My daughter’s Color Guard team is attending a Performing Arts Dance Camp this week. She came home last night at 10 pm exhausted and returned to the camp this morning ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ at 8 am! I am taking a quick break from work this afternoon to make her some muffins she can bring to camp tomorrow for a treat.
I have 2 bananas on the counter…way too ripe to eat, but perfect enough for baking (very soft to touch and yellow with many brown spots) and 2 over-ripe bananas in the bottom of my freezer (these bananas were virtually brown when placed in freezer the other week). I also found some blueberries in the fridge and about a cup of 2% milk. Perfect ingredients for blueberry banana muffins! I am (believe it or not) too lazy to search and find my muffin file and since I am already at the kitchen table working on my laptop – I decide to just search the internet for blueberry banana muffin recipes. Well – low and behold there must be over 20,000+ recipes online! How do I choose? Well, I scroll through the first few recipes until I find one that has the ingredients I have on hand and not complicated or time consuming.
I follow the recipe exactly; preheat the oven, mix the wet and dry ingredients together and add the blueberries last. Now, because I have a baking background I quickly realize something is missing from the batter. I check the recipe on-line again and verify all the ingredients, not missing anything…then I taste the batter…yuck – no sugar specified in the recipe! How could I miss this important ingredient? More importantly, how many other people have accessed this recipe and made the same mistake as me – especially the novice baker? Not wanting to waste the batter I have in front of me, I add some sugar (taking an educated guess on quantity), place in prepared muffin tins, pop them in the oven and hope the muffins will be, at least, palatable for the dog.
The cooking time is noted to be 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later the muffins are only partially cooked (Note: Oven is calibrated for correct temperature). I adjust the cooking time and bake for 10 more minutes + 3 more minutes…+ 2 more minutes. The final product is not quite what I expect, but considering the fact I have 2 teenagers with ravaging appetites…most of these muffins will be consumed by humans in our house, but not with a bit of coaxing from me.
When someone takes the time to bake a treat – whether for the family or for a friend in need – the recipe should be legitimate. The internet is very convenient and literally at our fingertips – , BUT there are tens of thousands of recipes out in “cyberspace” that have neither been tested or written correctly. Good cookbooks and your mom’s recipe files – yes, the ones that are donning the shelves in your kitchen, are still the most comprehensive and complete library of “tested” recipes…recipes that are tried and true. Take recommendations from family and friends for good cookbooks and recipes. Make sure you write in your cookbooks, noting adjustments you would like to make or additions to the recipe. Also, write the names of recipes from that particular book that are special on the inside cover of each cookbook you own. This will act as a quick reference when finding that special pancake recipe you made 5 years ago on Christmas morning.
Here is a great recipe that is tried and true. My mother would make this same recipe when I was growing up. They are not too sweet so you can actually taste the banana, blueberry and nuts.
1¼ cup mashed bananas (2-3 ripe bananas)
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup milk
1 egg slightly beaten
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour*
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
1 cup fresh blueberries (if frozen, toss with 1 tablespoon of dry ingredient mix before mixing in batter)
- Preheat oven to 400⁰ degrees and line 18 muffin cups with paper baking cups.
- Beat bananas, vegetable oil, milk and egg together.
- Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nuts.
- Combine wet into dry and mix until ingredients are barely incorporated. Fold in blueberries with 2 or 3 turns of the spoon. Batter will be like a thick stew. Spoon into muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes then remove from tins. Eat warm or cool. Freezes well.