You may have heard of the ‘duffin’, you may even have heard of a ‘cronut’… but have you ever had a ‘swuffin’? These Banana Swuffins are basically a mash-up of a cinnamon (or, in this case, banana cinnamon) swirl and a muffin. Perfect for a quick breakfast, or as a naughty ‘elevenses’ treat: you just have to try them!
My banana ‘swuffins’ take the classic cinnamon swirl and take it up a notch (or three!) They are also (marginally) more healthy as the filling is mashed banana, not cinnamon sugar and butter! Of course, you can fix that with a drizzle of caramel sauce like I did for the ones in the photograph. I mean, who doesn’t want a banoffee swirl?! The fact that they are also muffin-shapes which makes them both easy-to-handle and portable is an added bonus!
For many people, the idea of making cinnamon swirls is a daunting task because it means making an enriched bread dough. Enriched dough is so called due to the additions of ingredients such as egg, butter, milk and sugar. These ingredients enrich the dough to create a soft (often, sweeter) texture that is perfect for dessert breads. There is nothing to worry about when it comes to baking enriched doughs, though. All you have to remember is that they are stickier to start with and take longer to knead; they also take longer to prove. It is totally worth the effort though!
Bananas are the most widely enjoyed fruit in the UK. However, how we like to eat them is entirely subjective. For me, it has to be really ripe with brown spots all over. For my husband, it is the complete opposite: yellow with hints of green! This recipe is perfect for using up bananas that are too ripe as, the more ripe the bananas are, the better the flavour comes through!
If, like some of my friends, you are not a lover of bananas (especially ripe ones), why not try my recipe for a more classic cinnamon swirl? Or, if you prefer more savoury treats, give my vegetarian sausage swirls a try! You can also try my banoffee bread if your banana cravings just isn’t being satiated by these banana swuffins!
For the swuffins
- 450 g strong white bread flour
- 14 g instant yeast
- 75 g caster sugar
- 150 ml warm milk
- 60 g butter
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 4 bananas ripe
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the caramel sauce
- 150 ml double cream
- 40 g butter
- 50 g light brown sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
Show me the dough!
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and sugar; mixing thoroughly before making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
- In a saucepan, warm your milk and butter. You want the milk to be lukewarm and the butter to be melted.
- Pour the melted butter and warm milk into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix a little before adding the egg. This will prevents the egg from scrambling in the warm milk.
- Fully combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a sticky ball of dough.
- Now, knead the dough on a floured surface for 15-20 minutes (by hand) or 5-6 minutes on a medium speed in a stand mixer. We want a springy dough that has elasticity.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Prove for one hour.
Time to fill
- Once proved, knock back the dough and roll out into a square measuring approximately 30x30cm. Tack the edge furthest away from you to the work surface by pressing down along the edge and pushing away from you. (This is to edge of the dough to the work surface so that you can pull it a bit taut when you come to roll it up.)
- In a bowl, mash the bananas into a paste and mix in the cinnamon.
- Spread the banana-cinnamon paste over the whole of the dough, leaving a one-inch border along the edge you've tacked down to the work surface.
- Roll the dough up by folding the edge closest to you over onto itself. Pull gently then roll, so that you are pulling the dough taut as you continue to roll the dough up.
- When you reach the end that was tacked-down, use a bench scraper to release the dough from the work surface, and seal the edges.
- Cut the rolled dough into twelve equal pieces (cutting into half, then each half in half again, then each quarter in thirds to create twelve rolls.)
- Place the buns, swirl side up, into a greased muffin pan
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and prove the cinnamon rolls for a further 20 minutes.
- After the buns have proved, place in the oven for 35 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°C after 15 minutes. The buns should be a golden brown colour, but not burnt!
- After they’re baked, leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes.
Time for caramel
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, butter and sugar.
- Bring to a boil and whisk until the sauce turns a nice toffee colour and has thickened to ribbon stage. To test for ribbon stage, take a spoonful of sauce and pour in back into the pan in a figure of eight motion. If the sauce holds its shape long enough so that you can draw a figure of eight that does not immediately disappear, the sauce is ready.
- Leave the sauce to cool to room temperature. Do not be tempted to place it in the fridge, as it will set solid if you do. (Should the sauce set too hard, you can bring it back by heating it in a bowl over a pan of water, being careful not to let water get into the sauce.)
- Once cooled, drizzle your buns copiously (or serve in a pot on the side so everyone can add as much or as little as they like!) You could even top them with a slice of dried banana!