Bananas pose somewhat of a problem for me. They’re nutritious. They’re conveniently portable and self-contained. They’re relatively inexpensive. However, I only like them just prior to becoming ripe. Once bananas become fully ripe (and reach the peak of deliciousness, I’m told by others), I can’t do it. It has mostly to do with texture, I think. Too mushy. And the taste. Too much banana. Too banana-y.
As a result, there are usually a number of brown bananas in the freezer, which end up in various cakes, muffins, and breads. Unfortunately, I don’t care for any of those (again, too much banana). Fortunately, I’m in the minority and can always find people to help me out. I’ve taken to making muffins instead of loaves, as they are more easily distributed and don’t end up all in one place (e.g., Jeff’s belly).
Using standard muffins cups and a greased 1/3 cup measure for scooping, this yielded more than 12 muffins. I’m guessing it probably would make about 15. Rather than make more regular muffins, I used a cookie scoop and a little tartlet pan to make 12 little muffin tops (or muffies, if you prefer), as we all know the best part of the muffin is the top, right? Some of my previous Perkins coworkers can vouch for my obsession with muffin tops (“Hey Alex—wanna share a muffin? I left you the bottom half…”).
Little muffies, all in a row...
Little muffies, all in a row...
As you can tell in the pictures, the oven has fairly savage hot and cool spots. It also lacks a window on the door and a light on the inside. I feel that adds more risk (and sometimes, more reward) to the cooking/baking process. I opted not to remove that risk by rotating the muffin pans halfway through baking. Be adventurous! Don’t rotate! Just kidding. Or am I?
And lastly, dear Rachael: I could not help but think of you while I was baking these. I contemplated making a cream cheese frosting, just like they had on the good days at the Norm, in honor of you. Miss you!
Muffin glamour shot!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups whole or low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (or more) chocolate chips
3 very ripe bananas, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 12-cup muffin tins or one 12-cup tin and whatever you can find with which you want to experiment.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Fold the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients until barely combined. Fold in melted butter. Fold in chocolate chips and bananas, being careful not to over-mix.
Scoop batter into muffin cups using a greased 1/3 cup measure. Bake until golden and toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes (less is you make smaller muffins). If you’re feeling ambitious, rotate the pans halfway through baking.
Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. These are best the day they’re made, but have enough moisture to keep a couple days.