By Patrick Engel
I'm not here to trash-talk cupcakes in this blog. I don't have a problem with cupcakes. They're cute, and everybody loves them (and I can make and eat them like a champion), but cupcakes are dessert
. Muffins, meanwhile, are a healthy snack.
At least they should
One thing in the food world that really whips my cream is when the not so healthy is passed off as healthy. The word "muffin" sounds like it should be a healthy snack. It congers up images of oats, bran, raisins and all kinds of good stuff that any smart kid would want to avoid. That's why we parents make them look like cupcakes - to trick our children into eating healthy stuff! How many raisins did you accidentally eat as a kid thinking they were chocolate chips?
The irony now is that I think we're
(meaning us consumers) are the ones being tricked into eating cupcakes masquerading as muffins! Not to single out any one establishment, but just go to your nearest fast food joint, big box store or even the grocer's bakeshop, and see what constitutes a muffin nowadays. Chocolate chips, caramel kisses, blueberry "product"? Who's kidding who now? It's like the tail is wagging the dog. I'll be blunt:
LEAVING THE ICING OFF OF A CUPCAKE DOES NOT MAKE IT A MUFFIN!
There, I feel better. On with the show. Or to be exact, with this recipe ...Banana Bread Muffins
(printer friendly pdf
My mother-in-law Gail gets the acclaim for this particular recipe. It came home with Charlie after a day at Granny's place back in 2010, and the recipe has lived on my fridge ever since. It works well as a loaf (but you'd better call it a "cake" if you add chocolate chips and icing!
), though I often make it as muffins for an easy travelling snack or for school lunches.
It's a simple and kid-friendly recipe. Charlie and Johnny help out with recipe reading and writing ...
... measuring, egg cracking and banana smushery. While these muffins have a bit of sugar, the eggs, yogurt, whole wheat flour and bananas remove the guilt factor.
You'll need ...
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Here's what you do ...
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of your mixer, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In another mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, oil, brown sugar and vanilla, and mix well.
4. While mixing on low speed, gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry until combined.
5. Add the smushed bananas, and continue to mix for another minute.
6. Pour mixture into muffin tins. (Use muffin cup liners; they'll save you a lot of sticking - and a lot of scrubbing.)
7. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, don't put icing on them, and enjoy!
Cheffer's Inside Scoop
- If your kids don't love bananas, substitute an equal amount of cooked apples or applesauce. Or if you really want to get all crazy, try grated zucchini.
- You can up the quantity of whole wheat flour, but it does have less gluten (read "hold-together-ability") so don't fully eliminate the all-purpose flour.
- You can add raisins, currants, pecans or grated carrots, with pretty good results.
- Try replacing the yogurt with buttermilk or sour cream.
- These muffins freeze well - if they stick around that long!
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||Patrick Engel has been cooking professionally for 15 years. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto, and training in the kitchens of Rodney's Oyster House and Bymark Restaurant, Patrick relocated to Niagara's wine region, working at Inn on the Twenty, followed by six years as resident chef instructor at The Good Earth Cooking School. Patrick is currently the chef at Hospice Niagara's Stabler Centre and associate chef at The Garrison House in Niagara-on-the Lake. Patrick lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Marnie, and their two boys, Charlie (7) and Johnny (5).
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