Banana Muffins

I have been intending to make banana muffins for over a week now. Needless to say, the bananas on the counter are now black (excellent) and there are fruit flies spontaneously coming into being in the kitchen (not so excellent). So today I finally pulled out the easiest, best banana muffin recipe (from Cat Can Cook) and got started.

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This is a Level One recipe, surpassed in ease only by rice krispie treats. Actually this may be easier, because there is no sticky marshmallow goo to contend with. The best thing about this recipe, in my opinion, is that it is super adaptable. I’ve previously made it gluten-free, vegan, and even both at once (I’ve included notes below the recipe on adaptations). Note that your bananas need not be blackened; as long as they are yellow, they are good enough (though some stores keep a special section of black bananas, and overripe bananas are sweeter and softer). This is a quick recipe—takes an hour or less—and makes about a dozen muffins.

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Banana Muffins
Ingredients
4 bananas*
½ cup white sugar*
1 egg
⅓ cup margarine or butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
*can be a bit more or less than amount listed

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin with paper cups (or grease the pan, if you prefer).

2. Mash the bananas. You can do this with a blender, food processor, or—if the bananas are overripe—even with a handheld mixer or spoon. Don’t worry if you don’t get every lump out.

3. Thoroughly mix melted margarine, egg, banana mush, and sugar in one large bowl.

4. Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder) in a separate, small bowl.

5. Mix dry and wet ingredients together (add the flour in a few batches to help keep it from clumping). Don’t over-mix, and don’t worry if there end up being a few flour clumps after all.

6. Mix in any additional ingredients:  Chocolate pieces are good, and/or walnuts if you like them. I also like to add a little cinnamon (and it goes well with both of the above).

7. Spoon batter into muffin tin. Each cup should be roughly ¾ full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until muffins are golden and spring back when lightly pushed. Serve warm or cool and store to serve later.

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Adaptations

Gluten-free: Replace flour with a gluten-free all-purpose baking flour mix, same amount. Everything else about the recipe stays the same.

Vegan: Replace butter/margarine with a non-dairy margarine (read the labels carefully). Replace egg with ground flax seed:  In a small bowl or measuring cup, soak 1 TBS ground flax in 2-3 TBS warm water for a few minutes, then stir. Add in place of egg. If adding chocolate pieces, read the ingredients label carefully to make sure your chocolate is vegan.
Also: I once made a vegan frosting to go with these using vegan cream cheese substitute. It didn’t have the same flavor, of course, but the texture was good and a little vanilla made it taste good enough to top a banana muffin cupcake.

Other Notes: You can also substitute whole-wheat flour for all-purpose and/or brown sugar for white if you want to be a bit healthier. If you would rather forget the healthy factor, mix up a batch of cream cheese or chocolate frosting!

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