Who feels like baking today? Me, Me! I do! Well, to be absolutely honest, I feel like baking most everyday, but I resist. Who needs to eat that volume of baked goods? Not I certainly. And since it's been a long time since I had a houseful of kids and their cohorts to eat said baked goods, it's best that I don't indulge in this activity anywhere near as often as I would like. However! Today I have a good excuse. There are three rapidly deteriorating bananas on my counter top which is the exact number of bananas required to make banana nut muffins ;) Funny how that worked out. Do you want to bake muffins with me? Sure you do. Sounds like fun!
As always, the first thing I do is gather all of my ingredients. We will need:
mashed ripe bananas
First up, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Isn't that an odd concept.."preheat", heat the oven before you heat it? It's like pre-boarding on a plane. Get on the plane before you get on the plane? And as whichever comedian it was who said it, "We don't get ON the plane, we get IN the plane". Communication people!
At any rate. Next up is mashing the 3 really ripe bananas. One of my favourite parts. It's like kneading bread. Get out all of my aggression and hostility. Personally I use an old potato masher that I picked up at a yard sale. But a fork, I'm sure, will do just fine. If you have a baby in the house, you will also know that if you have no other option, you could mash bananas up with your hands. Babies can mash bananas like nobody's business! They are the masters of banana mashing.
In a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon thoroughly mix together 1/2 cup of cooking oil and 1 cup of granulated sugar. I am not certain why, but a wooden spoon really does work best for mixing this. Do not use an electric mixer, the bananas aren't supposed to be pureed, just mashed.
Two eggs come next. Add them one at a time, fully incorporating one before adding the other. Just makes it all come together more smoothly. When I'm in a mad rush, I just throw them both in and people are lucky I got the shells off first. But honestly I can tell from the texture if I added them together or one at a time. Strange but true.
The batter is now a lovely bright yellow colour. It looks perfectly happy. So let's throw in the mashed bananas. Which initially looks rather disgusting, but after you stir madly, not so bad, I promise.
It's time now for 2 cups of flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 2 tsp of baking soda. I generally add the baking powder and baking soda to the flour first then sift it all together into the batter. That way there are no clumps of dry ingredients in the wet ingredients. Always kind of gross to bite into something sweet and get that dry mass of salty yuck. We will not be having that happen here today!
It's all looking a little dry and goopy at this point so to remedy that it's time for 3 tablespoons of milk and stir
Then a mere 1/2 tsp of vanilla and stir again. We are nearly done now! It's getting very exciting!
Once the milk and vanilla are fully stirred in it looks better. Yes! That's the texture I was looking for. Perfection! So it must be time to mess it up! That's right, time to add the nuts. I've used walnut or pecans but I suppose any unsalted nuts you have in the house would be fine. Make sure they are chopped up into similar sized bits. Not too finely though. A nice coarse but even chop is perfect. I like LOTS of nuts in this recipe (and I'm sure you are not surprised at all about that). I didn't measure but I'm going to say, probably a cup. Go ahead stir them in gently.
Make sure your muffin tins are greased. You can use shortening if you like, I often do, but it so happened that this time around I used that spray stuff. I am honestly not a huge fan of the spray stuff but I have a can of it and I didn't have much shortening. I would rather save the shortening for another baking adventure like maybe gingerbread or molasses cookies than use it up greasing a pan.
I use a ladle to scoop batter into the muffin tins. I just works well for me. The bowl of the ladle is the perfect amount for the giant muffins I like to be the end result. But you do whatever works for you. Lord knows that kitchenstores have a zillion different options to choose from.
Ready for baking. Every oven is different of course, so I would say, set your timer for 20 minutes and then check on the muffins. Add time as needed. I happen to know that my oven requires exactly 25 minutes. You know they are done with they are a lovely golden brown and if you delicately stick a thin knife into one muffin, it comes out clean. When they are ready they will look a little something like this:
Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing them to cool on the rack. Let them cool completely before storing. These happen to freeze exceptionally well in a zippy bag with all the air squeezed out. That's if there are any left to freeze. They tend to disappear like magic!
I wish you could smell this smell. Computers are amazing but as yet, I cannot transfer this fragrance to you and it's a shame. Because now here comes the best part of any baking adventure. Quality control. Hey it's a legitimate and essential step in any cooking or baking project. I nominate....me! for this task.
Oh yeah. That's yummy!
Hope you enjoyed baking with me today! Let me know if you think this "baking lesson" was a good idea. If so I will occasionally do it again. If not, I'll bake quietly by myself :) Either way, it's all good. Hugs all 'round.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.