Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Muffins Muffins Muffins!!

This summer I've finally become interested in cooking a little more... most likely due to not having my head full of school related things. It is way past time for me to post some recipes. I have a couple of seitan recipes I've been wanting to write up, and also a couple of muffins recipes which I'll be sharing today! I've had more than a couple of friends asking me to post muffin recipes, so thanks to their insistence I'm getting over my blogging laziness and putting myself to the keyboard!

Before I get to the recipes, I do have to take a little detour to mention that I'm finally an aunt! My brother and his wife recently had a baby boy, and he's so adorable! Its wonderful to be able to hold a baby, bathe in his cuteness and new baby smell. I admit for about one tenth of a second it made me want another baby... I think I'm over that craziness now, but my kids and I are loving having this little one in the family!!

OK, on with the food!

Firstly, I'll post my standard go-to muffin recipe. When my kids ask for muffins its usually these they are referring to, although I do have another banana muffin recipe I do sometimes use as well. This recipe comes from years of experimenting and mixing up other recipes, and I think they turn out quite delicious. I often double, or sometimes even triple this recipe depending on how many ripe bananas we have. Sometimes my kids will purposely NOT eat bananas so that I can make these muffins - the little big one has even chewed us out for eating bananas before because she wanted muffins! If you have a lot of bananas but do not want to make a lot of muffins all at once, you can freeze the batter in a freezer bag. Then when you wake up feeling like some muffins you just have to snip the corner off the bag and squeeze it into the muffin cups - super easy! So, without further ado...

"Best Ever" Banana Muffins (or bread!)

2 ripe bananas - the more brown spots the better!
2 tbsp ground flax seed
3/4 cup soy milk or almond milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened margarine (I suggest Earth Balance!) or vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup mix ins of your choice (entirely optional) Try walnuts or pecans, or chocolate chips!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Easy directions: Mash bananas, mix everything together, put into greased muffin pans and bake for 30-35 minutes! (It really is that easy!!)

More detailed directions:
This is very specifically how I do it. Put bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mash them with a potato masher as well as you can. If some small lumps persist, thats ok! Add the rest of the "wet" ingredients  - those in the top list - and mix together.
Separately sift or whisk together the dry ingredients - those in the 2nd list. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until completely combined - there should be no dry spots. Stir in any mix ins you may want to use.
Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full. Place in center of heated oven and cook until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean... although if you stick it through a chunk of banana it might not be entirely clean!  In my oven this takes about 35-40 minutes, but check them at 30 or so if your oven runs warm or things usually cook quicker... I think my oven is slow!

To make banana bread instead of muffins, just pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until top splits open and is a golden brown color.

Since I like I give options, I'm going I include 2 more muffin recipes for you!! The mixing directions are the same, but the baking temp and times are a little different, so make sure to note that. 

My next recipe for today is one of my favorites, since in some ways I'm like most girls and just need some chocolate once in a while. These are a bit drier, so if you like the moister muffins consider upping the amount of liquids, either milk or oils. I have I experiment with that and maybe I'll update you all if I do, but I think they're great how they are. 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 ripe bananas
1 1/4 cup soymilk combined with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar - let sit a few minutes 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 tsp vanilla 
1cup sugar
2 tbsp ground flax 

2 cups unbleached flour 
1 tbsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder 

Mix in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

For this one, bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until tops are browned and cracked a bit. 

The next muffin recipe is my big one's favorite, probably because of the crumb topping on it, which could easily be put in top of any muffin before baking. I mash the blueberries with a banana, only because she doesn't like to get a big bite of blueberry in her muffin. You could also try using 1/2 cup of applesauce if you don't have a banana. 

Blueberry Muffins


1 ripe banana 
1 cup blueberries 
1/3 cup soymilk 
1/3 cup veg oil 
3/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup ground flaxseed 
1 tsp vanilla 

1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt 
2 tsp baking powder 

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup flour 
2 tbsp margarine 
3/4 tsp cinnamon 
2 tbsp wheat germ (optional) 
- combine dry ingredients and crumble in margarine with fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of muffins before baking. 

For these, bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes. 

I hope you enjoy your muffins!!! If you have any trouble or questions about any of my recipes please don't hesitate to send me a note!

**A note about ingredients:
I use ground flax seed ALL THE TIME, in almost everything I bake, except yeast bread. And I add it to pancakes and waffles, and sometimes smoothies. It is a great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber, which is amazingly good for you. It does have a flavor that can be tasted in pancakes and smoothies, although I really don't notice it as much in muffins. You may not be able to find ground flax seed - I usually buy it at Costco, or in a health food store, but more and more chain grocery stores are carrying it. Usually its with the Bob's Red Mill products and/or on the baking aisle.

If you cannot find ground flax seed, or are for some reason particularly averse to using it, you may substitute a couple of heaping tablespoons of applesauce. You can also do this in place of oil or butter, if you want to cut the fat content down. I have not yet tried this with either of these recipes, but I have used applesauce in other baking recipes and it usually works pretty well.

As far as flour goes, I usually do 1/2 unbleached, 1/2 white whole wheat if I have it. Using all unbleached or all white whole wheat is perfectly OK as well. I have not ever tried baking with any kind of gluten free flour, so I can't make any suggestions there.

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