Banana bread – wait, muffin?

This recipe was the banana bread I made for my first bake. I would love to show you how my first bake look like, but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of it. Strange enough, it wasn’t the recipe I went back to. It was another muffin recipe that I fell for, and been using ever since…. See below!

In Singapore, over the years I came to realise there’s also no such thing as banana bread. There’s banana cake, a soft moist buttery banana cake you can buy from local bakeshops, often tasting of too much banana essence. It’s a Singaporean comfort food though as it’s a cake enjoyed from young, along with the butter and marble variations.

Then there’s banana muffins! … Which used to be understood as banana cupcakes, until the muffins in Coffeebean, Starbucks and western styled cafes became more popular, people then began to understand and appreciate the denser, more substantial kind of muffin.

So whenever people ask me what’s a banana bread, I tell them it’s a muffin baked in a cake or loaf form. Which is true, no? Though to save myself going to baking geekdom and explaining everything about banana cakes, muffins, loafs – I just bake banana muffins. (Hey it’s easy to give out, no slicing and crumbs dropping all over!)

Below is a favourite banana muffin recipe I’ve always end up going back to, be it to make muffins or banana bread, because of it’s simplicity. It’s using the muffin method – put dry ingredients together, put wet ingredients together, combine both, put into pan and bake.

Banana Muffins
(adapted from Banana Crumb Muffins from Allrecipes.com)
Makes 12 2 1/2 inch scrumptious muffins

Banana Muffins

Muffin Batter
1 1/2 cups / 187.5g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (Del Monte Philippine bananas are the best, when they’re black speckled. Or black)
1/3 cup / 76g butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup / 100g white sugar
1/4 cup /  55g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Strusel topping (good to have, but it’s still good without!)
1/3 cup / 73g packed brown sugar
2 tbsp / 16g all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C. Line your muffin pans or grease them lightly if not using liners

2. Sift and mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon powder (if using).

3. In another bowl, mix mashed bananas, melted butter, egg, sugars, and vanilla essence.

4. Make a ‘well’ in your flour mixture and pour in your banana mixture. Here comes the important part! Mix the two together until they just come together. Be careful not to overmix – your batter should still be lumpy, with little of flour streaks. If mixed till smooth, you’re going to end up with one tough muffin.

5. Scoop your batter (I usually use my 1/4 measuring cup for this) into your muffin tins. Sprinkle on your strusel if using.

6. Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes clean.

7. Put on cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the pan to cool.

It’s easy to play around with this recipe – want something simple? Have them plain, like what I done in the above image. They’re good by itself. Craving for something a little sweeter with a bit of crunch? Make them with the crumble, or do a simple sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar for a crusty top, or add your favourite nuts. Feel like chocolate? Add chocolate chips into the batter. You could even do it with peanut butter chips if you want. Feel… loaf-y? Bake it in a loaf pan for about 40 – 50 minutes and make the good old banana bread :)

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