Banana oatmeal muffins

What’s driving me to bake in the middle of this infernal summer? Maybe it’s heatstroke. Or maybe it’s the surplus of overripe fruit in the house. And it just might have something to do with the cute new cupcake wrappers I ordered off eBay.

I had three mushy bananas sitting on the counter that needed to be dealt with. I had the idea to toss them into a muffin of some sort. Since I didn’t have a tried and trusted banana muffin recipe, I figured I’d be just as well off throwing together the usual suspects, er, ingredients and seeing what came out — after all, if you fall back on the more-or-less standard proportions of flour, eggs, fat, liquid and leavening that appear in most recipes, plus some flavor elements such as fruit and sugar, and bake at a rather standard 180 degrees Celsius, you can’t really go wrong.

In fact, this combination of ingredients is so standard that you could probably make this batter, pour it into a loaf pan and bake it into a banana bread, spoon scoops of it into a frying pan and get pancakes, or pour into a waffle iron and get waffles.

Most fruit/vegetable based breads contain oil, but I decided to use butter instead. I wouldn’t say these muffins had a very prominent butter flavor, but they weren’t quite as moist (read: oily) as their peers made with oil.

In fact, these muffins aren’t overloaded with any one ingredient — just enough oats to create a mild bite of texture and flavor, a bit of walnut here and there, and a mild banana flavor. They’re paler than most, because I used baking powder and not baking soda, but they’ll develop a light golden color by the time they’re fully baked. They’re especially nice when slightly warm.

For 12-14 standard-sized muffins:

2-3 ripe, mushy bananas
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup demarara sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal (non-instant is fine)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
1/2 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon (=1 bag) baking powder

If your oven needs preheating, set it to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).

Use a fork to mash the butter with the bananas. Both should be soft enough that this is possible.

Beat in the sugar, chopped walnuts, oatmeal, eggs, vanilla and salt. Add the flour, alternating it with the yogurt. Add the baking powder right before baking.

Scoop into paper-lined cupcake tins. I put about 1/4 cup into each paper, filling them until about 1/2 centimeter from the top, which meant the muffins rose into round domes while baking.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out dry, and the tops are golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

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