looked pretty before I baked them and then turned into this dull grayish/purple much closer to the giant bruise hanging out on my knee than the colorful, fruity muffins I imagined. 

But that's why I do my experiments in my kitchen in my pajamas, not on national television. Once the offending muffins were safely disposed of I was able to get this recipe exactly where I wanted it. I dialed back the whole wheat flour so that it's there just enough to lend a little heartiness, I added a few bananas to get my favorite seemingly-under-baked but really just super moist texture and I figured out the trick to losing the bruise effect. If you pour the batter into the muffin cups first, then add the berries to each, they don't have a chance to wreak havoc by bleeding all over. After you add them the to individual cups, just use a knife or a toothpick to give each one a little swirl. This will mix the berries in without overdoing it. And voilàberry swirls. 

You see? I get there eventually. I'm just glad I can do it without a panel of judges and all of America watching me throw the world's ugliest muffins in the trash. 


Blackberry Banana Muffins 

Makes 12 muffins

| Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • t tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 large, very ripe bananas (your solution to unripe banana can be found here
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

| Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir to combine. 

In a medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add melted butter, egg and milk and whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. 

Portion batter into prepared muffin pans. Divide blackberries between muffins and use a knife to swirl them into the batter. If you are using frozen blackberries, you may need to strain out a little bit of that excess juice. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.