Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Monday, July 20, 2020

Banana Muffins

Here we are, week (too many to count) of the pandemic, and I think we are all still doing a lot of cooking. We are doing most of our grocery shopping online. It's not perfect, but there is a convenience factor that might keep me from going to grocery stores for mundane stuff even when we don't have to mask up, sterilize our carts, disinfect our hands, and get mad at people who can't seem to properly where a mask. 

But one of the down sides of online shopping, just once a week is that you sometimes end up with overripe bananas.. especially if you are also buying groceries for someone that only wants green bananas (but that's another story).   Putting bananas in the fridge before they are overripe will slow down the process, the skins get ugly but inside they are still good.   Once they are overripe, you can make smoothies or chocolate milk (and you can peel and freeze chunks to keep even longer and get a more frozen result), or banana bread, but most of the ripe bananas at our house end up in banana muffins on Sunday mornings. I make muffins before coffee, so I'm pretty much making them in my sleep.  Fortunately muffins aren't too fussy, and while I do measure, I'm pretty cavalier about adding an extra banana if they are small, or a bit more liquid if I only have a two bananas, or a bit more flour if the batter seems thin.  I used to make the muffins in my Cuisinart, this eliminates the need to mash the bananas, but then you have to clean the Cuisinart.  I have started using my potato ricer, as this does an excellent job of mashing and goes into the dishwasher.  A bit messier is to just squish the bananas in you hand (a half or third at a time), but no dishes to wash! If the bananas are good and ripe, you can also just use a hand mixer instead of a whisk on the wet ingredients... slices of bananas will get mashed by the mixer.

One other detail: Many muffin recipes call for vegetable oil (as I'm sure this one did from where I sourced it from). This works fine, but I like the taste of butter in my muffins. So the order you put the wet ingredients together is important. I usually melt the butter first (even before I get the remaining ingredients out) so it has a chance to cool down. Then it should go in after whisking the eggs and sugar (which you do to help give some volume) but before adding the bananas and milk. The butter will disperse in the egg and sugar mixture, and not clump up when adding the the cold ingredients.

Oat bran has been a bit more difficult to find in the store, I think because its out of fashion more than a pandemic issue.  You can just use more flour, or substitute some oatmeal.  The texture changes but they are still good.  You can also do these with all whole wheat, all AP (white) flour, or what ever mixture you like (or have on hand).  They will get more fluffy with all white flour.  White whole wheat flour also works well. 

Notice... no paper liners. Not needed and who wants to peel them off?

Banana Bran Muffins

10 to 12 muffins

3/4 cup flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour 
½ cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
2 eggs
½ cup un-packed brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter or vegetable oil
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup yogurt, milk, or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds, plus more for topping
Raw (coarse) sugar

OVEN: Preheat to 400F or 380F convection bake. Grease 12 muffin cups.

Whisk together flours, bran, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. 

Whisk eggs and sugar in a large bowl, then whisk in melted butter (or oil) and extract.  Add mashed bananas, yogurt, extract and mix well.  Bananas can be mashed in a separate bowl with a potato masher, with a potato ricer, or just squish them through your fingers into the bowl. 

Scoop batter into muffin cups.  If desired, place a nut halve on each muffin, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Fill any empty cups with 1/2" of water.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (18 minutes convection), or until brown and springy to the touch in the center.  Turn out onto a rack to cool.