My happy place...or at least one of them!

I love flavours that make me happy. Whether they provoke a certain memory of childhood or even last week or if they are just things that taste so yummy I want to eat them all the time! I came home from a busy weekend away and wanted to whip something up, you know homemade. Do you ever get like that? I just wanted something comforting but fun and also fast. Or at least somewhat fast, I would still need to take the time to make whatever it was not to mention the fact that I had to have everything at home to make it. I hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet, so I was counting on whatever leftovers I had around the kitchen and hopefully something lurking in my freezer.
At first glance I noticed some ripe, okay very ripe bananas. My first instinct there is always muffins or banana bread. Always two big hits around here. Perfect, but I still wanted to hit all my senses and well, cravings too. Something fruity and at this moment some chocolate would have made my day. Looking through the cupboards I discovered some mini chocolate chips and oh look in the freezer, the last few strawberries from last summer’s crop. Bingo I now knew what I was going to do! Banana split! Oh but wait no ice cream. I know how it can be that all this other stuff is around and no ice cream is to be had. Well the grocery list was going to get started because my son would not have liked knowing there was no ice cream around.
Okay so back to my original idea-muffins but now with a new twist-banana split. Oh yes this will be perfect.

Do you remember your first banana split? I do. I was about 8 and at Dairy Queen in Sault Ste. Marie where I grew up. My dad loves banana splits and so it was perfect and fitting for me to share his and experience all those tasty cold flavours of ice cream, fruit and sauces not to mention the sky high pile of whipped cream to finish it off. Ah, how could you not love it! Well I did love most of it. The strawberry and chocolate portion with the ice cream and banana was delicious but what was that pineapple sauce? Not my favourite-at first. It was later on that I realized it was a good fit to have that bit of tang between the rich chocolate and sweet juicy strawberries. Do they still make them that way? I think caramel sauce or dulce de leche would hit the spot don’t you think? This may be a perfect reason to check out the ice cream shops in Guelph and see what’s being served up. Do you really need an excuse?
I think a diner classic can also be made at home just the way you like it. Although in my case I had to modify it just a wee bit. You see I’m laughing now because I’m salivating at the thought of not only enjoying my warm Banana Split muffins but also to go on an adventure this week to taste a bunch of banana splits. I wonder if my kids will share the experience with me or if I’ll be the one who just doesn’t feel like sharing that night.

Banana Split Muffins

I checked my refrigerator and discovered I had some whipped cream and thought it would be fun to add to serve the muffin along with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. A maraschino cherry would be fitting for the top or some colourful sprinkles. With local strawberries this muffin will be colourful and sweet.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened
¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 ¾ cups (425 mL) all purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup (250 mL) diced frozen or fresh strawberries
¼ cup (50 mL) mini chocolate chips
Icing sugar (optional)
Whipped cream and chocolate sauce (optional)

In a large bowl, using electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and banana. Beat in vanilla.

In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into butter mixture until combined. Gently fold in strawberries and chocolate chips until well distributed.

Scoop batter among 8 greased muffin tins. Fill remaining muffin tins halfway with water. Bake in 375 F (190 C) oven in centre rack for about 25 minutes or until light golden and cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool.

Dust with icing sugar or top with whipped cream if desired. Drizzle plate with chocolate sauce to serve.

Makes 8 large muffins.

Tips: If you want a hit of pineapple flavour in your muffin reduce the strawberries to ½ cup (125 mL) diced and use ½ cup (125 mL) diced fresh or canned pineapple.

These muffins are tasty warm, so after you make them and they’ve cooled be sure to pop it in the oven and warm it slightly before serving.

To freeze muffins, wrap completely cooled muffins individually and place in resealable plastic bag or airtight container in freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Filling the remaining muffin cups with water helps the life of your pans and doesn’t dry them out in the oven and adds moisture while the muffins are baking.

These cakey muffins can be served up as a snack idea or enjoyed as a simple dessert during the week, even with ice cream if you have it!

Be sure to chop the frozen strawberries as is and stir them in, no need to thaw.


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