Drunken Banana Bread Muffins

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said, “No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah.”

-       Mitch Hedberg

In college, my best friend Alex had a thing for bananas. He loved banana ice cream in a way that I thought was somewhat unholy. I mean really? Fake bananas? Nothing screams bubblegum gone bad like fake banana flavoring. But the local ice cream spot in the town where we went to college did a banging banana Freez (kind of like a McFlurry but about elebinty billion times better). I’m not saying that he changed my opinion of bananas right then and there, that would be ridiculous. But it made me realize that things made with real bananas (like that Freez) were actually pretty damn good. Not only that, but after studying abroad in India for a semester my junior year, I realized that proper fresh bananas, are actually fruity. I know, right? Who knew? Those sad bananas that ripen uncommonly fast in our grocery stores are a shadow of a real, fresh banana. But whatever, if you bake those suckers they still taste amazing. Everything is better when it’s baked. OR when you add sprinkles. I’m just sayin’.

So I’ve started eating more bananas lately, because I hear they’re good for you in their raw form. But with the heat wave that was sweeping New York last month, I’d buy a few bananas, and come back a hot second later to find that they are no longer bananas but a steaming pile of brown spotted giant’s fingers with fruit flies buzzing around. I found myself with a freezer full of frozen bananas. So I made a slew of banana desserts.

Ok that’s a lie. I made a slew of different flavored banana breads. You know what I found out while whittling through my 50 pounds of frozen bananas? I freaking love banana bread. This one recipe is probably my favorite. It includes an ungodly amount of mashed bananas, and banana bread beer. shut the front door, banana bread BEER? Hell yeah banana bread flavored beer. I saw it at the grocery store, paced in front of it a few times, picked it up and admired the bottle, and said “Fuggit, I’m getting this.” But I sure as shit wasn’t going to drink it, that’s not my style. So I mashed together a whole bunch of different recipes (one from here and a few I already had in my arsenal) and set about making DRUNKEN BANANA BREAD! What emerged was quite possibly one of the most moist banana breads I have ever tasted, with just a bit more depth to it. I’m guessing that was the beer. Anyway, here is my original drunken banana bread recipe. If you’re nice, maybe I’ll show you another updated version of it later. Heh.

Drunken Banana Bread

1 cup banana bread beer

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 ½ cups flour

1 cup brown sugar (I used light, dark would give it a more caramel flavor)

1 ½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3 mashed bananas

Simmer the beer and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Let cool to room temperature.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) mix the brown sugar and bananas together until just combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

With the mixer on the lowest setting add your flour in three additions alternating with the beer mixture and ending with flour. Mix until there are no streaks of flour left, but do not over beat.

Pour into lined muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes. The top will still be a little pale, but a cake tester inserted into the middle should come out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a rack.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

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