cherry banana bran muffins / humble muffins

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You know that scene in Good Will Hunting (my all time favorite movie) where Matt Damon’s character (Will) is telling Minnie Driver’s character about how math and organic chemistry make sense to him? He explains by saying Mozart could just sit down at a piano and play, and the music made sense, the piano was basically an extension of himself. Will goes on to say that chemistry and math is like that to him, it just works.

Organic chemistry and math do not make me feel that way. They make me feel the opposite. However, I feel that way about cooking and baking, it makes sense to me. Not that I’m a kitchen genius on caliber with Mozart or the fictional Will Hunting, but it comes more naturally to me than anything else. I’m a visual, hands on type of learner, so the handling of food and changing it with heat or by chopping and mixing, it all feels so right. Plus I like to finish things. Making a meal and it’s preparation has a clear start and finish, and for me, that can help calm the crazy of a chaotic day/week/decade. I can get in the kitchen and just focus. It’s just me, the ingredients and a plan, that sometimes doesn’t fully develop until the food or meal is completed. It’s the kind of creative therapy that I think every soul needs to help sift through this insane life. There is PLENTY in my life that is crazy and doesn’t make sense: math, budgets, the future, wide leg jeans, Birkenstock’s (WHY?!) and words like “fleek” and the whole “selfie” concept. Oh Lord come quickly.
I digress.

bananas and cherries

bananas and cherries

But lately, I’ve been off my game. Last Friday I burned a pizza. I make pizza all the time! I never burn the pizza. I was going to share the recipe with you and it was going to be delicious- it was a new square crust recipe I was trying, topped with mozzarella, fresh basil, pepperonis, purple onions and sauce from home-grown tomatoes. But when the oven timer went off, the bottom was midnight black and hard enough to become a shiv if handled properly. An utter failure. I have no idea what went wrong. (you better believe we scraped the toppings off and ate the top part anyway, because cheese and pepperonis are too dang expensive to go to waste around these parts) Saturday I made roasted garlic soup with this coconut and parmesan broth, which would have been great except I forgot to remove the parmesan rinds before blending the soup, which meant I had to strain the soup three times and then it had this burnt taste. I dunno, I was experimenting. Whatever, you cant win ’em all!

crappy lighting and strategic photo so you don't see my wreck of a kitchen

crappy lighting and strategic photo so you don’t see my wreck of a kitchen

That brings me to these muffins. They’re humble. They’re unassuming. They have fruit and oatmeal. They make good breakfast food, or an afternoon snack with tea. I made them Saturday night after I ruined the soup hoping to redeem my kitchen skills and they were warm and comforting. Sunday I sliced one open and toasted it with a little butter and a drizzle of honey. It was a good decision.

morning muffin with coffee and banana buttons with cinnamon

morning muffin with coffee and banana buttons with cinnamon

If I’m being honest, these muffins are more healthy than they are tasty. Which is probably why I elected to remedy that by toasting them with honey and butter. But they were easy and I didn’t have to go shopping for any of the ingredients and now I have breakfast for the whole week. They were a success and I needed a win, which is what these were. My musings (and apparently a haiku) over breakfast with these muffins: It’s a new week with new adventures, in and out of the kitchen! Grace for the moment, people. Onward!

Cherry Banana Bran Muffins
Adapted from Deb’s recipe here. I’m planning on making these again, but I’m going to use different fruit and maybe throw in some nuts. I’ll use whole wheat flour next time instead of all-purpose, and maybe not the oats either. Basically I’ll make a new recipe! But do what works for you.

This makes 12 standard muffins

1 1/3 cups whole milk greek yogurt, thinned with a little milk (you could also use buttermilk, this is just what I had)
1 large egg
1/3 cup oil (I used what we had: canola)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 cups of oats, pulsed in the food processor until coarse, or other type of wheat bran
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3/4 to 1 cup chopped mixed fruit: Deb notes anything but citrus or pineapple will work. I used bananas and frozen cherries

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin or line your tin with muffins papers.

Whisk together the yogurt, egg, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and zest in a small bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, folding together until just combined and a bit rough.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of fruit. Spoon the remaining batter evenly over the muffins, about 1 tablespoon. I had just enough batter. I sprinkled the tops with raw sugar.

Bake the muffins for a total of 16 to 18 minutes (I needed 20), rotating pan once about 10 minutes in to make sure they brown evenly. They will be browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center will have just a few crumbs on it- that’s how you know they are done. Try not to over-bake. Let them cool in their pan for about 10-15 minutes then remove them. I like my muffins with tea, coffee, a hefty pat of butter and a side of fruit.

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