Thursday, May 1, 2008

Banana Muffins: Not Your Average Quick Bread

Okay, so maybe these banana muffins are your average quick bread. But they're still damn tasty! Someone gave my mother this recipe on a recipe card quite some time ago, and I've made the recipe many times. The muffins are moist, with a nice, tender crumb and just the right level of sweetness (perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack). What's more, the recipe is simple--I'm very careful and still managed to whip up a batch in about five minutes. If you like, you can add some cinnamon to the batter, but the muffins are fine without.

Now, quick breads always confuse me a bit because of the different sizes, baking times, and so on. After a few mishaps (but that story is for a future post), I have found that one 9x5x3 loaf pan equals 24 muffins or two 8x4x2 pans. As for baking times, you want to bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes and quick bread for 45 minutes to an hour, generally. Of course, it never hurts to check early, nor does it hurt to keep a few toothpicks on hand to test. Quick breads are done when the toothpick comes out almost clean, with maybe a few moist crumbs still clinging. Oh, and one more thing: quick-bread batters are generally a bit lumpy, and that's quite all right. In order not to be tough, they require gentle mixing, and the lumps will smooth out in the oven. I promise.

This recipe makes a small batch--only 12 muffins, or one 8x4x2 in. pan--but it scales well, so feel free to double for more banana bread, as long as you can spare the bananas. ;-)
Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.

245 grams (1 3/4 cups unsifted) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed

** Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. **

1. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
3. Stir in vegetable oil, eggs, and bananas.
4. Mix gently until batter is uniform but still lumpy. It will be thick.
5. Divide evenly among muffin cups (about three-quarters full).
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.
7. Let cool slightly or completely before enjoying.