The beginning of spring inspires me to take stock of the ingredients in my pantry, root cellar and freezer.
Over the winter, I have the tendency to squirrel away bits and pieces of leftover food. Mashed potatoes, ripe bananas, pot roast ends, bread crumbs and more are spooned into jars, labeled and saved, all with the intentions of becoming ingredients for encore meals.
Mashed potato is a wonderful thickener for sauces and soup, pot roast becomes beef stew, and breadcrumbs are stirred into meatloaf or combined with butter to top baked fish and scallops.
The recipe for Banana Maple Muffins is from my archives. The flavor combination of maple and banana is delicious, not too sugary, just sweet enough. Mixing the bananas with the liquid ingredients in the blender and then stirring into the dry ingredients produces a light and delicate morsel, tasty enough for dessert.
We Americans love our morning coffee break, and in particular the snacks. Whole fast-food industries have been built upon this American ritual, which was first introduced as a recruitment tool by the Barcola Manufacturing Co. of New York in 1902. Instead of donuts or other non-healthy processed items, Banana Maple Muffins make the perfect, healthy snack.
In my cooking career, I have always maintained that if people are provided with healthy food options (like real food), their eating pleasure will lead them to make better choices. This holds true for both children and more mature palates.
Sensory research has shown that it often takes humans 20 tastes before developing a liking for certain foods. The irony here is that by restricting the choices we offer our children (think children’s menus) we are actually stunting the development of their taste buds, and limiting the life-long pleasure that comes from good eating.
My joy in life comes from cooking and eating real food. Try making Banana Maple Muffins and experience that joy!
Banana Maple Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup ripe bananas (about 3 to 4)
4 Tbsps. melted butter or oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole meal flour
1-tsp. baking soda
1-tsp. baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat together the ripe bananas, eggs, butter and maple syrup in the bowl of your blender or with an eggbeater.
Stir into the dry mixture, just mixing. Stir in the chocolate chips. Portion into muffin tin and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on a rack. These muffins freeze well and can be packed into lunchboxes.
Nutritional analysis per muffin: 224 calories, 4.3 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, 7.5 grams fat, 168 mg. sodium, 3 grams fiber.