Too Darn Cute

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Banana Muffins

What do you do when you have a bunch of bananas that look like this?

Make banana bread, of course! Actually, we go through a lot of bananas in our house so I decided to buy an extra bunch this week just so we'd have some around long enough to get this ripe. I make these muffins a LOT and we often have a bag full stored in the freezer for quick breakfasts on the go or yummy snacks. We hadn't had any in a while and I was feeling a big banana muffin craving.

Why muffins you ask? Well, I've tried my hand at loaves of banana bread several times and just couldn't seem to quite get it right. Either the middle is underdone and squishy but the outside is perfect or the outside is overcooked but the middle is soft and perfect. Or it comes out looking great and then collapses in a matter of minutes. While I wouldn't say I've given up perfecting the banana bread loaf, I've found muffins are lot more forgiving and more convenient. They're easier to cook, more portable, and perfect for popping in your mouth. Really, it's hard to screw them up.

I tried out several different recipes before trying my hand at creating one myself. Combining things I liked from each recipe and using ingredients I felt happier about, I discovered a recipe that I love and feel pretty good about eating. I always get compliments when I share them with others (if they last that long) and hope you'll try it out so I can share them with you.

One of my favorite things about these muffins is that they can be easily adapted. Like I said, I feel like it's pretty hard to screw them up. Feel free to substitute ingredients and alter amounts according to your tastes. While the recipe calls for 2 TBS yogurt or sour cream (I use whatever I have open in the fridge at the time), sometimes I use more if I don't have much applesauce or if I'm using small bananas. I've even used more in place of an egg when I only had one on hand and the muffins turned out great! Also, though I usually use vegetable oil, I've used coconut oil and it worked great too!

There are lots of add-ins you can use to jazz up the muffins as well. Some of my favorites are:
  • Chocolate chips and butterscotch chips: Actually, I consider these an essential part of the recipe rather than an add-in. My grandma used to always put these in her muffins and I love the chocolate/butterscotch combo in these muffins! Plus, we left out some of the sugar and oil so we have some calories to spare, right?
  • Oatmeal: Sometimes I'll replace 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup or so of oatmeal. 
  • Flax Seeds: I've recently started grinding flax seeds and keeping it in the freezer so I can throw it in recipes like this for some extra nutrition (I add about 1/4 cup per batch). 
  • Nuts: I suppose you could add chopped walnuts or pecans if you want to ruin the muffins. Just kidding... I just prefer my nuts separate from my baked goods. But if you like nuts in your cookies and brownies, you'd probably love them in these!
Mmmm, look at those melted butterscotch chips!
Sometimes I make regular-sized muffins and sometimes I make mini muffins. Recently, I've started doing one pan of each. I'll usually leave out the chips in my mini muffins and they're perfect for my muffin-loving one-year-old. Seriously, I think he'd eat muffins at every meal if I let him. Actually, I probably would too...

Here's my Mr. Muffin Man himself!

What else do you like to add to your muffins?

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