Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Muffin Mania

The weather turned to fall overnight. I swear, earlier this week I was sweating all day, the a/c was on, and I dressed B&H in my favorite of their summer clothes, knowing it was one of the last of the hot days. Today, B&H are wearing longsleeves, pants, and even jackets for our morning walk. It's so chilly that I got the hankerin' for baking!

I had a bunch of super-ripe bananas laying around, so wandered over to Weelicious to see what sorts of recipes she had for banana bread or muffins. I have made her pancakes, and they are delicious, but we have some in the freezer, so I wanted something bread-ier. This recipe caught my eye - mostly because of the chocolate, but also because it's muffins. I've tried to make banana breads for the past 10 years and they rarely turn out. But muffins. Muffins I can do!

Weelicious Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar -- I used plain old regular sugar
1 Large Egg
2/3 Cup Milk
3 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 Ripe Bananas, mashed
3/4 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips*

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the honey, egg, milk, oil, and mashed bananas.
4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into greased or lined muffin cups, about 2/3 of the way up, and bake for 18 minutes.
6. Cool and serve.**

* Omit chocolate for babies, or as desired.
** Place muffins in labeled bags to freeze for up to 3 months.

I got 12 muffins, 6 with chips and 6 without, out of the recipe and had enough batter left over to make a little banana pancake. So I got to taste the results while the muffins were baking. Delish! When the babies get up from their nap, they will indulge in a chocolate-less muffin with their lunch. I'm sure they'll love it.

After the successful banana muffin turnout, I decided to use up some of my plethora of zucchini and make some muffins. This time I headed to another of my favorite sites, Simply Recipes. I utilize this site for nearly everything - breads, cookies, soups, meat, etc. She literally has a recipe for EVERYTHING! I knew the zucchini muffins would not disappoint.

Simply Recipes Zucchini Muffins

3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter1
1/3 cup sugar2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the zucchini mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins or cranberries if using.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

Don't they look delish?

(You'll have to forgive my terrible phography talents.... I really have no idea how to take appetizing food photos. In fact, this photo was taken on my iPhone!)

Of course I had to taste-test the muffins, and they ARE delicious! I'm sad to be informed that the zucchini ones have 8 PointsPlus values per muffin and the banana chocolate chip ones have 5 PointsPlus. Needless to say, I'll be skipping Weight Watchers today.

But, babies don't care how man points are in each muffin. Look how much they LOVE them!

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