Banana & Choco Chip Muffins

Today when I sat to type the next post, I saw a huge fight going on between the draft posts. "Me first" said the Dum Biryani. "No, me first!!" said the Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins. Sigh! It's so hard to pick between the two Bs I love most - Baking & Biryani, so I decided to post both the recipes back to back (hopefully on the same day!). This is also an extension of the Readers Choice series (which I started a couple of days ago on Facebook) - a lot of people wanted to see a recipe of Muffins, some asked for Dum Biryani but yes,  Fish Curry won the maximum votes so Fish Vindaloo it was!

This particular recipe does not have any childhood memories attached to it, simply because my mum never baked (ever) - we didn't own an oven and like most Mangalorean mums she happily doled out authentic Mangalorean fare to help us fill our bellies. I didn't come home to smell the aroma of cakes being freshly baked instead I had the aromas of Mangalore buns, Portha Polay, Sweet Poha wafting through the doorway giving me such a grand welcome back home from wherever I returned - school (or college), tuition classes, or choir practices. I grew up eating all things Mangalorean and it was once a week - on Saturdays that my dad used to bring home some typical bakery eats such as the Malpuri, Mysore Pak, Hot Cross Buns (minus the cross), Meat Puffs, Sponge Cakes (the small yellow rectangular cakes which are now extinct) or cup cakes (also yellow & with caraway seeds thrown in). I totally loved the rectangular sponge cakes from M.D Souza & Sons, Bakers & Caterers at Hampankatta (It was sad to see them close down the bakery a few years ago). Nothing can beat the taste of those lovely fresh from the oven bakery products which had the distinct 'bakery' taste. We bought them because we lived in an era where it was a given to prepare all meals & snacks at home and indulge in 'outside' food occasionally. My dad however made sure we had something substantial to sink our teeth into every weekend. 

I also lived in an era when it was okay to carry snacks from home to the movies (this of course was a gazillion years before bomb blasts & terrorism took center stage giving birth to frisking & scanning of person & property in full public view). When I was little, nobody bothered to check bags and one was free to carry one's own snacks to the movies. Slightly chewy & salty popcorn came in small plastic packets and cost something like Rs. 2 !! My mum always carried warm & fresh buns (minus the cross) and cupcakes which I loved to eat while watching the movie (or if I got too hungry standing in the queue for tickets outside). I can't even imagine doing that today, with strict instructions that one will not be permitted into the cinema hall if found to be carrying outside snacks, I end up paying through my nose to buy the ridiculously over priced tub of popcorn (around Rs.175) which is way too much even for two adults to finish.

Anyway, getting back to today's muffins. These babies were so delicious! Undoubtedly the best I've made so far. I steered away from the original recipe & replaced a part of the refined flour with whole wheat flour and skipped the butter to replace it with olive oil. I strongly feel that if we cannot entirely avoid eating refined foods, the least we can do is add some health back into them.

I joined the majority of people who bake with bananas because they are don't know what to do with them when they turn black (over ripe). I also wanted my little fellow to eat the fruit in some way or the other. Adding the chocolate chips only meant that he'd gobble the muffin faster than he would have a banana as is. These muffins tasted so yummy especially when they were still warm that even R couldn't resist having more than his usual quota (I told you he's not much of a cake person).

The partial replacement of Refine Flour (Maida) with Whole Wheat flour gave some amount of density to the muffins but that was beautifully balanced by the complete replacement of butter with delicately flavoured & healthy olive oil (I used Borges) resulting in cotton soft muffins that are light on the digestive system (or so they feel). I am definitely baking these muffins again & again. Y (my son) and I had a great deal of fun preparing them - I put my pretty star shaped silicone muffin moulds to use beside the regular paper liners. If you wish to skip the chocolate chips you can try adding dried cranberries or any pitted dried berries.

Banana & Choco Chip Muffins
Yield: 12 medium size muffins

You Need:
1. Sift the flours and the baking powder together a couple of times. Keep aside. Beat the sugar and the olive oil or butter till pale (for about 2minutes on high speed if using an electric whisk).
2. Add one egg at a time and beat well. Pour in the vanilla extract and blend. Add the flour mixture and gently mix with a spatula till well incorporated. Add the mashed bananas and chocolate chips and mix gently.
3. Pour into a greased muffin tray or large cup cake liners/silicone moulds and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm.


Adapted from: Little Food Junction