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Fridge Magnets

#Mitsu looks so thoughtful this morning. She must be missing her auntie.
Hands up if these were your childhood treats too! Icing sugar #biscuits! #repix
... #oops #clubhand

Banana Muffins

bananaI never thought I’d say this, but I need a break from all these special events!  It’s time for a good old-fashioned recipe post.  And when I say old-fashioned, I actually mean one from way back from before I actually knew how to cook.

Banana “bread” (really cake) is everyone’s favourite snack, sweet, filling and still kind of nutritious if you use the right ingredients.  I like mine with a bit of a crust (everyone loves muffin tops!) on the outside, and still warm from the oven.  This recipe was originally meant to make a single loaf, but I converted it to muffin form, since that’s much better for my waistline.  Just don’t laugh when you see the original source, okay?

Banana Bread IngredientsBanana Cake/Bread

Adapted from Cosmopolitan Magazine, unknown date (yes, that Cosmo mag. Don’t judge me!)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes for muffins, 60 minutes for loaf/cake
Makes 12 muffins or one standard loaf, can be stored in fridge or frozen

Ingredients

150 grams butter, softened
3/4 cups brown sugar (preferably dark brown or muscovado sugar)
3 eggs
1 tbsp molasses (optional, skip if using dark or muscovado sugar… who am I kidding, I use it all the time!)
2 cups banana, mashed
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
1 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Gear

Muffin tray (12 cups) or loaf pan
Stand or hand mixer
Sieve
Flexible cutting board
Mixing bowl
Potato masher

The adjustments I made to the original recipe were pretty simple, but I remember being so proud that I was becoming a better cook… Ah, good times.  I doubled the amount of banana and halved the amount of sugar.  I also swapped out the sour cream for Greek yoghurt, and started playing with different kinds of sugars for different effects.  The recipe I posted above reflects my favourite mix – deep and dark flavours, with a marginally lower GI so they’re a wee bit healthier… who am I kidding, cake isn’t healthy!

But cake is a sometimes food, so sometimes you gotta make cake!

Banana Bread - creaming butter

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the butter until it is noticeably lighter in colour and texture. This is known as “creaming”.

Normally, creaming means mixing the butter and sugar together, but a great tip I got from a cake class I took at Savour was just to cream the butter by itself first.  This softens the butter even more, making it easier to incorporate the sugar.  But take care on warm days, you don’t want to go too far and actually melt the butter!

Banana Bread - Beating in sugar, eggs and molassesAdd the sugar first, then keep mixing until it’s all incorporated.

Add the eggs one by one, mixing them into the batter completely.  Don’t leave the mixer running too long (especially if it’s because you’re busy taking photos of the other parts of the process for your blog…) or the mixture will actually break.  This won’t affect taste, but the texture will be crumbly rather than fluffy.  Oh well!

If you’re using it, add the molasses now, and mix to combine.

Molasses are where the “deep, dark” flavours come from.  Blackstrap molasses, which are the most common form we can get here, are a by-product of how sugar is refined.  Brown sugar (and some “raw” sugars!) are just processed sugar with a bit of the molasses left in, or put back in after being refined.  Muscovado sugar is truly less-refined sugar, and comes out a bit moister and stickier than normal dark brown sugar.  If you want a straight-sweet taste to your banana bread, feel free to leave it out completely.

Banana Bread - dry ingredients Sift the dry ingredients together onto a flexible cutting board.

Banana Bread - bananas! Peel and mash the bananas.  I like using a potato masher so I get some big chunks!

Banana Bread - mixing final batter Add the yoghurt (or sour cream) to the bananas and mix them together gently.

Fold the banana mixture into the butter-egg-molasses mixture.

Finally, add all the dry ingredients on top of the wet ones, and fold that in gently.  Try to just mix them until they are just combined, small streaks of flour will be fine.

Banana Bread - in muffin tin

Spray the muffin tin or loaf pan with baking spray, and scoop the mixture in.  If you’re making muffins, fill them just barely to the top, and smooth out the surface.

You could use baking paper or muffin liners, but I feel that makes the bottoms too soggy.  No one likes a soggy bottom!

Banana BreadBake at 180C until done – about 40 minutes for muffins and 60 minutes for a cake or loaf. As you can see, mine barely rose because I broke my creamed butter.  Even worse, I barely got any crunchy crust!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread - done!

Converting cake recipes to muffins is probably more mathematical than I’m capable of being, so here’s my way of doing it.  I still bake at the temperature given in the recipe, but cut the cooking time in half.  I start checking for doneness (stick a toothpick in the middle, see if it comes out clean) at about 5 minute intervals after that.  Yes, it’s more work this way, but I note down the final cooking time and write that into my recipe books so I only really need to do it once or twice.

Have you converted a recipe before?  What methods do you use?

Got a thought about this post? Leave a comment here!