Panda speaks: Banana Nut(ella) Muffins

So Pandagirl has Home & Careers as an elective this quarter.  Back in the day we called this Home Ec, but whatever.  They do a unit on table manners, I can’t wait.  Sorry.  Love the kiddipookykins to pieces but for the love of Mike, please close your mouth when you eat, and hello – that thing is called a fork?!  I’m also a little weary of the constant tutorials of “This thing is a dining room chair, and that thing over there is a closet.  Don’t confuse the two.” Followed by throwing a jacket across the room to make the point.

Anyway, where was I?

So Panda came home from school a couple weeks ago, pleased as punch, with four banana muffins they had made in H & C class.  And everybody had one and we loved them and we were sad when they were gone.  And I promised we could make them again at home, whenever I happened to have bananas around.

Last night Panda’s friend MK was over.  I should introduce MK because she’s a wonderful friend and has spent enough time at our house that she very freely calls me “Mom.”  In return, I treat her like one of my own which means she’s often been told to unload the dishwasher or set the table.  She loves to eat over and is very lavish in her praise for my dinners.  So naturally I have no problem with her being over.  And I like the friendship she has with Panda.  It’s very drama free.  “We’re not besties,” they say.  “We’re beasties.”

Panda and MK were working hard on an English project.  They broke for dinner and then went back to the books.  Noticing that I did have bananas around, I offered to make the muffins.

It’s a pretty straight-forward recipe:  dry ingredients, wet ingredients, combine.  “Should I put some blueberries in these?” I asked.  The reception was lukewarm so I offered walnuts instead.  Walnuts were accepted.  “Chocolate chips are good in banana muffins,” MK said, with a hopeful look.

“They are,” I agreed, “unfortunately I don’t have any chocolate chips.”

There was silence for a little bit; the girls worked, I mixed.  And then I had a bit of an idea.  “What if…” I said, opening a cupboard.  “I’m just thinking out loud here…What if, after I put the batter in the muffin tins, I put a little spoon of Nutella on top and then bake them?”

The cupboard door was open so they were hidden from view while I was talking.  I shut the door and there they were, two little faces, eyes perfectly round, mouths open in little O’s of wonder.  “Ohhhhhhh MOMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEE!!”

Yeah, yeah, that’s my name, don’t wear it out.

Ohhhhhh Mommmmmeeee Banana Nutella Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (4-6)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nutella (optional, but come on!)

I’m going to transcribe the recipe exactly as the teacher wrote it because it’s just beautiful to visualize teams of sixth graders doing this.

1.  Put on apron

2.  Wash hands

3.  Preheat oven to 425

4.  Grease muffin pan

5.  In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas enough to measure approximately 2 cups

6.  Add the oil, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt

7.  Whisk to combine ingredients.  Set aside

8.  Into a large mixing bowl measure the flour, baking soda, dark brown sugar and cinnamon.

9.  Stir with a wooden spoon

10.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients

11.  Pour wet ingredients into the center; then stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened but still lumpy.

12.  Gently stir in 3/4 cups chopped nuts, if desired

13.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full

==>Put a small dollop of Nutella on top of each muffin

14.  Label pan with your kitchen number

15.  Place muffins in the oven and immediately reduce heat to 375

16.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes

17.  Cool muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes

18.  Remove muffins to cooling rack

In retrospect I would’ve taken a toothpick or skewer and run it through the Nutella to distribute a little.  Or I would have put a little batter in the bottom of the cups, put the dollop of Nutella, then a little more batter on top.  I’m sure I’ll be trying these again.  They were quite yummy.

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