Sunday, March 12, 2006

What the hell are these things???

Banana Muffins

The Ultimate Muffin Book Copyright 2004

Nonstick spray or paper muffin cups
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 large, ripe bananas
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon vinegar

1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. To prepare the muffin tins, spray the indentations and rims around them with nonstick cooking spray, or line the indentations with paper muffin cups. If using silicon muffin tins, spray as directed, then place them on a baking sheet.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until uniform. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until well incorporated.
4. Peel the bananas and mash them into the butter mixture using a potato masher. If the bananas are not soft, squeeze them through a potato ricer. Stir in the milk or half-and-half, the vanilla, and vinegar until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the prepared flour mixture; stir until moistened.
5. Fill the prepared tins three-quarters full. Use additional greased tins or small oven-safe greased ramekins for any leftover batter, or reserve the batter for a second baking. Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale brown with rounded nubbly tops. A toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin should come out with a few moist crumbs attached.
6. Set the pan on a wire rack to cook for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin back and forth to release it. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool them for 5 minutes more on the rack before serving. If storing or freezing the muffins, cool them completely before sealing in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bags. The muffins will stay fresh up to 24 hours at room temperature or up to one month in the freezer.

You're probably looking at this picture trying to figure out what you're looking at. Well, you're looking at banana muffins that were cooked at too high of a temperature in my new farm cookie pan. It was an experimental run and it's hard to make out the figures but the muffins themselves were quite good, even if the outsides were a little too dark. They were very moist and banana-y. And if you tell my two-year old that he's eating a cow, he'll believe you no matter what it looks like and he'll proudly state after every bite that he's eating a cow.

I've been coveting this pan for a while but I always talked myself out of buying it. Last week my son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy which means I'll be making most of the treats he consumes. I do make most of what he eats but now it seems more important to make his treats more fun so that he doesn't feel deprived. So I bought this pan and the cakesicle pan.

A food allergy is a hard thing for me to handle. I've never seen food as the enemy and it pains me that I'll need to teach my son that it can be, in certain circumstances. I have an older nephew with a peanut allergy but it doesn't seem to affect him very much since food has always been the enemy in their house. My sister-in-law's thighs are about the size of my upper arms.

But that's the thing about parenthood - things rarely go smoothly and I'm very grateful he doesn't have any other serious food allergies (just very minor egg white and milk) and that I'm fighting an external enemy, not cancer or something awful like that.

This muffin book is from my library. It bugs me that a cookbook calls itself the 'ultimate' and there aren't any pictures in it. It were the 'ultimate', there would be pictures and fresh baked samples of each muffin included. There are a lot of muffin recipes in this book (but most of the 600+ recipes it boasts of are variations of the more basic recipes printed in the book).

Question of the Day: Do you deal with any food allergies?


The Cookbook Junkie said...

No one in my family had allergies of any sort when I was growing up. When I was older I had friends with pet allergies. Then one of my nephews was allergic to nuts (tree nuts, not peanuts) and another to peanuts. Both may possibly have outgrown their allergies but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

I hate to hear about Nick's peanut allergy. But I also know that with your cooking expertise, he'll have BETTER treats. I'm sure I have no idea of all the things that have peanuts or were made in areas where peanuts are used. It's probably pretty widespread. Good luck to you and thanks for telling us what that was a picture of! LOL I love both those pans. My kids used to bite the heads off their animal crackers and laugh that precious little kid laugh which is so contagious (sidenote: they grew up to be nice, normal kids and aren't cruel to animals!) *S*
P.S. How did you know Nick might have an allergy? Just wondering what the signs were.

The Cookbook Junkie said...


I think I knew before he was born that he would have a peanut allergy, I just had a feeling. I don't know why.

Once I made and brought PB fudge to a bake sale and he got covered in hives that morning and started vomitting later on in the day. I didn't think he had any contact with the fudge and there was a virus going around so the connection wasn't made at the time.

When I baked salted peanut cookies at Christmas time he vomitted that night (again, he didn't eat any of them - just the fumes did him in). He also has eczema which is often related to food allergies, especially peanut.

He scored right in the middle of the scale on his blood test but that doesn't really tell you what type of reaction someone would have if exposed to peanuts. But at least now I always have Benadryl and epi-pens on hand.

Anne Coleman said...

Paula, those are too funny! Hey, the taste is what really metters!

I have a slight sensitivity to my favorite food in the world, tomatoes,
and one child is allergic to something but we are really unsure-it seems to be jalapenos, she gets hives.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry to hear about the peanut allergy! you'll have to be careful when he starts attending birthday parties and such--i've heard of bakeries using nut oils and extracts when you least expect them. at least people are more aware now of how serious the peanut allergies can be.

i have mild allergies to a lot of foods, but a few years ago i developed an extreme sensitivity to herbs like basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, lemongrass, and parsley, of all things! you would not believe how many things parsley is in! and it doesn't even have to be separately listed on the label. if i see the word "spices" as an ingredient in anything, back on the shelf it goes. it's nothing that would send me to the ER, but it's worth a few hours of excruciating stomach pain! yet the last dr. i talked to said i probably just had an overly-acidic system, which i do, but i know that's not the problem. be sure to teach your son to listen to his body, and find another doctor if his won't listen to him!

Anonymous said...

Thankfully,none of my children have allergies.I have a nephew that is allergic to any type of dairy.Its awful.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear your son has allergies. Do you by chance have any recpies for the cakesicle pan. I have two and no book.