Saturday, July 11, 2009

Banana muffins

Over-ripe bananas - doesn't happen often at our place with my 2 boys, but today there were a couple. I am watching my weight, and so have sworn off baking, but the oven is now fixed, and we can't let a couple of bananas go to waste, so out came How To Be a Domestic Goddess...

This recipe, like almost all muffin recipes, is very easy (it is even in the children's section of the book - aimed at cooking with your children). And I have even myself convinced they are quite healthy! They contain fruit, no sugar - but honey instead (and honey's a health food, right?!), plus I used iodised salt (lots of publicity lately about how low in iodine our diets are), so that clinches it - they are a health food :p. The recipe said it would make 10 muffins, I got 7¾. For anyone that is concerned about their waistlines, I used normal butter and the muffins worked out at 2.5 points each (Weight Watchers) for 8 muffins. I'm sure you could lower the saturated fat and therefore the overall damage by using a reduced fat spread instead of butter, but that would affect the taste and I don't like to compromise on taste with these things.

This is the first time I've used the oven since it has been repaired. I was happy to note that it is heating up pretty much to the temperature I set on the dial (before I always had to reduce the temperature by 50°C).

The recipe...

Place 30g of butter, 60g of clear runny honey and ½ tsp vanilla extract in a saucepan over low heat and leave to melt. Set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Combine 150g of plain flour, 1 heaped tsp of baking powder, ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda, ½ tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a bowl. (I was too lazy to sift this, and Nigella will virtually never suggest sifting unless absolutely necessary as she hates it too - I just combined it with a wire whisk. I came up with this method myself and thought I was the only lazy person who would do such a thing, but was happy to read Belinda Jeffery confessing to the exact same method to avoid sifting in her book 'Mix & Bake'. So seeing I am in such good company, I will now happily 'fess up.)

Mash 2 large ripe bananas. Add the melted butter and honey mixture to the mash. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Mix just enough to combine, ignoring the inevitable lumps. Otherwise the gluten in the flour will be overworked = tough muffins.

Got this idea from Nigella, and I love it - use an old-fashioned spring-loaded icecream scoop to dole out the mixture into the pans. I find this works wonderfully with the thick mixtures you tend to get with muffin batters which can't be poured in. It gives a much neater portion of batter in each muffin case and makes it quick, easy and even. The recipe said the yield is about 10 muffins; I got 7¾.

Bake for 25 mins at 190°C. I baked mine for 20 mins at about 185°C - I probably should have dropped the temperature a bit more than I did to allow for the fan-forced oven. Smelt sooo good while they baked!

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