Ugh, winter. Nope. I simply do not like winter, soooooo I bake and I bake and I BAKE! Fortunately Valentines Day falls in February giving me a perfectly good excuse to bake yummy and delicious things to get over the last hump of winter. March, I can deal with because it carries the promise of spring in its air, but not February. February is for baking, no matter where I live or what I bake!
The mind is a funny thing. When I moved to Brazil for three years, and February was the dead of their summer, hot as hell and gearing up for carnival, my mind still told me it was baking season. I simply cranked up the air conditioner and turned on the oven. I will admit it felt weird to be baking in… very little clothing, and my Havaianas, but… in my mind, it was still February!
So what did I bake while in Rio? One of the same dang things I bake right here in America: BANANA MUFFINS! Brazil, in 2008, had never heard of muffins, and for sure they had never eaten a Banana Muffin, and in a country that had tons and tons of bananas? Some I had never seen before. In fact, it took me several purchases of buying the wrong bananas (some were like the taste and texture of a raw potato) before I found the sweet bananas I grew up with in America.
And so, I set out to wow the Brazilians with my Banana Muffins, and WOW I did! Can you believe I was approached several times to partner with investors to open Muffin Shops? Imagine, I would still be living in Brazil now, selling muffins by the millions across Brazil. Stupid me… I was home sick for my kids (even though they were too busy for mama), my sisters, and my country. I came home in 2010. Still dancing Samba, haven’t lost my Portuguese yet, and made some fabulous friends I still remain in touch with there. Muffins? Brazil still doesn’t have muffins, so if you are looking for a get rich quick idea, go to Brazil and make muffins!
Not sure where these last ten years went, but I am still making muffins in February, actually all year long, so I couldn’t leave you without one of my banana muffin recipes, though I rarely make them the same way twice!
First, of course, you need bananas. No, not those pretty yellow or slightly tinted green, not quite ripe bananas you might add to your morning cereal or oatmeal, you need Brown Bananas! Super sweet, therefore less sugar in the recipe, soft, ugly brown bananas!
Then we need a variety of healthy ingredients to mix into our muffins. I am not sure why it is said that baking is a science, and ingredients must be carefully measured, nonsense! Baking, a muffin for example, is simply dry ingredients, wet ingredients and something to make them rise. So, depending on my mood and what might be in my pantry, I like to mix it up when I bake. You will rarely find my baking recipes to have boring ole flour, sugar, butter and whatever! Flour? Good grief, there are so many types of flour:
- Oat flour
- Barley flour
- Spelt flour
- Nut flours
- Endless list of flour
Then we need wet stuff:
- Nut milks
- Fruit juices
- Coconut water
But almost always there is eggs, some type of fat/oil and baking powder and baking soda, unless I use yeast.
Ingredients for an easy Banana Muffin – makes 12 large, or tons of mini muffins
- Bananas – 2 very ripe bananas
- Eggs – 2
- Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Oil or melted butter – 1/2 cup, any oil, coconut, olive, sunflower, any
- Yogurt or milk – 1/2 cup
Mash bananas, add next four ingredients and mix wet ingredients well.
- Flour – 2 cups, any flour or mix of flour that you like. I love a mix of spelt and oat flour
- Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
- Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Spice – 2 teaspoons (optional) any favored spice
Mix dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well, but do not over mix. Place batter into muffin tins, 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 until tester comes out clean (more for larger and less for smaller), about 25 minutes. Keep a week in the fridge and freezes beautifully!