Cooking freestyle is the way I like to roll. I may look at recipes for ideas, but then I enjoy messing around with them or combining a couple of different recipes for the same dish, taking certain elements from each and adding my own twists. I don't typically measure unless it seems critical. This is why baking makes me crazy. I am in panic mode the whole time worried that I am going to totally mess up a recipe, wasting time and a bunch of ingredients, because I am 16 granules of sugar short because I didn't quite level off the measuring cup. God forbid I reach for the baking SODA, only to find out I only have POWDER, and I've already got a mess of eggs, butter and brown sugar ungracefully mixed together in a bowl, so I need surge forward, baking soda or not.
And speaking of mess, I usually make a pretty big one when attempting to bake. Cleaning up the flour tornado that seemed to have passed through my kitchen, and getting the goop off the wire beaters is laborious. Then, there's the whole cooling process that I need to be patient about so I don't lose half the banana bread (for example) because it's still stuck to the bottom of the pan, and then have to try to squish it back together. I also worry every time I'm greasing a pan since I'm usually trying to use something that's not aerosol or made of lard, so I'm never sure my substitute greaser is going to do the job. I find the whole process exhausting, really.
On a positive note, there is something appealing about the scientific side of baking. Perhaps if I took the time to understand it better, I might enjoy it. I've erroneously thought this about football though, too. The major difference I can see with baking, however, is at the end of a couple of hours, I have a tasty treat to enjoy. With football, I'd only be left with the feeling that I just wasted many hours of my life that I can't get back.
Last week, I was left with four very ripe bananas, and already had plenty of frozen bananas to use for smoothies, so something had to be done. I ended up making a banana bread AND banana chocolate chip muffins. If you had tried either of these, you'd probably be able to tell that I am fond of chocolate and banana together. I added chocolate chips to the bread as well, and was a bit heavy handed. I found I like making muffins because they don't take long to cook, and they are cute.
I got this particular recipe from my friend, Kathy. I think the actual recipe calls for more all purpose flour than whole wheat but I flipped it, because that's what Kathy does. I consulted my friend Sallie about this, since she used to work at a bakery. She told me you can substitute whole wheat flour for all purpose. It will just be more dense and a little drier.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tspn ground flax (optional)
2 tspns baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c canola oil
1/3 c 1% lowfat milk (I used soy milk)
1 tspn vanilla
1/2 c mini chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Lightly oil 12 muffin cups
3. Whisk together both flours wheat germ, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
4. Combine the eggs, sugar, oil milk and vanilla in a medium size bowl.
5. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix. Fold together and add chocolate chips.
6. Pour evenly into muffin cups.
7. Bake for 20 minutes.
8. Let cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes before taking the muffins out.