Banana & Nutella Swirl Muffins

These muffins are the perfect way to use up ‘dead’ bananas as they use 4 in one hit. They’re also my favourite kind of bake; one where you bung a whole heap of ingredients in a bowl, combine and then bake. From start to finish they take approximately 30 minutes and they fill your home with a heavenly aroma.

I’ve cut down the sugar significantly from the original recipe (which had ½ a cup of each type of sugar), as I found that the bananas and Nutella are sweet enough for me. Of course, feel free to add more sugar to taste.

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Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)
2 cups flour
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn baking powder
4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tspns vanilla extract
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
12 tspns Nutella

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Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 12-hole muffin tin liberally with cooking oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together banana, sugars, egg, oil and vanilla. Add in your dry ingredients and mix until it is lump free. Fold through walnuts if desired.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin and top each muffin with approximately 1 teaspoon of Nutella. Using a toothpick, swirl the Nutella into the batter.

Bake the muffins for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Adapted from The Novice Chef’s ‘Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins’

 

Easy Homemade Dog Biscuits

I really felt like baking today, but after having had my wisdom teeth surgically removed last Tuesday, I am still not up to eating much myself. Instead, I decided to bake some homemade dog treats for Bailey who has been an incredibly sweet and loyal companion while I’ve been housebound post-op.

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Bailey LOVES peanut butter so I knew that had to be the main flavour, and I wanted the treats to be as natural as possible and preferably have breath freshening properties (as she loves a good snog!) I found a recipe on Pinterest which I adapted to suit my needs, and these quick, crunchy biscuits were the result. I made a few large bone biscuits (pictured) as well as some little hearts and they have certainly passed Bailey’s taste test.

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Ingredients (makes ~32 biscuits, dependent on size)
1 ½ cups instant oats (or rolled oats)
½ cup peanut butter (as natural as possible, definitely NOT containing xylitol or artificial sweeteners as these are toxic to dogs)
1 overripe banana
A small handful each of mint & parsley

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“Stop taking photos of them, hooman, and give me a taste”

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 trays with baking paper.

Blitz the oats in a food processor until fine. Add the peanut butter, banana and herbs and blitz until combined.

Scoop out onto a lightly floured surface and cut “dough” into desired shapes (I used a large bone and little heart shaped cutters). Carefully place on the prepared baking paper, leaving a small space between each biscuit. Prick the large bone shaped biscuits with a fork.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Watch your canine companion enjoy!

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Adapted from ‘3-Ingredient Puppy Treat Recipe’ on CraftyMorning.com

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

This banana bread is super simple to make and is a perfect way to use up ‘dead’ bananas. It travels well so is great in kids’ lunch boxes, and will last for ~2 months in the freezer.

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Ingredients (serves 8-10)
125g butter, softened
¾  cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3 overripe bananas
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

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Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and line a 1-litre loaf pan.

Cream the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer until pale and thick. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and banana, followed by the flour and bicarb soda, beating until just combined. If desired, stir through the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan, smooth over the top and then bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the thickest part of the bread comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy! I love mine fresh for the first few days and then toasted with a bit of margarine.

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Adapted from Matt Preston’s “Rock Star Banana Bread” from his Cook Book.

Banoffee Pies

Inspired by the banoffee pie scene in Love Actually, I decided to have a go at making some. I was unsure whether I’d like them or not, but with their buttery pastry, dark caramel and fluffy whipped cream topping, even a banana-hater like myself thoroughly enjoyed them.

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Ingredients
395g sweetened condensed milk
3 small bananas
Juice of ½ lemon
300ml thickened cream
2 tablespoons grated chocolate

Pastry
1 ⅔ cups plain flour, sifted
110g butter, chilled
110g pure icing sugar
1 egg yolk

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Method
Remove and discard label from the condensed milk can, then using a can opener, make 2 small holes in the top. Place in a saucepan, open-side up. Fill pan with cold water to come almost to the top of the can (about 1cm to the top). Bring to the boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 3 hours until a caramel forms, topping up water to keep the same level. Carefully remove cans and cool.

For the pastry, place flour, butter and icing sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and 2 tblspns cold water and process until the mixture comes together in a smooth ball. Enclose in a plastic wrap and chill for 30mins.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line eight 10cm loose-bottomed tart pans. Chill for a further 15mins. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights. Blind-bake for 10mins, then remove paper and weights and return to the oven for 5mins or until crisp and golden. Allow to cool.

Open the condensed milk can, then spoon the caramel toffee into each pastry shell to almost fill. Thinly slice bananas, toss in the lemon juice, then place an overlapping layer over the toffee. Whip the cream and pile on top. Decorate with chocolate curls.

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Adapted from delicious. ‘Sweet’ cookbook.