Banana Oatmeal

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.

The recipe

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 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups mashed bananas (4 – 5 medium)

Add wet to dry and stir only until mixture is moistened.

375F, 20 minutes

The process

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.

The result

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.

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6 comments on “Banana Oatmeal

  1. MaryP says:

    When it says “combine and set aside” it just means for the amount of time it takes to do the next few instructions. By the time you’re ready for the soaked oats, they’re ready for you!

    About the irregular rising: Did you put both muffin tins in at once, or did you do them in two separate batches? Sometimes it’s just a matter of even heating, and with two trays in the oven the heat has trouble circulating well.

    • Hannah says:

      Hmm, interesting. I did take the trays out at the half-way point to rotate them, because my oven has a hot spot in the rear right corner… they didn’t rise any further after that. I wonder if handling them too much made them fall a little bit? Someone else needs to try these and tell me what happens!

  2. Nicole says:

    Vanilla! Finally!

    I’m a little disappointed though, because last week’s was supposed to be the Best banana muffins. How does this compare to the Best? Did Dorothy lie? I guess there is no accounting for taste.

    5 tsp of baking powder!

  3. Hannah says:

    I like these ones better than the ‘best’ ones from last week. Maybe she was including things like “uses insane amounts of baking powder” when she was deciding which was qualitatively better?

  4. Michael says:

    Actually I liked the ‘Best Banana’ ones better than these. There are so many competing flavours that they cancel each other out. They are good, but ‘Best Banana’ definitely taste like something, Banana.

    • Hannah says:

      For what it’s worth, 4.5yo ate two muffins today, and wanted to know if they were hard to make or easy, because he wants me to make them again. But he has the same texture issues I do, so maybe that’s the key. The texture of these is so perfect that the taste is almost secondary.

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