Monday, August 16, 2010

Mom's banana muffins

[golden domes of banana bliss]

August 16th!  That officially means we've entered the back nine of August, folks.  Where did this summer go?  It's been fantastic so far: getting my garden in order (update picture coming this week, I promise!), a little trip to Germany, California, and even a far far away land filled with princesses and cupcakes.  And I suppose that entering the back nine of my 20s was notable, too. Pish posh, it's all been grand fun :)  (When did I become Mary Poppins?)  I still have a number of things on a list that I wanted to do this summer, so it looks like I'll be a busy little bee this next month.

For all of the exciting things happening in the past few months, I've neglected my baking quite a bit (I'm not even going to explain why, because I am just as sick of typing the reason as I'm sure you are reading it).  Even sadder is the fact that it's been months since I've made my mom's famous banana muffins and I make them quite frequently throughout the rest of the year.  Just how famous, you ask?  They have been shipped all over the east coast and requested by friends coming from farther away well in advance of their visits.  The recipe has even been published in my church's cookbook.  You see, my mom created quite a following with these banana muffins.  She's made them pretty much my entire life, so my family and I grew accustomed to having them around every month for breakfast, snacks, and the obligatory warm just-out-of-the-oven treat (if she wasn't looking, of course).

It was a little surprising when I realized that I hadn't yet featured the recipe here since it's such a staple of my life.  And it's easy.  It's funny how when you make something your whole life but only when taking pictures and making notes do you see the big picture of a recipe.  This one's bragging point, aside from the delicious taste, is the fact that it uses one bowl.  That's it.  One!  The muffins are mildly sweet and light with a tiny bit of warmth from the cinnamon.  And, truth be told, they are even better the next day.  So moist and fresh.  (Kinda wishing I had kept some for myself... hmph.)

A few notes: The only change I made here to my mom's original recipe was that I added cinnamon for a little more warmth and depth to the flavor, but omitting cinnamon will still yield a great muffin.  I've also experimented with adding chopped walnuts and pecans (strangely preferred the pecans), shredded coconut (good texture, didn't add much flavor though), and most recently chocolate chips (deeeelicious for chocolate lovers).  Also, I halved the recipe this time and do quite a bit when I bake these because keeping bananas not for eating around my apartment is a lofty (and usually unattainable) goal, so having 3 ripe ones was simply a miracle.  Finally, I've substituted natural unsweetened applesauce in place of the vegetable oil and got equally delicious results.

Mom's Banana Muffins
(barely adapted from my dear mother's famous recipe)
-makes 38-40 standard size muffins

1 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6 super duper mega ripe bananas (see photo above, 5-7 will work depending on size)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line standard muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat oil and sugar together until mixed.  Add eggs and bananas and beat well, until no large pieces of banana remain and batter is relatively smooth.  Add dry ingredients, milk, and vanilla, and mix well until evenly incorporated.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in oven for 22-25 minutes, or until golden on top and a cake tested inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool pan on wire rack for10 minutes, carefully invert muffins out of pan, and cool completely right side up.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature... possibly with a little dot of butter :)  Store at room temperature in a covered container for up to 5 days.

(No cut and buttered pictures since these were a "welcome to Pittsburgh!" gift for friends.  Forgive me!)

Today is both National Rum and Bratwurst Day!  (Hofbrauhaus, anyone?)

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