Sunday, April 3, 2011

Banana chocolate chip muffins.

As a first-time blogger (who, for all intents and purposes, does not yet have readers), I'm honestly surprised by all the pressure I feel, especially writing this first post. Am I being funny enough? Will someone eventually read me? What if they make this recipe and it's terrible? What if I don't measure up? But then I remind myself why I chose to start this blog in the first place -- I love cooking. I love writing. I love food photography (though, I'll apologize now, there's very little in this post, and it was not taken by me). This is an outlet for all of those things I love, regardless of whether or not anyone reads it or actually tries any of the food here, and I'm going to try to keep in mind that nothing (especially not food, photography or writing) is ever perfect the first time around.

But I digress. On to muffins!

I'd been craving both bananas and chocolate ever since I visited a tea shop with my boyfriend and the kind cashier gave me 2-for-1 muffins - the perks of going into a place that bakes fresh every day near closing time. One was chocolate chip, the other banana walnut. Both were quite tasty - crisp, crunchy tops with unbelievably moist centers. They stuck with me, and I started thinking about how I could combine the rich taste of semi-sweet chocolate with the spicy sweetness of banana bread. A quick Google search found me a recipe at (give me a site with both highly-rated recipes and dozens of reviews, and I'll be busy for hours) for banana chocolate chip muffins. It seemed simple and claimed to be low-fat, i.e. it contained no butter -- perhaps a red flag for some of you, but I'm open-minded when it comes to my food.

A few of my friends are involved in campus publications, and it's an unspoken tradition that the editors bring food or baked goods for their writers and photographers. I decided to double the recipe and give them something to feed their staff with. After all, the original recipe called for 3 medium bananas, and two of them... well. I didn't get a photo, sadly, but they were massive. They were intimidating. A male friend told me they made him feel inadequate. You get the picture. I had two massive bananas and two roughly normal-sized, so I felt safe making a second batch. I also added spices - cinnamon and nutmeg - that weren't originally part of the recipe.

First off: they were good! I'm one of those people who apologizes for something before it even comes out of the oven, is still expressing her repentance as it hits your mouth and likely won't believe you if you say it's good (until I taste it for myself, that is, and then I find things I'd do differently -- the mark of the ever-struggling perfectionist). But they were decent. The two batches got baked in different ovens because dorm ovens are tiny (as are dorm kitchenettes - six of my friends packed in there to watch me bake, and there wasn't room to move), and the first batch (pictured) came out more golden and crunchy and the second a little lighter and moister. Both had delightfully crispy tops (that were slightly sweeter and gooier the next day) and chewy centers.

I would have liked to see both batches be more moist (especially upon tasting the next day - they dried out more and became tougher even when placed in an air-tight container) with more banana-y flavor. My bananas weren't as overripe as they could have been, so let them rot! Also, I'd probably add another half to full banana to it (reflected if you follow the recipe below) for moisture. Shame on me for attempting to stretch ingredients. In terms of spices, the nutmeg definitely came out, but I couldn't really taste the cinnamon - it might have gotten overwhelmed by the chocolate (my assistant friend, looking darling in his apron, definitely dumped in more than the recipe called for). I'd like to try this recipe again, maybe with walnuts and another teaspoon or so of cinnamon, and see how they come out.

At least hungry college students aren't picky.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from
Makes about 24 muffins

6 medium extremely ripe bananas
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (I used whole)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4-6 tablespoons chocolate chips (use this amount or less - it can overwhelm the other flavors)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (add more if you're a cinnamon fan - we couldn't taste it!)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line or grease your muffin tins. Note: My muffins got stuck to the paper - perhaps a product of them being on the dryer side. Be careful!
3. Mash bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
4. Whisk in the eggs, milk and sugars.
5. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a smaller bowl.
6. Combine the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Note: Over-mixing may also have occurred. So much food faux-pas!
7. Fold in chocolate chips (or walnuts, or whatever you fancy) until just combined.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

P.S. Anyone know anything about this book? I came across it in a used bookstore and am considering ordering it off Amazon. I've resisted pretty cookbooks until this point in my life, but my resolve is breaking (especially for 17 cents plus shipping the promise of delicious recipes).

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