Baking in the Time of Social Distancing

Those who know me also know that “shelter-in-place” is pretty much my default setting. But choosing social distance by preference is a heck of a lot different than maintaining it for the safety of oneself and others. We all need to take whatever comfort we can in these crazy days–and although I’ve been trying to limit my intake of tasty, tasty carbs, these times call for baking, and lots of it.

CH and I have a sort of “Jack Sprat” relationship with bananas. He’ll eat them when they’re still green (ewww!), but I like them when they’re just starting to speckle with brown. Sometimes, we both miss our window of opportunity and end up with overripe bananas (which neither one of us likes).

Banana muffins to the rescue!

I’ve had this recipe for…jeez, forty years. I wanted a banana bread recipe but hated nuts, and nearly every recipe included walnuts. I found the original of this one–banana tea bread, no nuts!–in a cookbook I was returning to the publisher back in the days when I worked at B. Dalton Bookseller.  I’ve adapted it over time and recently added finely chopped toasted pecans. (Yeah, yeah. I know. Nuts. But what can I say? We can all change, right?)

The slightly overripe fruit intensifies the banana flavor, and depending on how many are languishing in the fruit bowl, I can double this recipe with no trouble.

Oven: 350°
Makes 6 large muffins or 12 regular

Ingredients

Instructions

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2-3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Beat shortening until creamy.
  2. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 – 3)

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans (optional)

  1. Add flour mixture alternately with bananas, stirring only enough to moisten dry ingredients.
  2. Fold in pecans.
  3. Turn into greased muffin tin (or use muffin cups).
  4. Bake for ~25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.