Adapted from a recipe for banana cake in The Best Recipes: Costa Rica. Makes 18 muffins.
4-1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled
4 Tbsp margarine (I used Smart Balance)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose unbleached flour, divided
2 Tbsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half (not fat-free)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two muffin pans with baking spray, or line with paper muffin cups, and set aside.
In the work bowl of a KitchenAid type stand mixer, add the bananas (mash them a bit in your hands), margarine and sugar. Mix on low speed until well incorporated into an almost-smooth purée.
While the bananas are mixing, in a separate bowl sift together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
When the banana mixture is smooth, turn the mixer to medium. Add the egg, and beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, and alternately add the half-and-half and flour mixture, a bit at a time, until well incorporated and a bit fluffy, 1 minute. Turn the mixer off, and remove the work bowl.
In the bowl that held the flour, toss the nuts (and optional chocolate chips) with a tablespoon of flour, and fold into the cake batter. Use an ice cream scoop with a release (called a disher), or a soup spoon, to transfer the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
Bake at 350F for 25-27 minutes (the longer time is for the chocolate chip muffins). Remove from the oven, and set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, turn the muffins out onto the rack, and allow to cool.