I was excited to try this one, because it has actual flavouring added – two kinds of spice! VANILLA! I’m not sure why the first few recipes relied solely on the bananas for their taste; perhaps a combination of thrift and a sense that if you have the taste of banana, why would you want anything else? I don’t know. But there was something very satisfying about finally going to the spice cupboard.
This recipe also did not indicate a final quantity. Michael suggested that perhaps Dorothy had never actually made this recipe herself, and that consequently she didn’t actually know how many muffins it made. The very thought that Dorothy would record for posterity muffin recipes that she hadn’t tested shocked me completely, and is quite at odds with my mental image of her, so I flatly reject that hypothesis. Besides, I have 62 weeks to go – my second born will have started school by the time this project is finished – so to imagine that even she wasn’t so colossally insane as to attempt baking all the recipes takes the wind right of my sails.
In medium-sized bowl, combine and set aside
1 cup rolled oats (note: I used ‘large flake’ oats because the bag said ‘best for baking!’ and who am I to argue with packaging)
1 cup milk
Sift into large bowl
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
To soaked oats add
1/2 cup margarine, melted and cooled (note: I used butter, as I never buy hard margarine anymore)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups mashed bananas (4 – 5 medium)
Add wet to dry and stir only until mixture is moistened.
375F, 20 minutes
I had some stress about this one, I won’t lie. Soak the oats – but for how long? How many muffins will it make? FIVE TEASPOONS OF BAKING POWDER?? And, secret Non-Baker Confession Time: I hate seeing the instruction “stir until moistened”. That is a ridiculous instruction. In order to moisten all the dry ingredients, you have to stir the blasted stuff. A lot, in this case – it’s a large bowl. Every turn of the spoon I thought “I am overmixing this, I just know it”.
Those five teaspoons of baking powder started working right away, too. The finished batter was foamy and light, with lots of air pockets visible. My seven year old pointed out that it probably needed extra baking powder to help all those heavy oats rise. Thanks, kid – I’ll just put on my Apron of Baking Inadequacy and hide over here in the corner.
I wasn’t sure how much to fill the muffin cups. I settled for 3/4 full, which yielded a princely 24 muffins. Two dozen muffins! Right away this was a huge plus in favour of this recipe over any of the previous ones, because with a family of five and then six extra hungry dayhome kids to feed, a dozen muffins disappear like the wheat crop in a Little House on the Prairie story after the grasshoppers arrive.
They smelled really good while baking, and since my nose is still stuffed up and I haven’t smelled much of anything for over a week that’s saying something. However, they didn’t rise as much as I might have expected given the insane amount of baking powder – and they didn’t rise evenly, either, with some puffing up beautifully and others only lifting a little. I can’t help but think this is probably me overmixing. Or not mixing enough. Or something.
Michael and I tried a couple right out of the oven, and while they were nice enough we found them a little bland, of all things. We puttered around for a while until they cooled, then taste-tested a second time.
Do not eat these muffins until they have cooled.
Once cooled, these are delicious – maybe my favourite one so far. Everything about them hits all the right notes for me; taste, density, moistness, texture. If I’d had more ripe bananas – the ones I had were really only brown on the outside, so not as mushy and sweet as I usually bake with – they’d have been even better-tasting.
Next week – the last banana recipe in the batch, Whole Wheat Banana. Then, we move on to apple-based recipes. Which is good, because I have many many apples from our trip to the orchard that need to be used up.