So, technically I should have been studying for my Calculus AP this afternoon. (It’s tomorrow and I still don’t know what logistic growth is. Eek.) Or out running in Prospect Park. (I’m training for a 5K the first weekend in June. It’s my first ever race.) Or finishing my Senior Portrait for my English class. Or working on a poetry project.
But I had a not-so-great day at school, and then I found an extremely not-great email in my inbox when I got home (Hint: it has to do with a word that looks like but has a vastly different meaning from “collage”) so I chose to do none of those things.
Instead, I made muffins. Banana muffins.
If I were a baked good, I would probably be a banana muffin. Brown and unassuming on the outside, but with a beautiful moist interior. I’d be made with part whole wheat flour, and a half a cup of bran. But I’d also have a generous amount of chocolate chips tossed in my batter. Because no matter how delicious something is, it is always improved by chocolate.
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
4 overripe bananas
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup bran
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon (This is a lot, but I love cinnamon. You can cut this to 1 tsp if you like)
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup pumpkin puree (Martha calls for sour cream but I had leftover pumpkin and decided to make these healthier)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup of toasted pecans, chopped
(I made half of my muffins with pecans and half with chocolate chips. Unfortunately, my sister had friends over and the chocolate chip muffins all got eaten before I could take pictures.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or fill with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Then add sugar, oil, and egg and beat until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture and stir till combined. Do not overmix! Add vanilla and pumpkin and mix until combined. If using chocolate chips or pecans, add those now too.
Fill muffin tins ¾ full and bake about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. (Or ignore your burnt tongue and dive right in!)
This is a picture of the ocean I took while on vacation in Oregon a few years ago. It doesn't have anything to do with banana muffins, but it goes with what I've written below.
I can't think of anything creative relating to banana muffins to write. As I said, it’s been kind of an unhappy day. But I will give you a snippet from my senior portrait, something I've been tinkering with for a while:
The sea the sea, it tumbles and leaps and rolls and calls to me. It laps at the feet of this busy island city and calls to me in the darkness. At night, when my mind is wandering and the trees cast moon-shadows on my wall, I hear the eerie whistles and low bellows of ships in the harbor, the raucous honking of tugboats in the East River, and pieces of my heart seem to jump out of my skin and sail straight out my open window. I shift position, arms and legs sticky with sweat under the single sheet that is all I can bear on these sweltering summer nights, and try to make myself comfortable in my overly soft, unnecessarily warm bed. I pray for a breeze and try not to mind when it comes bearing the smell of salt and the promise of freedom.