[Bake and freeze, for those days when life is too hard to make toast.]
When January 1 was just a glimmer on the horizon, I started thinking about making some resolutions--something I don't usually make, but I felt up to it this year. I'm turning 40, why not resolve to do something to improve my life, or better yet, some things? I spent a few weeks toying with ideas, but I didn't want to make any resolutions that were going to set me on a sure course to fail. If there's one thing I've learned in all these years as a human, it's that failing myself doesn't feel good.
I did not resolve to exercise three times a week, or to go on a diet, or to read 52 books this year. I did resolve, however, to eat breakfast every day.
I've become a breakfast-skipper over the past few years, and it's not something I'm proud of. I LOVE breakfast, don't get me wrong. But my work schedule is such that sometimes I sleep till...well...till 10 or 11 in the morning: practically lunchtime. So there have been many days when I've had to skip breakfast just due to timing concerns. Most of the time, I'm up plenty early for breakfast, but I get too busy doing Nothing Productive on the interwebs and I neglect my hunger pangs, sending my whole entire day into a tizzy. So since January 1, I've been trying hard to eat something for breakfast every single morning, whether it's toast and jam, a quesadilla, or when I'm really feeling it, a smoothie. But sometimes life gets too hard even for toast. Sometimes you have a bad cold, or the winter doldrums, or you're unable to imagine preparing any sort of food fit for anyone. I have had these mornings lately. Yesterday, I got tough, and baked a batch of my favorite banana-nut muffins to freeze so I will always--at least until this batch runs out--have something to start my engine in the morning. Not a bad way to start it, I might add.
This recipe is one of my long-standing, tried-and-true faves. I don't know where I got the original or what I changed about it, but I've been making it for a long, long time. These are cakey, buttery muffins veering just short of cupcake status. Bake them up, wrap each one individually in plastic, and toss them all in a big freezer bag. They'll thaw on the kitchen counter in under an hour. P.s.: Add chocolate chips if you like.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar (I use a scant cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large)
- 3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans (I toast them in a small, dry skillet until fragrant)
- Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.*
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. Stir in banana with a rubber spatula.
- Add dry ingredients to banana mixture, stirring just until moistened (do not overmix). Gently stir in nuts.
- Fill muffin cups almost full, and bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and slightly firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
*Makes 12 muffins, but I usually end up with 11. This is because I like muffins slightly bigger than the way they come out if I make 12, so I just fill 11 cups with batter, and put a little water in the bottom of the empty cup so it doesn't scorch in the oven. Because they're bigger, they take a few extra minutes to bake, but I've got no problem with that.