Saturday, January 31, 2015

mother child bouquetKENTUCKY (5/10/14) — This week Maureen dishes how to make divine banana muffins served with a side of gratitude.

Dear Maureen,

My family loves banana bread, but my bread and muffins tend to come out a little dry. Do you have any baking tips for me?

Val from Versailles

Dear Val,

Before I jump into your banana muffin baking tips, I'd like to extend a Happy Mother's Day weekend to everyone.

What a great question, thanks for asking. So many things can go awry in the kitchen, especially with baking - it is more like chemistry with precise measurements, temperatures and technique - unlike cooking which is more forgiving with a dash of this and a scoop of that.

I bake a lot of banana muffins, probably more so than any other sweet bread.

Why?

Because I love the look of happiness and gratitude on the faces I see after a bite from my divine banana muffins. Plus they are so dang easy to make.

Now most everyone has a banana bread recipe so I won't bore you with that. Besides, it's not about the recipe - the tips are in the details.

banana bunch

To bake a dozen medium-sized divine (read moist- a word I loathe) banana muffins, I use three overripe, frozen bananas and one fresh banana (at the yellow stage just before it starts to freckle-see the above photo).

The time to freeze bananas is when they have gone from freckled to brown and mushy. Remove the peel, place in a zip lock baggie or freezer safe container, and freeze for up to four months. The day before you are ready to bake, remove the frozen bananas and thaw in the refrigerator. If you freeze the bananas in a baggie, place the baggie in a bowl to catch any liquid (in the event the baggie was punctured in the freezer). The bananas will lose their shape and weep. That liquid is banana gold. Use every last drop.

Other things to consider to make the most divine banana muffins - room temperature butter and eggs. Don't forget to sift or whisk your dry ingredients before you fold the dry mix into the banana mix to make light and fluffy divine banana muffins.

Banana muffins mcb

Let your muffins cool for about five minutes, then pop them on their side (pictured above) so they won't steam cook in the pan.

Lastly, make extra muffins for your colleagues for your next bring-a-snack-to-work day, or better - for your mom on Mother's Day. (Banana muffins can be frozen up to a month.)

What's your best banana bread making tip?

Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email at maureencberry@gmail.

What happened to my SurfKY News email address?

I gave my notice to SurfKY News Group two weeks ago resigning as its full time copy editor. I need the time away from my Biscuits & Bacon weekly column and the day-to-day news editing business to work on two book projects.

Thank you, thank you, thank you dear reader for choosing to read Biscuits & Bacon: Food Column for the Hungry, Curious Mind. In today's noisy online world, I know you have choices and I appreciate your decision to take a few minutes from your busy schedule to read my column. I want to thank my colleagues at SurfKY News - Gary, Jeanie, Rushetta, Rita, Taylor, Amber, Dennis, Paul, Val, Shawn, Mari, Amie, and Bethany for their encouragement, support and questions. I also want to thank Ron for giving Biscuits & Bacon a home these last few months. And for that I am grateful.

— Maureen

Maureen C. Berry is the copyeditor and food writer at SurfKY.com. When she’s not writing or cooking, she’s photographing wildlife in her backyard. Maureen founded Center Street Writers' Guild in conjunction with Hopkins County Public Library. CSWG offers free writing/critique workshops. She lives in Western Kentucky with her husband and wire fox terrier, Reagan. Follow her on Twitter @seafoodladyorl.

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