Wordless Wednesdays

Friday, March 9, 2012

Going Bananas

Dear friends, gather 'round. I'm going to tell you a story. A little bit closer. Okay, that's good. Ready? Here we go.

Once upon a time, there was a gal named Mary who had this dreadful habit of buying too many bananas from the grocery store. Every. Single. Week. Without fail, too many bananas. Well, this past week was no different. EXCEPT...Mary went bananas and bought even MORE bananas than her usual surplus. And since Mary is of the very strong opinion that there is a 12-hour window in which to consume a perfectly ripe banana (just descending from greenness), it became quite apparent that drastic culinary measures needed to be taken. And so...she went bananas.

First, there were New England Banana Muffins.

Do not let their rustic appearance fool you. They are delicious, hearty, and even healthy. We love them for a special breakfast treat.

And then there was the classic Banana Bread (I omit the candied ginger and the nuts) from my dear friend (who does not even know I exist), Molly Wizenberg. Somehow I managed to take absolutely no pictures whatsoever of the Banana Bread. No matter. I'm quite sure I've posted pics of the banana bread before. And lastly (but not leastly- HA), there were Brown Butter Banana Bread Cookies from my new best friend (who also has not the foggiest idea who I am), the Iowa Girl from the Iowa Girl Eats blog. You know when you start a recipe by melting and browning and entire stick of butter, there's greatness just around the corner.

I must admit, I was a little leery of such a strong combination of spices- a teaspoon EACH of cinnamon, cloves, AND nutmeg- whew!!

But you know what? It was perfectly lovely. I LOVED the spiciness of these cookies. In fact, I loved it so much, I forgot to take pictures of the finished product. AGAIN. I'm such a responsible blogger. Well, you can click on the link and enjoy all of Iowa Girl's great pictures to go along with the recipe. A word of caution concerning these cookies: Do. Not. Underbake. Because of the cake-like texture, they need to be fully, fully baked. It's not like a chocolate chip cookie, where you actually want to ever-so-slightly underbake them, then allow them to set on the cooling rack. Nope. I had the misfortune of slightly underbaking one cookie sheet of these, and they were definitely a wee bit soggy on top. The second cookie sheet was perfectly done, and they were delicious; soft, slightly puffy, and infused with all of those wonderful spices. I didn't even make the frosting and they were still such a treat. AND GUESS WHAT? After all of my crazy banana-ness, I had only one rotting banana left, so I happily stuck it in the freezer for a future smoothie. No waste- YES.

The moral of the story is this: When you accidentally buy too many bananas at the grocery store, simply go bananas. Now what on earth am I going to do with those three overripe bananas sitting on my countertop...will I ever learn, dear friends? Probably not. Here's the recipe for the New England Banana Muffins.

New England Banana Muffins- adapted from "Mad About Muffins", by Dot Vartan

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. wheat germ
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. granulated (or brown) sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 medium bananas, mashed
4 tablespoons whole milk
4 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup (Keep it real here, folks. NO AUNT JEMIMA.)

-Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix in the sugar.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, beaten egg, vanilla extract, bananas, milk, and maple syrup and beat with a fork until well blended. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned. Serve warm. Makes one dozen muffins.

We just love these, and I hope you do, too. :-)

What are your favorite ways to use up ripe bananas? Cakes? Pies? Bananas Foster? Do tell!

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