Monday, March 12, 2012

Banana Muffins a la Edna Staebler

I'm sure everyone's familiar with the concept of food porn, but imagine, for a minute, a book full of useful, practical, adaptable recipes, rather than fanciful pictures of cupcakes and things with sauce dribbled over them. More like a food Sunday Night Sex Show, which isn't a phrase I can see catching on soon. Maybe it's not pretty, but it's helpful, and you can use the information at home tonight.

I'm not sure she'd appreciate the comparison, but Edna Staebler wrote that sort of cookbook. Initially she was a journalist, and then she ended up collecting recipes, wrote a couple books, and lived to 100 on good Mennonite cooking. The Schmecks books have been reprinted, and are available on Amazon, but there were also a series of small, themed books you might still be able to find, though probably not in the US. Just as a sample, here's her recipe for Very Ripe Banana Muffins, with my edits. Make a batch in mini muffin tins, and toddlers will swarm like seagulls.

1 cup of ripe, mashed bananas
1/3 cup oil or melted fat of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup sugar - I prefer the lesser amount, but she liked her muffins sweet
1 tsp salt, or a pinch
1 egg, well beaten, or a flax egg*
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups flour - all purpose, or white whole wheat. It's all good.
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 chopped nuts or chocolate chips, if you want 'em

Mash the bananas. Putting all the ripe bananas on your counter into a Kitchenaid with the paddle attachment is pretty satisfying. Add the oil, sugar, and salt, keep mixing, then add the egg and vanilla, and mix again. Mix the flour, soda and powder, adding nuts or chips if you want, and mix into the wet stuff, just blending, not beating.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes (depending on the muffin tin size). She suggest letting them cool only slightly and serving with tea. That's good advice.

* 1 TB of ground flax + 3 TB of water, zapped until gel-ish = 1 egg. Great for veganizing things, or if you're low on groceries.

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