Clinton St. Baking Company cookbook, 224pp.
by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2010
Cooking on pages 32–33
The title of this cookbook made me assume the contents are devoted to baked goods only. Oh boy, was I wrong.
Turns out the Clinton St. Baking Company is New York City’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant. It’s the place to go for breakfast, brunch and lunch, and people wait for hours just to get in.
Husband and wife team, DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg, opened the restaurant 15 years ago, and since then have gained a great following from across the city and the country.
Take a look at the back cover of the cookbook and read quotes from top news, cooking and travel publications from all over the USA. Most of them start out saying, ‘the best [fill in the blank] in New York City’.
Next summer, I’ll have to come back and make page 132’s recipe for fried green tomatoes, but today it’s their famous muffins.
Banana chocolate chunk muffins
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (52–62% cacao)
2 perfectly ripe to overripe medium-sized bananas, cut into 1-inch chunks
10 tablespoons crumb mix (recipe below)
Crumb mix (half of the original recipe)
Mix together 1/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, until the mixture is pea-sized.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease muffin tins or use paper muffin cups.
In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, with the paddle attachment cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla.
Sift the remaining dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Add the egg to the butter mixture and blend until combined.
Add 1/4 cup of the sour cream to the butter mixture, then half of the dry ingredients, mixing and repeating with the remaining sour cream and then the dry ingredients until the batter is combined. Be sure to end with the dry ingredients.
Fold in the chocolate chunks and bananas until evenly mixed.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, leaving room on the top for the crumb mix. Top each muffin with 1 tablespoon of the crumb mix. Bake for 25 to 33 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool for at least 10 minutes for best release of the muffins from their tins (if not using paper liners).
How it played out
Yet another recipe made mostly as written. My bananas were huge, so I chopped them smaller than 1-inch cubes, and left out half a banana.
The butter was the challenge. It’s winter in Australia and it’s a nuisance to soften butter on chilly days. Rather than put it in the microwave, I poured boiled water into a small metal bowl, drained the bowl and then set the bowl upside down over the butter. I did this twice and it softened the butter enough for it to be manageable.
I used a pastry cutter to bring together the ingredients for the crumb mixture. By the way, I left the butter cold for this step.
My muffin tins are old, so I used paper liners rather than grease them. Made it a lot easier to remove each muffin. Oh, and I managed to get 12 muffins, rather than 10.
I have to admit that I only tasted the dough, which was sensational. Daughter Petra and her work colleagues have had a rough week, so I made these as comfort food for them.
They were a big hit and one fellow, who had been out of the office, returned for his share. His comment, ‘Wow, these muffins are amazing’.
Go on, try them. You know you want to! Then let me know what you think!
P.S. I made a second batch this morning and managed to forget to add the second banana. It’s looking at me accusingly from the kitchen bench, so I guess I have to make banana bread now. Off to see if I can find a suitable recipe on a page 32.
By the way, Poor John and I each enjoyed one of these delicious muffins, before sending off the rest of the batch to Petra and her work colleagues.
If you like baked goods, check out our visit to a bakery at the end of the earth.