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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ever since I went to New York a few weeks ago, I’ve been enjoying a new morning routine. In addition to my cuppa coffee, breakfast is always eaten. That one important meal-o-the-day was one that was often times a passing fancy instead of a main stay and I’ve turned over a new leaf.

The first day (and every day thereafter) my friend Edie and I left the Hotel Barclay for some sightseeing fun, we went into a local coffee shop for a bite. This bite turned out to be Greek yogurt and a muffin. Now I’d never had Greek yogurt before and it was a delightful surprise: cool, thick and creamy. It came with about a tablespoon of honey to be swirled it into the yogurt before spooning.

YUM!

Almost everyday since I’ve been back in Chicago, I’ve enjoyed something like this in the morning. Many days since, I’ve gone to the Lavazza across from work and enjoyed their yogurt with strawberries (plain and unsweetened) with a banana muffin on the side.

But I wanted to get back to my routine of eating at home, leisurely style before the day begins. It is a bad habit to rush around in the morning instead of attempting to smooth into the day. For me, it sets the tone for the next hours; if I’m rushing, I never calm down. If I take time to peacefully open my body and mind to my activity, with some food to fuel the effort, my whole attitude is more effective.

Getting the yogurt was the easy part. There were a couple of brands of Greek yogurt at the market and I also enjoyed trying the organic plain by Brown Cow out of California. (This one is also really good to dip chips in).

But I needed some muffins and made some mini-s:
1/3 c butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
— Cream together then beat in
2 eggs
— Add in lightly
3 mashed bananas
— Stir in
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
as many walnuts as you can stuff in there (about 3/4 cup with some reserved to sprinkle on top before baking)
— Bake at 400 degrees in greased tins for about 20 minutes

Makes about a dozen regular size muffins. I made them smaller and got 18.

Only thing about mine — next time I’ll wait a couple of days more for the bananas to turn completely black before using for baking. Mine weren’t quite as sweet as they should be.

I also have seen Baking Soda used instead of Baking Powder so I’m going to give that a go too. Any reasons that makes a difference?

16 Responses to “Thursday, December 4, 2008”

  1. Wannietta says:

    I’ve never made banana muffins, but with banana bread my recipe uses baking powder. I don’t know the science of it but baking powder doesn’t rise it and it comes out leaden. Yeah, I’ve done it a couple of times and there’s nothing for it but adding to the compost. LOL

  2. Bonne Marie says:

    Maybe a little of both?

  3. Michele says:

    Interesting fact: baking soda is an ingredient in baking powder :) You need something like buttermilk in your recipe if you use baking soda only; otherwise your muffins will taste a little off. I know you can substitute baking powder for baking soda if you’re out of baking soda, but my Mom told me I couldn’t substitute baking soda for baking powder.

  4. Glenna says:

    Although I am not an expert but I am pretty sure powder & soda have different rising times, which is why sometimes cakes or breads use both. I am always resistant to switching them out, but if you do switch make sure you check the quantities on the recipes where you’ve seen the other used – my bet is that it won’t be the same measurement as the powder! ;)

  5. ~S says:

    See http://chemistry.about.com/cs/foodchemistry/f/blbaking.htm for a good explanation on the difference between the two.

    Love Greek yogurt for breakfast on the weekend. I usually place a dollop of orange marmalade on mine. :)

  6. Jennifer says:

    Your muffins just came out of the oven! My two year old and I are enjoying them immensely. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. Maureen says:

    Baking soda needs an acid to work. Bananas provide the acid in your recipe.

    My grandmother’s banana bread recipe calls for baking soda. It makes a brown loaf with a golden brown interior. Banana bread receipes with baking powder make a loaf with a yellow/gold interior.

    My husband, not knowing the difference, swapped baking power for the baking soda in chocolate chip cookies. He got a very cake-like, soft cookie. He experimented and decided he liked half and half (half soda/half powder).

  8. Cruz says:

    Those muffins look wonderful. My banana bread recipe uses both soda and powder mixed into a few spoonfuls of sour cream. The end result is very rich and cake-like in texture.

  9. kylie says:

    baking powder is what helps make baked things rise. in australia we have plain flour and self raising flour (which as baking powder added). you usually add around a teaspoon for each cup of flour. someone else mentioned baking soda to help make things brown nicely. when used the right way it creates a chemical reaction to make things fizz up – you will sometimes see it in melt and mix style fruit cakes.

    for cooking – the blacker the better – and squeeze out all the juice for maximum flavour!

  10. Diane in Northern CA says:

    Thanks for the yummy muffin recipe. I have a bunch of bananas that need to be used for something and this just might be it!

    I too discovered the joys of Greek yogurt many years ago, after marrying my Greek-American husband. To get the thicker consistency of the yogurt you tasted try straining your regular yogurt overnight. Place the yogurt in a lined strainer suspended over a bowl (I use either cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter to line the inside of my strainer) and place it in your refrigerator overnight. You will be surprised how much whey will come out of it! Spoon this thickened “yogurt cheese” into a new container and refrigerate.

    If you happen to have a Trader Joe’s near you they sell their own brand of “greek cheese” (it is in a golden yellow container). It is made from whole milk, perhaps that is why it is so creamy.

    Try topping it with your favorite granola, some nuts, or a quick drizzle of real Greek honey for a fabulous treat.

  11. Kay says:

    Yes, I agree with Kylie. I freeze the brown/black bananas. Once frozen, then defrost and the water will run out and you are left with banana goodness concentrate!

  12. Kate G. says:

    You are making me hungry. Muffins, definitely. Greek yogurt is also great with granola and a drizzle of honey. Yum back atcha!

  13. Norma says:

    Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents, but they have different properties and are NOT interchangeable. Recipes are finely honed chemistry, and they need to be followed quite closely for good results (some things are substitutable, but leaveners are not one of them). There are reasons in various recipes for using either one or the other. :)

  14. INdia says:

    As Norma says, they are a bit different – the constituents of baking powder mean that there is a reaction which produces carbon dioxide which causes the cake to rise as it is baked in the oven. Bicarbonate of soda needs something acidic added to it to cause the formation and release of CO2. yoghurt, buttermilk, a little lemon juice or vinegar will do the trick.

  15. Lori on Little Traverse Bay says:

    Bonne Marie—You forgot to add the chocolate chips! :)

  16. Bonnie Leathers says:

    You have probably figured this out but in general (always CYA) baking powder with milk and baking soda with sour milk, sour cream or buttermilk.

    I like blueberry muffins best. Add a little cinnamon to the batter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking.

 
 
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