Rainy days get the creative juices flowing

When it feels like the entire contents of the Atlantic Ocean are being emptied on my rooftop, I think God’s telling me to spend some quality time in my kitchen. (For further confirmation, see thunder and lightning.) I love baking on rainy days. It pretty much forces you to get creative with whatever’s sitting around the kitchen.

Today’s inspiration: super-spotted bananas.

I know bananas are supposed to be “perfectly ripe” when the speckles are showing, but I like ’em when they’re completely yellow with just a tinge of green around the stem. The mushy texture is a bit off-putting for me.

Unfortunately, my pickiness with bananas leaves me with a very small window of prime eating time. What to do with all those freckly bananas? Turn them into . . .

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The way of all overly ripe bananas, these muffins are perfect if you’re in the mood for a quick baking adventure. It really only takes about an hour (unlike the longterm commitment that comes with baking bread), and you can dress it up with pretty much anything you like!

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I tried to differentiate them by sprinkling some of the mix-ins on top, but you can always skip that if you like surprises.

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I like variety, so I divided my muffin batter into four different bowls for four different mix-in combinations. There’s something for everyone!

  1. For those who are a little nutty and like a crunch in every bite, I threw some chopped almonds into the mix.
  2. If you’re a sweet tooth (like me!), good old chocolate chips are the way to go!
  3. My all time favourite banana partner is peanut butter (thanks, Elvis!). Peanut butter chips are just what the King of Rock and Roll ordered.
  4. Finally, for all those indecisive people out there. (Don’t worry. I didn’t forget about you!) I made one with everything: almonds, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. So you don’t have to choose.
Clockwise from top left: chocolate-chip, everything, almond, peanut butter. Take your pick!
Clockwise from top left: chocolate-chip, everything, almond, peanut butter. Take your pick!

CIMG2089A tip for anyone trying to make a variety like me: It helps to sprinkle the top of the muffin with the same ingredient you mixed into the batter. (For example, throw a few chocolate chips on top of the choco-banana combo.) It helps tell them apart without having to take a bite out of each one.

The verdict

These muffins out pretty good! I may have overdone it with the almonds (there was a lot to chew on!), but the base was yummy. It’s not too sweet, but you sweet-tooths can easily adjust that with a few more chocolate chips.

The cool part is, they don’t taste as healthy as I thought! They taste “full flavour” to me even though the ingredients don’t look that scary for your arteries:

  • Half-and-half whole wheat and all-purpose flour
  • quick oats
  • Skim milk
  • one egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I think I could cut that to 1/4 if you’re planning on using mix-ins for different flavours.)
  • applesauce instead of oil – this is probably the coolest baking tip I picked up. It works in most baking recipes. I didn’t believe it ’til I tried it.

So I may have fallen back a steps on the healthy metre with my chocolate and peanut butter chips, but that’s all optional. Not too shabby for a rainy day baking experiment – the perfect way to close off the weekend.

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