A few days back a dear friend and avid blog reader asked me to make these hazelnut sticks for her. I happily obliged and then a little too happily ate more than my fair share. Oops.
Anyway, eating those delicious crunchy hazelnutty treats made me realize how much I love the unadulterated flavor of hazelnuts and I wanted to capture that flavor in something quicker: muffins. Now I really like muffins, even the bottoms which is usually what I wind up with since my husband and daughter are unabashed muffin top fiends.
I did some thinking and came up with this recipe, fully prepared for this to be round one of many, but lady luck was on my side and these muffins are sheer perfection. The soft flavor of the hazelnuts is beautifully complimented by that of the maple syrup. I know it seems like a lot of syrup, but as it bakes the flavor mellows. Also, as tempting as they are fresh from the oven you must let them cool completely before trying one. They are well worth the wait.
These muffins are a bad influence on me. The other day I was at a friends house storing some homemade ice cream I had brought over and I saw about half a dozen bananas in the freezer. I wanted them. So bad. Just so I could come home and make these muffins.
All I have left in my freezer is one shrivelled up little banana and there are no bananas in the house right now let alone over ripe ones. Don’t worry guys I resisted. Only because it’s a gluten free household and I couldn’t have offered her a few muffins in exchange for the bananas – yes, I did think of that.
I was about to wax lyrical about these muffins, but really – with a name like Nutella Swirl Banana Bread Muffins is a sales pitch really needed? You kinda get the picture right?
Yes, I said get the picture and then inserted a picture below that. I am so not corny.
Okay so here are my favorite parts about this muffin – the chocolatey swirl, the caramelly undertone of the browned butter (only 1/4 cup!), and that it has half a cup of brown sugar making it less sweet, but perfect for a breakfast that feels more indulgent than it is. Win win I say, win win.
A big ol’ thank you to Jess over at On Sugar Mountain for sharing these!
Now if only I had more bananas….
I heart cardamom – in tea, traditional desserts, or even on it’s own. It occurred to me the other day that I don’t actually bake anything in which cardamom is the main ingredient. I add some to my baked oatmeal, but there it is part of an ensemble and does not shine alone. When I saw Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins I decided to adapt it slightly to fit the bill. My cardamom loving self may increase the cardamom next time, but my taste testers liked it as is.