Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Quest - Attempt at Fluffy Banana Muffins

I'm always in a rush, running back and forth from tasks, doing my best not to be distracted and worrying about what I should do next.  I constantly struggle for efficiency and productivity, wondering what I should do first, next, after that.  I only hope I finish the last task.  Life sometimes seems nothing more than a series of tasks, waiting for your attention.  I had hoped that I would rush less this semester, to take the time to fully understand my homework and studies, take the time to lavish care on my baking.  

For the last 3 batches I have timed my efforts, rushing the mixing and baking, with subpar results 2 out of 3 times.  You'd think I'd learn.  These muffins were mixed watching the clock anxiously, baked as I hurried to wash up and get my little butt mostly out the door, then sprinted from the oven to my room as I ran to Thermo.  On the way I managed to share a few, which, I later found out, got rave reviews.  My only criticism is that because I beat the butter into flakes rather than melting it, there was too much and butter coated the bottoms of my cupcake pan.  Luckily for me, I later decided to make corn muffins in these pre-buttered cups, but that is another post for another day. 

And now, as I am soon to be running out the door to the anticipated tedious and arduous USG Leadership Conference, I leave you with this: a light, fluffy muffin topped with oats, strongly banana flavored and just sweet enough to be an indulgent, yet quick breakfast that leans vaguely towards "healthy."  Enjoy.

Shining in the morning light.
Fluffy Banana Muffins adapted from 17 and Baking
Makes 12 muffins

3 overripe bananas (Mine nearly fell off the hanger, that was fun)
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened (It's warm and humid since the last vestiges of 
New York summer are passing by, so it only took a few minutes)
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed into the measuring cup
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt (I used one of those little packets you get free in a food court)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Oats for sprinkling on top

1 large mixing bowl
1 wooden spoon
1 plastic butter knife swiped from the food court on campus to cut the butter stick in half
½ cup dry measure
1 teaspoon measure
1 cupcake pan (Makes 12)
12 cupcake papers


1. Mash the bananas in the large mixing bowl.  Try to get it liquid for lighter muffins, leave some small chunks if you like denser muffins.  

2. Add the butter and (gently!) whack it with the wooden spoon until you have tiny flakes of butter floating in a mass of pourable banana.  Add the sugar and mix until combined.  Add the egg and beat until completely combined.

You can see the nice flakes of butter floating in banana mush here, along with a single, lovely egg.
3. Add the baking soda, then the vanilla extract (so the vanilla doesn't wet the spoon and make difficulties when you try to scoop out the soda - see, I am efficient sometimes!).  Add the salt and mix until completely combined.

4. Pour in the flour and gently fold until there are no streaks.  You can mix a few extra times to make sure; the banana helps to keep everything moist.

5. Pack the cupcake pan, liners and oven mitts in a backpack.  Carry the bowl of batter with the wooden spoon.  Carefully make your way down 2 flights of stairs and preheat the oven to 350°F.  While the oven is preheating, line the cupcake pan, then fill each cup about ¾ full.  Sprinkle the tops with oats; any type works.  Bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, until puffed up and the top is slightly browned.  The muffins will puff up spectacularly in the oven, then fall slightly as they cool.  They're heavenly eaten fresh from the oven, even when you're running late to Thermodynamics.  Hey, it's radiation cooking the muffins, right?  I was studying!

Worth having to walk into class late.

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