You've probably noticed by now that one of my very favorite ingredients to bake with is Nutella – you can see it in these cookies, this cake, and in this one, too. Nutella, like bacon or cheese, is simply one of those magical ingredients that makes everything better, whether it be a slice of bread, a strawberry, or a cookie -- the delicious factor of any food is usually upped by 1000 when paired with Nutella. I admit that I've come to prefer it to it’s American cousin, peanut butter (nothing against peanut butter of course!)
Lucky for me, Italy is the home of Nutella, and it is available in many different forms -- a Nutella filled cornetto for breakfast, Nutella pizza at the pizza by the slice place, Nutella gelato...(thankfully I have an annual gym membership to counteract all of this). I've found one of the best ways to eat Nutella is via the Nutella and banana crepes I often get for dessert at Andirivieni, one of my favorite places to go in our neighborhood. Since making crepes can be a bit time consuming, not to mention tricky (they’re thinner and thus not quite as easy to flip as pancakes) I decided to take the main flavors of the crepes that I like so much and put them in to a muffin form. Muffins after all only take a few minutes to mix up and bake, are portable, and are a more acceptable breakfast than a crepe might be (at least that’s what I tell myself). These muffins came out amazingly – they are perfectly moist and packed with banana flavor, swirled with a healthy dose of nutella that ends up mostly in the center of the muffin. These would be great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, because let's be honest, they fall more in the dessert category. If you're (gasp) not a fan of Nutella, feel free to leave it out and use chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, or a combination of those instead. Enjoy!
BANANA NUTELLA MUFFINS
2 extremely ripe bananas
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the melted butter. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla, and combine with the mashed banana mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until everything is just combined (don’t overmix!)
Distribute the batter in to the muffin cup. Using a spoon, place a dollop of Nutella over each muffin and use a knife to swirl it in. You can use as much Nutella as you would like, but try not to add too much (otherwise the Nutella sinks to the bottom of the muffin and sticks to the pan). Bake the muffins for 12 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit before removing them from the muffin tin. Makes 8-10 muffins.