Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mini Banana Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins...

Lately my kids, like buzzy little bees have been swarming me while in the kitchen. They just want to get involved and assist with whatever I'm doing. If I say go, they'll be all over it! Cooking dinner is often not ideal to get their help on a whim. With a small kitchen, sharp knives within reach, several dishes on the go-- over the hot stove elements, in the hot oven, and with three of them darting all over the place, if I am not prepared for their longer stay, I prefer they stay away. But I'm learning to expect it pretty much on a daily basis now, and I'm welcoming it with safety in mind and manageable chores planned ahead. The wonder and curiosity is there, and I know the more I say no, I could extinguish that spark forever... then we go and wonder why later on when we're ready for them, they're not interested any more... real food for thought. Baking however, is super to get everyone hands-on. You set the arena for the recipe-- create the space for your bowls, tools and ingredients, and the last step of you popping it into the ready hot oven gives a sense of control. It may get messy but you feel calmer since there's nary the safety worries. At least that's the case with me...

We love banana blueberry buttermilk pancakes and serve it regularly for weekend brunch... Why not make them into adorable muffins we can enjoy everyday? Muffins are easy bakes and satisfy as a breakfast staple and quick snacks. Making them mini are not only cute but customizable to your family's appetites by number-- versus the regular-sized muffin that could be a commitment to finish in one sitting. 

Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Canadian Living)
Makes 12 muffins or 36 mini muffins

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup buttermilk (don't buy, just make with 2-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar and milk to make 1 cup total-
- let sit for ten minutes to curdle)
1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla. Add in buttermilk and bananas; stir just until combined. Pour and whisk over dry ingredients until well incorporated. 

Two eggs, three kids... who gets to crack them? The tasks has to be devied up fairly so no one feels left out :)

Look at that picture-perfect egg crack and smile!

I love seeing the teamwork and enthusiasm!

Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Sprinkle a few blueberries in each and spoon in batter 3/4 filled. Top with more blueberries (frozen blueberries bleed, and I prefer to see studded blues for contrast).

Bake muffins in 375°F oven for 15 minutes for mini muffins (if only one tray, bake in three batches and use your toaster oven), and 20 to 25 minutes for regular muffins until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks. (Store in airtight containers for up to three days or freeze for up to three months.)

To reheat, place frozen muffins in paper bag and warm in 300°F (150°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

I bake in my toaster oven whenever I can. Yes, I had to do it in three batches with
one mini muffin tray, but I prefer that to wasting oven energy unnecessarily.

Soft, fluffy and delicious with a burst of banana flavour and blueberries! 
Perfect to tote a few for a school snack, as a lunchbox accompaniment or for the road.

The best part ever-- enjoying the fruits of your labour! NOM NOM!

And the best reward for a mom-- seeing the eager smiles on your children's faces after a combined-effort job well-done! See here for more on cooking with kids.

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