Happy belated 1 year blogiversary to me!! I say belated because this blog was officially a year old on October 12th, but I was off eloping, so I didn’t actually post anything on that day. Good excuse, I might add. My blogiversary and my wedding anniversary will always fall on the same day, and quite frankly I’m pretty happy about that. I even made these ridiculously delicious muffins to celebrate. Even if a tad late.
I can hardly believe it’s already been a year. Where the time goes, I have no idea. For years, I went back and forth on whether or not to create a blog because I didn’t know if I could do it. I placed all the popular bloggers on a pedestal and made having a blog seem impossible. Crazy talk, I tell you. After all, they were in my shoes once. What I finally learned is that everyone starts somewhere, and it doesn’t pay to compare my beginning to their middle. The bloggers I love are 5, 6, even 7 years in. There is no comparison at this point.
It’s safe to say I’m still learning—lots! I’m definitely still learning how to take those I-want-to-eat-that-right-now kinds of food pictures. I just don’t quite have it down to a science yet. I also only use my phone camera or my Nikon point and shoot, neither of which are fantastic. I’m hoping a Canon T5i drops from the sky into my lap. Oh, it doesn’t work that way?! Shucks. I’m also learning how to post more consistently. Sometimes I come home from work downright exhausted and just can’t fathom putting a post together (because I fall right asleep!). Something else I’m working to improve is letting my personality shine through more. Oftentimes I write a sentence and then delete it because I’m not sure what you’ll think. So, I’m really trying to work on owning it. Heck, my life motto is just be yourself. So, I better get to stepping.
So, why did I start a blog anyway, you might be wondering. Well, I started Love.Bake.Read because I wanted a little space to call my own. Something to do outside of work. Something to add a little more meaning to my life. I’ve always loved baking, so I wanted to use this space to explore my passion. I had every intention of making this blog a baking blog with a touch of life and a good book recommendation every now and then. What it’s become though, is a place where I can share so much more with you—my life, my love of cooking, a bit of travel, all about getting out ofdebt, and so on. This is me finding my way and shaping this space into what it’s meant to be.
When I started this blog, I had a $40 weekly grocery budget (total!), which made buying baking ingredients IMPOSSIBLE. We’ve since increased our budget some, so there is a bit of wiggle room, which is lovely. Maybe you noticed all these muffin pictures? I’ll talk about those beauties in a moment. Hang tight, please! Anyway, you will start to see more baking recipes around here. These muffins are just the beginning! Now to figure out how not to eat all the goodies myself…
Speaking of, let’s talk about these muffins for a minute. This is maybe my second time ever making muffins, and they are the real deal. My word, they are soft and luscious and downright hard to stop eating, which is why I froze most of these muffins to enjoy later. I wanted to share, but…they are just too good. I’m not usually a fan of nuts in baked goods, but I thought why not? Toss a few in. And so I also tossed in a few mini chocolate chips, because why not, right? I mean, biting into this muffin was explosive. SO much banana flavor, a bit of crunch from the walnuts, and lots of little melty chocolate spots. Have you tasted anything better? Oh, and the topping! It’s a layer of caramelized goodness. Whatever you do, don’t skip it.
Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to mention that I made these muffins using my BRAND NEW KitchenAid Stand Mixer. I named her Silver Belle. You like? A big thank you my mom and pa (read: dad). I have wanted a KitchenAid for like 10 years, or some crazy long time. Finally, FINALLY, my dreams have come true. Now if only that camera could really fall from the sky. I should note here that you can totally make these muffins with just a few bowls and a whisk. I just really wanted to use my KitchenAid.
Let me wrap all this up by saying thank you for reading and following me along on this journey. So much appreciated!
Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yields 11 muffins
For the muffins
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 very ripe bananas—mashed
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter—melted
- 1/2 cup walnuts—chopped
- 1/4 mini chocolate chips
For the topping
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter—softened
For the muffins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
To a small bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk a few times to combine.
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flex edge beater attachment (or regular flat beater), add the mashed bananas, white sugar, pumpkin pie spice, egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter. Mix on speed 2 for about a minute, or until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix on the same speed until the mixture is just incorporated. Add the walnuts and mini chocolate chips and mix one more time until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup about ¾ full.
For the topping
To a small bowl, add the brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice. Gently mix with your fingers or a fork until combined. Add the butter and incorporate it into the sugar mixture using your fingers, until it resembles wet sand.
Spoon a bit of mixture onto each muffin and use your fingers to gently spread it around.
Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a bit before transferring the muffins to a serving platter. Before you lift out the muffins, gently run an off-set spatula (or something flat) around the edge of the topping to ensure it’s not sticking.
Do me a favor? Enjoy one while it’s still warm from the oven.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature, or feel free to freeze them.
Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats