Friday, July 19, 2013

Best Banana Muffins

How do you like your muffins?
Some people like them crumbly. Some like them cakey. Some like them cup-cakey sweet, while others like them breakfasty and hearty. Some like them big, really big. There are muffins out there (they may or may not be from dunkin donuts) that hold 800 calories in their unthreatening paper wrappers.

I do like mine cakey. If I want something crumbly I can buy a scone (although my homemade scones are tender. recipe in a post from march 19th...). But not too sweet. I mean they're not dessert, right? I will probably be eating them in the morning, so...

This is my favorite muffin recipe! Adapted loosely from Dorie Greenspans "Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips", I've turned it into muffins and never looked back. Because of the bananas it's always moist, even when I've forgotten to set the timer, and it even works with wheat-free flours. Also, because of those bananas, it has a lot of natural sweetness so I've cut the sugar a bit.

To be politically correct I will say that the chocolate chips are optional, but we both know better than that.

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Banana Muffins w/ Chocolate Chips

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or wheat free flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
1 stick of room temp butter
3/4  or 2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed a little ( I keep bags of paired very ripe bananas in the freezer, in case of emergencies...)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
chocolate chips til it looks sufficiently chocolate chipy

Oven at *350. Whisk flour baking soda and salt together,

In a large bowl beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and beat until smooth and shiny.

Add bananas, mashing a little if needed but leaving some banana pieces.

Mix in half the dry ingredients. Stir in yogurt. Pour chocolate chips in and then add the rest of the flour mixture on top. As you stir these in the flour will coat the chocolate chips and keep them from all sinking to the bottom.

Line muffin pan with cups, and fill. I have trouble getting a full dozen because I like mine full, but you get 12 medium sized ones. I think this is because it was originally a perfect sized loaf recipe.
If you have an empty muffin cup just fill it halfway with water. After taking out the paper cup.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and they don't look wet in the peak.

Cool just slightly, then devour.

Homemade Chive Chip Dip (and how to make tzatziki)

how telling is a pretty picture of untouched food? food is guaranteed good when it's gone...

Very rarely do I "throw things together". I do make things up and play with swapping one ingredient for another. In fact, it's almost impossible for me to get through a recipe without swapping one thing for another... But very often if I'm making a dish from my head I've thought about it before hand. I may have even lain awake in bed running through the contents of my fridge and cupboard, pairing flavors with textures. Or I may have read a recipe and taken the basic technique but, well, not and then I change everything else about it, too.

But yesterday I threw something together and I was very excited when it worked.

I had some tzatziki (cucumber yogurt salad) in the refrigerator that needed to be used up, maybe half a cup. I strained some yogurt (about a cup and half) and added a handful of minced chives. Then I stirred it into the tzatziki and added a liberal shaking of salt. I let it sit form lunch time to dinner time and then served it with potato chips.
It was so good! It was like an onion dip because the load of chives versus anything else, but the cucumber shavings gave the whole thing a coolness beyond the yogurt alone. I'm definitely doing this again. Although, it will probably be a little different...

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Tzatziki template
a quart of plain yogurt
2 cucumbers grated
a handful of chopped dill (some people also add mint, but I like mine with unadulterated dill)
lemon juice (or you could use lime)
salt and pepper

Strain your yogurt over a glass measuring cup using wet cheese cloth or wet paper towel overnight for the whole day at room temp.
Meanwhile, salt the cucumbers slightly and drain them for a couple hours.
Squeeze them as dry as you can and add to the thick (greek) yogurt. Add the dill and stir. Mix in lemon and salt/pepper to taste.