Easy Recipe with Kids: Banana Muffins
Words Rebecca Ulanoff
Confession time: I went to culinary school, but I can’t bake. At all. Something about the precision required for most recipes just eludes me. One time I started an oven fire baking oatmeal cookies, but that’s another story altogether. When my daughter was old enough to help out in the kitchen, I figured we should make things together that she’d like to eat, so I had to confront my baking aversion head on.
Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I feared and to date, Iris and I have made many batches of Mark Bittman’s Banana Loaf. It’s incredibly easy and works—even when you really, really, really improvise. Like when you have no regular flour and use all whole-wheat, or when you leave out the walnuts (because what three-year-old likes nuts?), or use all brown sugar instead of white sugar (or as much as you can wrestle out of their grubby little mitts). You get the picture.
The last time we made this recipe, we used our muffin pan, and it turned out just as good. Here’s the real recipe, feel free to improvise.
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Banana Bread
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus some for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour OR 2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
2. Mix together the dry ingredients. With a hand mixer or a whisk, cream the butter (or just microwave it and call it a day) and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; stir just enough to combine. It’s OK if there are lumps. Gently stir in the vanilla and shredded coconut.
3. Pour the batter into the loaf pan (or muffin pan) and bake for 45 to 60 minutes (25 to 35 minutes if you’re making muffins), until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean when it is done, but because of the bananas, this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.