Friday, June 17, 2011

Banana Bread Muffins

Well, it finally happened.  Two of our bananas turned brown.  Usually, bananas are the reason I go to the grocery store.  Both kids often want multiple bananas for breakfast (although they only get one each), and if either John or I have one, they're gone in two days.  I don't know what happened this time, but I was thrilled to see those brown speckled bananas.  It meant I could make my famous coconut-banana bread, and then blog about it.

Or... not.  Because you see, a loaf of banana bread takes an hour to cook.  And wouldn't you know it, I found myself out of coconut.  So I looked up a banana bread recipe in my America's Test Kitchen cookbook, mixed up some ingredients, and poured the results into a muffin pan.  We were eating them 25 minutes later.

My favorite part of banana bread is not actually the cakey interior.  The best part of banana bread to me is the crust, specifically the top of the crust where it splits as it rises, and what results is twin peaks of sweet brown crust that surround a small valley of gooey, sticky banana deliciousness.  Am I alone in this?  It doesn't matter.  All I know is that yesterday, I made twelve of those.  Best idea I've had all week.

Someday soon I will make my famous coconut banana bread and blog about it, because these recipes actually yield somewhat different textures.  My usual recipe is pretty cakey, whereas this one was a little lighter and airier.  Perfect for a muffin, if you ask me.

Banana Bread Muffins, adapted from The New Best Recipe from America's Test Kitchen

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 (or 3, if you've got them) very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Let me say at the outset that I'm the kind of cook that uses only one bowl when I bake.  I'm not washing two mixing bowls just so I can sift out the dry ingredients.  I hope you're still willing to read my blog despite that confession.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, bananas, and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl.  You'll want to use a potato masher, or something similar, for the bananas.  I like some bigger chunks of banana in my bread, so I don't spend too much time mashing.  After the first set of ingredients is well blended, add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir just until the dry flour is gone.  Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased cups of a muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Yum.

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