Banana

First off I just have to say how pleased and gratified I am by the response to this project. So many visitors and followers, both old friends and new readers! And I know several of you have baked your own batch of “Basic Muffins” for your families.

After being packed away in a dusty box for decades, it’s humbling and wonderful to think that Dorothy’s recipes are once again seeing the light of day. Thank you all!

So – on to recipe # 2, titled simply “Banana”.

The recipe

Beat with electric mixer

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add to above – beat

2 eggs

3 bananas

Dissolve soda in sour cream

3 tbsp. sour cream or soured milk

1 tsp. baking soda

Mixer on low slowly add cream to banana.

Sift in

2 cups all-purpose flour

Mix gently.

400F, 20 – 25 minutes. Makes 14.

The process

This one was a bit trickier than the basic recipe – this is a not a ‘toss everything in the bowl and run’ kind of affair. Dorothy’s instructions are written in the margins next to the ingredient list, so I had to read it through several times to make sure I had the order correct.

Beating sugar and oil together with an electric mixer is something I don’t think I’ve ever done. It makes an odd, unappealing slurry. I was a little concerned at that stage. I didn’t pre-mash the bananas as I normally would, just threw them in with the eggs and hit them with the electric mixer.

I used sour cream since I had some on hand. Note: do not do what I did and almost use baking powder by mistake. I caught myself just as I was about to tip the measuring spoon. I mixed in the baking soda and science! The sour cream increased in size by probably 50% and got very puffy, with lots of air pockets. I checked with Google and the consensus seems to be that the baking soda would still work if you didn’t pre-mix it with the sour cream, but that this step gives it a kick-start that helps lift a heavy batter.

After sifting in the flour, I had a puffy, light, moist batter.

I lined my muffin tray with papers and then checked the recipe again. Hmm, 14 muffins? I thought I’d try to fit them in 12 cups. (Side note: Michael tells me that Dorothy always kept the foil wrappers from hard margarine stacked neatly in the fridge; she used them to grease baking pans. I have no idea if she used muffin papers or not, but I do not have a ready supply of greasy margarine wrappers on hand, so.)

Anyway, I tried fitting the batter into 12 cups and it was a no-go. Turns out this recipe makes exactly 14 muffins. Dorothy – 1, know-it-all-me – Zero.

I baked mine for 20 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven once at the half-way point to ensure even heating.

The results

An appealing-looking muffin, these browned beautifully. And they rose – oh, did they! These are much larger than the basic muffins. My sophisticated test kitchen – Michael and my boys – clustered around for the taste test.

Inside, they are uniformly banana-flecked, but with no actual pieces of banana thanks to that electric mixer step. The texture is almost silky – all that vegetable oil and sour cream makes for a moist final product. Even my 7 year old didn’t leave a debris field of crumbs over the table, a minor miracle.

The banana flavour is subtle at first, but very pleasant. They are not overly sweet, either; the half-cup of sugar doesn’t overpower the finished product. With a pat of melting butter, these are a great treat for Thanksgiving morning.

Banana Muffins

This is the first of five banana muffin recipes, grouped together. I bought a bag of slightly-overripe bananas this weekend and stashed them in the freezer so I’m prepared. If you hate bananas, have faith – after that we have seven different apple or applesauce-based recipes.

I would make this muffin again, although I would substitute the more heart-healthy canola oil for the vegetable oil. For the purposes of the project I am not replacing any ingredients, but canola should work just as well, and is much better for you.

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One comment on “Banana

  1. Nicole says:

    My kids love banana muffins. And we also love science, so…

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