Eric and I just returned from a quick weekend trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you probably already know that Jackson is one of my favorite places in the world. If you’re new to this blog, well, I write about Jackson a lot (see here, here and here.)
We try to head up to Jackson Hole at least a few times each year. During the winter, Eric skies the expert slopes while I either tumble my way down the mountain or make less of a fool out of myself on the cross-country trail. During the summer, we hike almost every day. Hiking’s my thing, but I’m not the most fun companion unless you are already familiar with my hiking idiosyncrasies: I like to go fast and only allow for short resting breaks on the trail (unless of course we happen to see a moose or a bear or something really Instagram-worthy.) If you like to meander and identify wild flowers along the way…….then I’ll see you back at the bottom.
During both winter and summer, we eat. It surprises many visitors to find that Jackson Hole has a great food scene, offering everything from traditional western steakhouses to organic vegan cuisine, and the best huckleberry ice cream this side of Jellystone Park (does this Yogi Bear reference make me sound old?). AND, since you pretty much have no choice but to be active all day long, you can indulge without gaining an ounce. You see? The perfect vacation!
When we head out of town for a short trip, we are lucky enough to have a good friend, Jen, who watches our dogs so that they don’t have to attend “doggie camp” (a.k.a. the kennel.) As perfect as I like to think our puppies are……. Forget it. They’re far from perfect. Cute? Sure. Obedient? Not a chance. Eric and I completely failed in the dog training department. When I texted Jen to see if the dogs were behaving well, her response said it all:
“Well, there aren’t that many rules for them to break, so they are doing fine!”
I am grateful to anyone who is willing to take care of our pups multiple times, so I always make sure to bake lots of treats for Jen to enjoy while she stays at our house. This time, I made her some super-moist-and-super-easy banana muffins with a tropically inspired twist, incorporating sweetened shredded coconut, macadamia nuts and some cinnamon/cardamom spice. The batch makes a generous 24 muffins, but I always bag the extras for Jen to bring home–they’ll freeze beautifully for at least two weeks.
For our next trip to Jackson, we are bringing the dogs. That should be a verrrrry interesting 9 hours in the car.
These moist banana muffins have a tropical twist with the addition of toasty sweet coconut, lightly salted macadamia nuts and a bit of cardamom spice. Serve them warm with a bit of sweet butter and honey, or enjoy them at room temperature just as they are!
- 3 cups (750 mL) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) whole milk
- 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (see note, below)
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped lightly salted macadamia nuts
- 1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced bananas
- Additional chopped macadamia nuts and large flake coconut for topping (optional, see note below)
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C degrees, placing racks in upper and lower thirds positions. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until well blended.
- Add butter to flour mixture and beat on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk, mashed bananas and vanilla.
- On low speed, mix in shredded coconut, macadamia nuts and sliced bananas until just combined.
- Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with additional chopped nuts and large flake coconut, pressing lightly to adhere.
- Bake muffins until tops are golden and puffed, and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean, 22-25 minutes.
- Let muffins cool in tins for 5-10 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool or serve warm.
If you can't find large flake coconut, also known as coconut chips, use additional shredded sweetened coconut for the muffin tops. My favorite way to mash bananas is in the work bowl of a food processor -- just puree them until smooth. Two medium bananas should yield about 1 cup/250 mL banana puree. These muffins freeze well! Store them in zip-top plastic bags for up to two weeks and thaw at room temperature.