For this week’s muffin, Anuradha gave us the task of banana muffins. She didn’t give us a base recipe this week like she usually does because pretty much every blogger out there has at least one banana recipe on their virtual space. I’m no exception. How do I make mine stand out from the crowd of banana muffins? At first, I was going to stretch the envelope a little bit and use ripe plantain. It’s all in the same family, right? However, when I went to the supermarket, the plantain was not ripe enough yet for me to be able to utilize it in a sweet option.
Then I remembered I had some leftover ube from my trip a few days ago to Chinatown. Ube is a purple fleshed sweet potato commonly utilized for desserts in the Phillipines. To continue the Filipino influenced theme, I used pandan extract. Pandan is used in Southeast Asia in the same way we use vanilla extract. It is the basic flavoring for any sweet dish. The flavor is extracted from the leaves of the screwpine tree. It really has an amazingly unique delicious taste that is difficult to describe, if you’ve never tasted it before.
I am lucky that I have a great Asian market in NYC’s Chinatown where I can get the fresh ube. If you live in New York, place a visit to New York Mart, where you will be able to find ube as well as many other Asian vegetables like fresh bamboo shoot and lotus root. From what I read in the blogosphere, in most other American cities, even in Asian markets, you will only be able to purchase it frozen.
|Ube/Purple Yam/Purple Sweet Potato|
If you don’t have a good Asian market near you where you have access to these unique Southeast Asian products and and are adventurous like me in trying different cuisines, you can purchase it online here:
Frozen Purple Yam (Ube) and on the same site, here is the link to Pandan Extract
This varietal sweet potato is loaded with anti oxidant power! These muffins have all of the health benefits of sweet potato, but I decided to make them with quinoa, to make sure you get all of your essential amino acids in there also. With all these good for you ingredients, this is a muffin you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pandan extract (substitute vanilla extract)
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup ube, boiled and mashed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, mash the banana with the ube and the pandan extract.
In a small bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add banana and ube and mix well.
Add quinoa and mix well. Add the dry ingredient in two batches, mixing well after each addition.
Add buttermilk and mix until thoroughly combined.
Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Let cool completely before decorating.
I don’t usually use frosting or icing on muffins, but I really wanted to show you the gorgeous natural food coloring that the ube is.
Ube Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube, boiled and mashed
1/2 teaspoon pandan extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add ube and pandean extract and mix well, until nice and creamy.
Add powdered sugar and mix well, until thoroughly combined.
Now that’s natural food coloring! (I am not sure if the photo does it justice, but it’s a beautiful lilac color)
Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto muffin. I am hardly a decorator, but your kids will never know eating these rich looking frosted muffins that they are filled with healthy stuff like sweet potato and quinoa!
These Vegetarian friendly (eggless) muffins came out so soft and moist, bursting with pandan flavor!