Archive for May, 2013

Banana Muffin Breakthrough!

Banana Muffin Breakthrough!

First things first, I HATE baking.  Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate baked goods per say,  just any personal involvement in the act of baking.  Here is my beef with the whole thing: I can not stand how baking requires you to dirty multiple bowls, utensils, instruments & pans to generate an expensive and labour-intensive item that you feel guilty about eating anyway.  Sure they are tasty and pretty to look at, buy I would so much rather disgrace myself with an antipasto platter than a passion fruit pavlova (or apple pie depending where you are from).

However, faced with a surplus of seriously rotten bananas (and some fairly old milk) I was forced to devise a few sneaky techniques that may just help overcome my baking aversion.  It is early days yet but I am already leafing through some long-lost baking recipes that may – if able to be adapted – see the light of day in this household. (Particularly since if my kids don’t see them at home, they are highly unlikely to ever encounter such delicacies as Snickerdoodles or Boston Cream Pie in Scotland.)

rotten bananas

So, returning to the rotten bananas that required my attention.  I had a real dilemma as not only as I am averse to  wasting food, but I am also in possession of probably the best Banana Bread Recipe known to human-kind…known in our house as Laura Is Bananas Bread (Laura’s for short) after my sister who made this endlessly in our youth.

toolsl & tricks

Now, in my youth Banana Bread was always..bread, as in baked in a loaf pan.  It took a month of Sundays to cook and absolutely required the full treatment of greasing & flouring the tin (plus extending cooling on its side whilst still in pan ?) if you had any hope of averting disaster in the unmoulding process.  So, here are my tweaks & tricks: 1) remake as muffin for faster cooking time, easier clean up & portion control, 2)  do away with anything electrical for general bother and noise pollution, 3) only use ONE bowl & 4) optional use of hand-held sieve & ice cream scoop to speed things up ( but it can all be accomplished without these last two bits).

I need to take just a second to apologise for the dramatic decrease in photo quality for the images in this post.  A few nights ago I was out trying to photograph the annual Beltane Celebration in Edinburgh and dropped the lens to my snazzy camera.  It was cold, dark, hilly & crowded and I had to contend with a whole lot of this…

beltane

so you can see I was not just being careless with my things!  Fret not, a replacement part is in the post and future images will be more delectable I assure you.

Back to our streamlined baking.  As previously stated it is crucial to anyone feeling skittish toward baking that you only use ONE bowl for the project.  Get a big one and fling softened butter, sugar, bananas & vanilla together.  Smoosh, fold and mix until thoroughly combined.  If this takes more than 30 seconds or requires any real exertion the butter is just not soft enough, so you need to put the spoon down and go have a cup of coffee.

Wet mix combo


Now you just need to add two eggs and a half a cup of milk that is either sour & chunky because you are a bad housekeeper, or because you have added a wee glug of vinegar to curdle.  This is important to the overall flavour and texture so don’t skip this step!

Dry Ingredients

Now here is where  my serious lazy bones ingenuity kicks in, avoid using a second bowl by laying out a large piece of wax/greaseproof paper to save having to clean up either a bowl or your counter top.  Whack all the dry ingredients in the sieve together and shuggle until fine.  Pick up the whole piece of paper and happily dump it into the bowl with the wet ingredients.

cups & cleanup

Avoid even MORE prep and clean up by using paper baking cases in a muffin tin, and for the truly lazy use a self-cleaning ice cream scoop for speed and even portions.  Now you can see the bowl on the far right is all you have to clean up for the whole of the baking process! ( All three pieces can easily go into the dishwasher if you were so inclined.)  Additionally, if you are careful filling the muffin tins a simple wipe with a damp cloth post baking and they are cupboard ready friends.

Banana Muffin

And it has to be said, these really are absolutely delicious.  They are good on their own, topped, they freeze well and basically just rock.  In fact, at last count THREE separate people I have shared this recipe with,  turned around and started selling it as their own!  They however did not have to chance to benefit from this new aerodynamic strategy, so you will have one up on them:).  So the next time you have rotten bananas, curdled milk and very little time,  just remember something delicious could be right around the corner.

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend, Cinco de Mayo or Generic Sunday wherever you may call home!

Laura's Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (175 g ) Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g ) Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (apprx 3 medium) Bananas, mashed (Best Rotten)
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Milk (Best Soured)
  • 2 cups (500 g ) Flour All Purpose/Plain
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml) Salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Baking Soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C
  2. In a large bowl place butter, sugar, bananas, eggs & vanilla.
  3. Mash and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Curdle 1/2 cup of milk with a teaspoon of vinegar & add to wet mix.
  5. Place a large piece of wax/greaseproof paper on the counter top.
  6. In a large sieve place flour, salt & baking soda and sift onto wax/greaseproof paper.
  7. Mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture in bowl - mix thoroughly.
  8. Place paper cases into a baking tray and fill each no more than 3/4 of way to top.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown in top and a toothpick comes clean from muffins.
  10. Cool on a rack.
  11. Once cooled can be frozen and thawed for easy snacking.
http://albaliving.com/2013/05/banana-muffin-breakthrough/

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