Banana Nutella Muffins

Let me tell you a story about these muffins.  You see, I have been using this basic recipe for banana muffins for longer than I can remember, but I always try to think of ways to make the muffins even more interesting.  One morning, while slathering a generous amount of Nutella on toast, it occurred to me that I might as well swirl some of that yummy goodness into the banana muffins!  Banana, chocolate, and hazelnut all work well together, right?

I went to the grocery store that same day and picked up two green bananas.  I then waited for them to ripen on the kitchen counter.  Some say putting them in a paper bag with an apple speeds up the ripening process, but I’ve yet to try this method.  Anyway, I digress.  My excitement grew when I saw the brown spots on the bananas.  Few days later, the bananas were nearly brown throughout.  My expectations were sky-high before I even preheated the oven.  I unpeeled and mashed them up in a bowl, and proceeded to cracking an egg into the batter without much thought.  Then my nose caught the most awful, sulfurous stench of all: rotten eggs!  I’m sure you can guess what happened: my batter was spoiled by the egg.  To make matters worse, I bought exactly two bananas so I did not have any more overly ripe bananas to start a new batch.  Silly me!

Can you imagine the disappointment that crept up on me?  Totally unrelated to cooking, but after stuffing spoonfuls of Nutella into my mouth, sometimes the world doesn’t look as bad as before.

And a reminder to self and to you: never crack an egg directly into the batter.

It turns out patience brings sweet rewards.  This recipe involves just a few simple ingredients, but yields really moist and tender muffins with an intense banana flavor.  And, of course, the pleasant surprise of Nutella makes them spectacular (to be honest, I think Nutella makes everything spectacular).  I highly recommend storing the cooled muffins in an airtight container overnight before serving them; the flavors are even better the day after they’re baked.

Banana Nutella Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
Nutella

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla into the mashed bananas.  Whisk in egg.  In a separate bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the flour to the wet ingredients and mix until it is just incorporated.

Fill prepared muffin tins halfway with batter.  Add a teaspoon of Nutella on top of each muffin and swirl gently into the batter with a toothpick.  Fill with more batter, until three-quarter of the way.  Add another teaspoon of Nutella and swirl again.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins are lightly browned and toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Grab yourself a glass of cold milk or strong coffee and enjoy!

*Nutella should be stored in a cool, dry place for best flavors.  If you must refrigerate it, just take it out and let it come to room temperature.  A spreadable consistency makes it easier to work into the muffins.

*I didn’t put the amount of Nutella used because it really depends on your preferences.  I would suggest using between two teaspoon to one tablespoon of Nutella.  If you prefer even more Nutella, be sure to cut back on the sugar in the muffin batter.

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