I’ve been meaning to write a bit about my surf camp experience at Surf Simply in Nosara, Costa Rica, and my daily craving for banana chocolate chip muffins seems like the perfect reason. Which I’ll get to.
So why surf camp? I’ve taken surf lessons before – on my trip to Hawaii in 2009, Cabo in 2010 and most recently, Puerto Rico this past January (which I may or may not have thrown up during the middle of the lesson…). Anyway, I definitely caught the surfing bug on these trips, but since I live in land-locked Dallas there aren’t a lot of opportunities for me to get better. And taking a surfing lesson once a year, here and there, wasn’t making a huge impact on my development.
So I started doing my research. I literally knew nothing about surf camps, so I decided to trust what the internet and TripAdvisor told me. And I kept returning to Surf Simply’s site, online videos/blog, and facebook page over and over again.
And then I booked it. All by myself.
My solo trip wasn’t completely intentional, but I didn’t really know of anyone else who was willing to take a week off of work, fly to the shack that is Liberia airport, and drive two hours on dirt roads to go to surf camp for a week. I was a little nervous, but once I arrived, I realized there was nothing to worry about. I was surrounded by friendly people, harmless stray dogs, great food, delicious beer and impeccable surroundings. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
A typical day looks like this:
6am Morning Surfing Lesson
10:30am Surfing Theory Lesson
12 pm Lunch (always something delicious homemade by beautiful chef Sarah)
2 pm Yoga
3pm MUFFIN TIME (this was not officially on the schedule, but VERY IMPORTANT)
4pm Evening Surf Lesson
6:30pm Dinner at local restaurant
This is me on my largest wave, but most of my days looked a bit more like this –
As you can imagine, I was exhausted at the end of every day and asleep by 9pm. I loved it. Getting nine hours of sleep is a luxury in and of itself.
But another one of my favorite luxuries of this trip was LuLu’s freshly baked banana chocolate chip muffins each afternoon. Surfing ignites a ravenous hunger like nothing else, one that can’t be satisfied by purely healthy eating, and these muffins were exactly what I needed to keep me going.
And ever since I left surf camp, I’ve been craving these muffins. So last night, I whipped up something that could satisfy my craving. They’re not exactly the same, as I believe LuLu’s have oatmeal in them, but I did my best to improvise. And the nutty, delicious taste of brown butter makes everything a little better.
Brown Butter, Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Joy the Baker’s Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread)
Makes about 11 muffins
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour muffin tin.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Whisk in the mashed bananas. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until muffins appear browned. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes.