Friday, February 24, 2012
One Good Dark Banana
It's been a long time since I've made muffins, which is sort of surprising since I used to have a muffing business when we lived in Berkeley. They are a super easy quick bread and if you only fill the muffin tin cups half way, they are not so huge that you need a wheelbarrow to carry them to the table.
Since Sweetie likes his bananas on the green side and I like mine when they are at least freckled if not brown sometimes I have to set one aside to let it ripen.
Monday I finally had one that was a good dark brown and smelled delightfully of true banana fragrance. That is the perfect kind of banana to put into a banana muffin. I used the tried and true recipe from Joy of Cooking subbing out some of the flour for whole wheat flour and with some additional vanilla added, and whipped the batch up in record time, then put them in a hot oven to bake while I made coffee and dished out the cut up melon Sweetie had mixed together and chilled the night before.
I think the aroma of muffins if one of their stellar qualities. Right before they are done they give off such a delicious fragrance and this time the banana outmatched the butter aroma. We didn't even need to butter these because they are a delight just as they come out of the oven, all golden and crusty and moist inside.
As you might imagine, this recipe can be endlessly varied. The banana can be replaced by applesauce...with some cinnamon and all spice added to the dry ingredients, or you can include diced dried apricots or prunes or some dried cranberries. If you add chopped nuts these are a luxurious item... a 1/2 cup of your favorite nut is all you need.
We have been at work on the trenching to bury the conduit with the electronic fence wire that is needed before we get a dog. After digging and burying about 22 feet by hand on Valentine's Day, this week we opted to finish out the remaining few hundred feet with a powered trencher which had tracks instead of regular wheels. It only took about 45 minutes to do the whole two lengths needed and by hand it would have taken us days. Yay for mechanization! We still have about half of the conduit to lay but it should be done by the end of the weekend. Then we need to replace the dog door and begin the process of looking for our rescue dog. I hope we find one that barks at deer. They are already starting to munch on my rose bushes! I know that deer look so lovely and graceful, but half of my rose bushes are gone and I'd like to save the few that are left.
I've also been enjoying the beginning of the daffodil season...first bloom of full sized ones was today.
The squash and tomato seedlings are sprouting in the sunspace and I have new seeds to germinate which I just bought today.
Starting to feel a little like spring with all the joy and hopefullness that comes with the season.
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
1 large banana, very ripe if possible
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin, knocking out any loose flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside
In another large bowl whisk the eggs briefly, just until the whites combine with the yolks. Whisk in the butter and the milk.
Mash the banana in a small bowl, then add it to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon with quick strokes as briefly as possible, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. If using chopped nuts, fold them in along with the wet ingredients.
Scoop the batter quickly into the prepared muffin tin(s), filling 1/2 full. Batter should be evenly distributed among the 12 cups. If necessary take a bit of batter from the fuller ones and put into the less full cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown. When baked you can push down on the center of a muffin, release the pressure, and the muffin will spring back up.
Cool in the pan 2 minutes, then turn out on a clean surface. Serve at once because they are best when warm. If any are left over, you can put them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.