It may be an obvious thing to say but overripe bananas must never be thrown away! Cakes, muffins and smoothies are the best destination for this fruit even once it’s way past the stage you would eat it raw. I just peel and freeze them in a zip lock bag and use them when I’m ready – frozen is best for smoothies anyway.
This morning L decided that she really really wanted to use the new red flour sifter we bought together yesterday. I have to confess to a slight obsession with buying her mini cooking utensils.
I resisted buying a play kitchen (especially given our kitchen is pretty small) thinking that she could use her imagination instead. And she has. I bought a set of steps (an idea I got from my lovely friend J – check out her fabulous blog on Montessori activities she has developed for her little one) so that L could stand up to the kitchen counter, and they have become her ‘stove’ – she even puts things to bake underneath in the ‘oven’. However every time I see mini utensils (ones that can be used for real and make it possible for little hands to do the job) I try to find something to add to her growing collection. She gets a buzz out of them (I usually just leave them on her ‘stove’ for her to find) but I think I might enjoy it even more.
So today we made our favourite mini muffins (that don’t actually require any sifting but do use a fair bit of flour so I figured the sifting wouldn’t hurt) – Banana Yogurt Muffins. Originally from Taste.com I’ve adapted them a bit and my version is at the end of this post. They are very moist and light with a slight yogurt tang.
L’s favourite bit is feeling the ‘silky’ flour and licking the bowl (of course) but she has a good go at mashing the bananas, stirring the mixture, tipping in the ingredients (once I’ve measured them out) and, now, sifting the flour.
Ours don’t look very dainty because I tend to overfill the patty pans. This is so that I use up all the mixture and you get more muffin top which everyone knows is the best bit. I make 24 overfilled mini muffins and 1 large one from this mixture.
Banana Yogurt Muffins – adapted from Taste.com
Makes 24 mini muffins (with a bit left over to make one or more standard sized ones) or 12 standard sized muffins
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 large bananas
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C if you’ve got fan forced). I have taken to using the silicone patty pans which really seem to work well to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan and they peel away from the muffin easily too. If you’re not using them you’ll need to grease the pans really well and/or line them with baking paper (which is very fiddly – I did it once).
In a large mixing bowl lightly whisk the egg then add bananas and mash. Stir in yogurts and oil.
Sift (if you really want to or your little one loves sifting, otherwise just add) the dry ingredients over the top of the banana mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon mixture into the 24 mini muffin patty pans and however many large muffin patty pans you have leftover mixture for. This will depend on how much you fill the mini pans/how much muffin top you’re after on the little ones (or you could make 12 standard sized muffins).
Bake in oven for about 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean (keep watch as the little ones bake pretty quickly).
Turn out straight away on to a wire rack to cool (if you can keep small hands – and big – from snaffling one). Like all muffins they are really best when just baked and still a bit warm but I also freeze them to zap in the microwave for Lola for snack time and they come up really well.
Smoothies are a particular fancy of mine in the summer to accompany weekend breakfast/brunch.
2 medium frozen bananas
1 cup of soy milk (I think this adds a nice nutty flavour and richness but you can use cows milk of course)
1/2 – 2/3 cup plain yogurt
honey to taste (I use about 2 tsp)
sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Break banana into pieces and place in bowl of food processor
Add yogurt and honey then whizz until it is a smooth runny paste
Add soy and whizz for a couple of minutes to get a really good thickness/frothiness
Pour into two tall glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon if using.
Variations can include any additional fruit you fancy – strawberries, blueberries or mango are my favourite. If I want a caffeine fix I add a shot of espresso coffee and call it a Mad Monkey (stolen inspired by a smoothie offered at a cafe that does fab breakfasts in North Adelaide called The Store).