I started baking for the very first time around the same time I began to blog. As I didn’t see myself using eggs in baking, bananas were the default substitute in my egg-less baking adventures and experiments. Since then, I must have baked banana based cakes and loaves god-knows-how-many times. I feel forever thankful to the humble banana for ushering me into the wonderland of baking.
Whenever bananas in the fruit bowl appear over ripe, it is the same two or three banana bread recipes that I have been repeatedly baking over the past few years. Then one day, while I was making Rasayana – a typical South Indian sweetened fruit salad made of bananas, freshly grated coconut and jaggery, there was a light bulb moment!
We were eating Rasayana and banana breads often. What if we mixed the two? What would the outcome be?
After three trials, I can say this is the best hybrid that could come out of the union of those two recipes. The best makeover ripe bananas could get – a fresh lease of life!
It is a tale of Rasayana walking into a bakery and coming out a muffin/cake out of the oven.
Moist and fluffy (for a whole wheat bake) with a hint of coconut and cardamom, accentuated by the mesmerizing aroma of saffron and slivered almonds in every bite, it is a real treat this Rasayana inspired muffin. Cardamom almost always paired with saffron in many South Indian sweet concoctions along with jaggery and ghee makes a heavenly combination. Don’t omit the salt. It is an essential leveler to even out the sweetness. All in all, the ingredients blend in perfect harmony.
Saffron, the queen of all spices and the most seductive and the most expensive of them all is also our any time favorite. She shines bright in this recipe giving an ordinary banana muffin an elite twist fit for the holidays.
Within minutes of making, half of them had vanished. Just like that. They are great for tea time, as an after school snack, in the lunch box or to fix a sweet craving. The small paper muffin cups make for the right portion size to indulge in. Not more, not less.
All of us have a recipe or two for banana bread. Who needs another banana yada yada, right?
Well, these Rasayana muffins might just make you think twice.
- 2 medium size over-ripe bananas (with lot of brown spots)
- 2-1/2 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered jaggery
- 4 tbsp slivered almonds (2 tbsp for garnish)
- 2 tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
- big pinch of saffron
- 6-7 pods cardamom finely powdered, about 1/2 tsp
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour chapathi atta
- 1/2 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 10 paper baking muffin cups (4 oz size)
Line paper muffin cups on a baking tray and keep aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Mash bananas to a puree using a hand blender (makes about 1 cup)
In a mixing bowl, beat ghee and powdered jaggery with a whisk until cream-colored, fluffy and light. Add banana puree to the beaten ghee mixture and sprinkle powdered cardamom
Powder saffron in a mortar and pestle. Sprinkle saffron powder to milk and stir well.
Whisk together banana puree, sweet cardamom ghee mixture and saffron milk
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients to mix well. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and gently whisk to combine. Fold in desiccated coconut and slivered almonds.
Scoop out batter into the paper muffin cups until 3/4th full leaving room for the muffins to rise. Garnish with slivered almonds pressing them gently to stay put.
Place the baking tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake at 350°F for 25 mins or until tooth pick comes out clean and the irresistible aroma fills the kitchen. Do not over bake.
Take muffins out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm at tea time or with a side of your favorite ice cream. It is great to eat on its own.
Keep all the ingredients ready on the kitchen counter and then preheat the oven. This saves time and electricity bill.
2% milk can be used in place of whole milk
Make sure to use good quality jaggery free of common impurities like sand. If you don't have paper muffin cups, 6 inch round pan can be used for the entire batter.