Banana muffins did not become a part of American cuisine until the second half of the 20th century. Last night when I was looking for a scratch recipe for the muffins I could not find a recipe in any of my old cook books. I had always made the Bisquick recipe off of the back of the box. No wonder, I didn’t have one until I bought my last cook book a few years ago. There are so many recipes for banana muffins on the internet that it is easy to find one but they are really creative with the ingredients that you may not have on hand. Many of the new cook books have muffin recipes that go way over board with fat and sugar not counting on things like imported spices not commonly found at the local store.
The old cook books start to show banana bread in the 1930’s but the muffins are simple quick breads slightly sweeten. Most common is corn muffins and raisin muffins. Later you see fruited muffins like blueberry and apple in cook books. According to Wikipedia, Chiquita Banana Co promoted recipes for banana’s in their 1950 little cook book. I know in the late 1950’s Bisquick add the banana muffin recipe on the back of their box and I started making banana muffins in the summer time when I was home from school. For years they kept it on the back of their box. Banana muffins, dumplings and shortcake was the things I made from Biquick. That was why I bought it.
Around 2000 I fell in love with a little kitchen ware shop that was featuring baking pans and bundt pans from Nordicware. In the window in the fall was maple leaf shaped muffin pan that spoke to me. I thought about it for a couple of weeks and finely gave in and went back and bought it. It was an expensive purchase for me even then because it was $28. The charming clerk told me to get Bakers Joy spray to use with the pan and be generous with it, that way nothing would stick. I have enjoyed the pan ever since and bought a second one a few years ago even though my money was scares when Walmart had them for half price. One pan only held 6 muffins and most recipes I made were for 12 muffins. I have gotten my money’s worth out of the pans and my collection of Nordicware is one of my favorite kitchen tools I have.
Here is the basic banana muffin recipe that I put together last night. I didn’t want to use butter, butter milk, sour cream, spices, chocolate or baking mixes, just simple, in the pantry, ingredients that were low cost. Just like the simple muffins in the old cook books I have. I think I got it right because all 12 muffins are now gone. It didn’t take them long to disappear.
Basic Banana Muffin
Preheat oven 400 degrees and grease or spray 12 muffin cup pan. Do not use paper cup cake liners the muffins will stick to them when you eat them.
Sift together and set a side:
- 1 3/4 cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In large mixing bowl mix:
- 2/3 cup mashed banana
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup milk
Beat wet ingredients until well blended. Add half dry ingredients and mix on slow speed then add rest beating on slow speed first and on medium speed for a minute to blend. Spoon into greased muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and flip out of pan to finish cooling. Mini muffins only take half the time to bake so set the timer for them at 8 minutes.
This is just a simple recipe to use up ripe bananas that would go to waste. If you want to make just plain muffins, just leave out the bananas and add 1/4 cup milk more to the recipe. You can add a few raisins or chocolate chips to it if you like. A streusel top can be made of equal parts of brown sugar, flour, and butter. I usually make it 2 tablespoons each. and mix it with my fingers until it is crumbly. Top before baking. Don’t use margarine it is too soft to crumble. If I don’t have butter I use shortening. I found many depression coffee cakes that used shortening in the streusel just add a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to the shortening streusel to give it some flavor. For you dieters sugar is considered a liquid in a baking recipe, so when you reduce the volume of sugar you must put something in its place like apple sauce or baby food plums. Or you will have little hard muffins.
Historically muffins has been a simple fair that was eaten by common folks. This recipe is a good addition to your recipes to have when your are out of money and out of ideas.