Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Which I Get Creative and Learn About Pans

When I received my copy of You Made That Dessert? I went through and put in sticky notes to mark all the stuff I wanted to make. Then my husband did the same thing. And my daughter. The poor book looks like it got ambushed in a Post-it note war!

When I had a pile of bananas going south on my counter I remembered the promising recipe in there for Peanut Butter Banana bread. Except I didn't want to make bread. I wanted to make muffins. I love how muffins are just hand-sized; perfect for grabbing on the way out the door, sitting by a mug of tea at breakfast time, or as a snack for a child who's knife skills don't extend to non-massacre of a loaf.

As I understand it, basically any quick bread loaf can be converted to muffins. I was unsure, though, about how many muffins the recipe would yield and how long cooking time should be. I greased up my trusty standard muffin tin that my mother-in-law gave me years and years ago and filled the wells two-thirds full. It yielded 17 muffins. Odd number. Which got me to thinking. I've made muffins before and the numbers didn't quite match up. So I went to the source - Martha. According to Cupcakes, a standard-sized muffin tin should hold 4 oz. of batter. Assuming this meant 4 fluid oz (which is the stupidest unit of measure EVER) I poured 1/2 a cup of water into my tin. Well, I tried. My tin would only hold about 2/3 to 3/4 of that amount. What???

Apparently at some time in the last 20 years, the size of standard muffins, not unlike the size of standard Americans, has been revised upward. I've been baking with insufficient muffin tins! That would explain why some muffin recipes work and some come out dry and overbaked, or spill over the tin. Rats. Now I need a new tin to bake new recipes, but I also have to hold onto my old tins for my old recipes? And remember which is which? Way too much brain space to devote to muffins, people.

But some muffins are worth it. Like the ones that I made with the bananas. Banana bread with peanut butter stirred in. With chocolate chips. And nuts. Incredibly moist, amazingly delicious. I promise these will be a new favorite, whatever size you make them.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
- adapted from You Made That Dessert?

1-1/4 cups (5.35 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not "natural")
2/3 cup sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I used regular chips and chopped them up a bit)

1- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray.

2- In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the peanut butter and sugar together until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the mashed bananas and eggs and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4- Stir in the flour mixture with a spoon, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chopped nuts and the chocolate chips.

5- Divide the batter between the muffin tin wells, filling the wells 2/3 full. Depending on the size of your tins, you will get between 12 and 17 muffins.

6- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

7- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, the muffins can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also tightly wrap the individual muffins in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

HAHA!! Sounds like all of my cookbooks as well, with all the post-it notes ;)

Glad that the muffins are worth it!!

grace said...

well, lookee here. in addition to a quick muffin lesson, i'm the proud recipient of a stellar muffin recipe. peanut butter and bananas are a marvelous pairing--nicely done.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Peanut butter and bananas, now that is a flavour combination to try!!!!

NKP said...

Mmm, pb and nanners!

Anonymous said...

I have the same issue a lot! Normally results in me opening up the oven door a lot to check if things are baked properly.

CaSaundraLeigh said...

My recipe books have a similar look to em'!!!

And your reference to the size of muffin tins expanding like Americans made me laugh--ha ha! :-)

We Are Not Martha said...

Peanut butter and banana is my dream combination!! Adding in some chocolate doesn't hurt either :)


Anonymous said...

very interesting about the pan size changing over time. i have wondered about why my muffin batter is too much for my pans & i bet that is the reason.

do you have any thoughts on how to natural peanut butter instead? is it more a "sweetness" thing? or does it also have to do w/ consistantcy and/or moisture? for various reasons i only have natural peanut butter in my kitchen.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I do that with the post it notes! Some of the Nigella cookbooks (esp HTBADG) look like they've been assaulted by post its! :P

Barbara said...

Fun posting. Post it notes can be found all over my cookbooks- and on my computer!
Love your muffin recipe- and I agree- sweet breads can always be converted into muffins. I do it all the time- how many muffin tins is always guesswork- I usually end up with part of a muffin tin empty.

Dolce said...

I baked financiers in muffin tins yesterday and litterally had to sit in front of my oven until they were good to go... So I understand your point!!

Maria said...

Oooh, I need to try these and soon!

Melinda said...

Keep finding those banana recipes for me. This sounds delicious to me but my English friends don't like peanut butter the way I am crazy for it. oh...I'll throw in some hard 'ole
raisins, just to keep them happy.

You'll need to post note it on top of your post it note, for the really important recipes. hahaha

Unknown said...

Interesting about the muffin tins. I happened to buy some about a year ago and I noted how large they seemed but they worked for me. Hubby loves everything muffin sized so I turn a lot of recipes into muffins including some that are not cakey like meatloaf muffins.

Muffins can be fun.

Abby said...

PB and banana sandwiches are my FAVE - so I know I'd love these muffins!

I didn't realize, either, that muffin tins had changed sizes. But if there are ever any empty tins when I'm baking a batch I put an ice cube in each one. I don't know if it helps, and I can't remember where I saw it, but it's always worth a shot!

Elle said...

It's true...everything has been supersized, including my waistline. I guess you use whatever muffin tin comes to hand when you have muffin batter and fill 'em 2/3 full, then keep an eye on them as they bake. If they are as yummy as these it is worth making them no matter what tin you use. Love the flavors!

eatme_delicious said...

Mmm these look like the perfect muffin treat! I've got to bake more from that cookbook too. =) I never really thought about the size of muffin tins. Just that there was mini, regular and jumbo! I guess they're less 'regulated' than square and round tins in the size that they are.

Jessica Nunemaker said...

These sound so good!

I make muffins at least once a week -- these are definitely getting baked, and soon!