Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Since it’s still November, I’m still allowed to make pumpkin things.  I recently had an early morning class field trip, so I decided that it would be nice to bring some muffins along.  I had a few very ripe bananas, so my initial plan was to find a good banana muffin recipe, but during my search I found something even better: a pumpkin banana muffin recipe.  To make the muffins a little more interesting I decided to add some chocolate chips and walnuts.  Basically whenever I can add nuts or chocolate, I will.

The muffins turned out fairly dense and quite moist which was great.  The original recipe called for whole wheat flour, or at least a combination of white and whole wheat.  I typically jump at the chance to use whole wheat flour, but in this instance I had just bought some white flour that I wanted to use up, so I used all white.  I love recipes that are adaptable to what you have on hand!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Yeilds 24 muffins, adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour/1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips (depending on how chocolaty you want it)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line the muffin tins with liners, or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together pumpkin puree, oil, and mashed bananas with an electric mixer.  Gradually add eggs and vanilla until mixture is well combined.
  4. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients to the wet, and finally add walnuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 13-15 minutes for normal sized muffins (a little shorter if you make minis).
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Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

When it comes to cookie recipes, one thing I have yet to fully master is the aspect of a recipe that makes the cookies chewy or crispy, cakey or crunchy.  I realize that it is likely a combination of ingredients that determines these factors, but it perplexes me.  I often have attempted recipes that claim “chewy” but come out crunchy.  Is it my fault, or the recipe’s fault?

I think it’s a combination of the two.  From my limited experience I would assume that a combination of the fat choice (butter, oil, shortening) along with the number of eggs, has a large effect on the texture of a cookie.  More eggs would be more cakey, and the softer the fat, the softer the cookie.  I’ve even heard that using melted butter rather than typical room temperature butter, will make cookies softer.  Also over-mixing the batter leads to developing too much gluten, which leads to harder cookies.

All this being said I tried a “chewy” oatmeal cookie recipe from Martha, because if there’s one type of cookie that I love to be “chewy,” it’s an oatmeal cookie.  Her original recipe only called for dried cherries, but I swapped those out for chocolate chunks, walnuts, and craisons.  While not quite as chewy as one of those classic large oatmeal cookies at a local bakery, I think this recipe lives up to the chewy title.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yields about 40 cookies depending on size, adapted from a Martha Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup AP Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup craisons
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chunks
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat together butter, brown sugar, and honey until fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add flour mixture in gradually.
  5. Add in oats, chocolate, craisons, and walnuts.  Mix until just combined, try not to over mix.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop to portion out equal cookie dough balls about 2 tablespoons each.  Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely.