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Banana Honey-Walnut Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


¾ cup chopped walnuts
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup mashed bananas (you'll need 1 large very ripe banana)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup whole or low fat milk


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, then line with paper liners (it is necessary to do both so that muffin tops don't stick to pan).

2. In a small bowl, toss the nuts with the 1 tablespoon of honey and cinnamon until nuts are evenly coated (obviously, it will be very sticky).

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and salt. Use a whisk to blend well. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup of honey until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula if necessary. At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated between additions. Beat in the banana and vanilla until blended. (It will look grainy.) At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, alternating with the milk.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin (I like to use an ice cream scooper) and sprinkle with the nut topping. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

- To defrost frozen bananas, place in a bowl and leave out at room temperature or microwave for about a minute (the bowl is important because they "leak").

- You can also use 1 cup all purpose flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour.

- If you omit or halve the nuts, omit or halve the 1 tablespoon honey and cinnamon accordingly.

- Be sure to measure flour properly: spoon into dry measuring cup until it's overflowing, then use the straight edge of a knife to level off.

- Muffins are best served warm. Reheat quickly in microwave or toaster (remember to remove paper first!).