I have some bananas on the counter that are too ripe for just eating, time for banana muffins. I usually put dried apricots into my banana muffins, but today, I had a fresh peach sitting on the counter getting old. I peeled it, chopped it into small bits and added it to the mix.
There are two problems with using rolled oats in baking. The first is that they do not always cook completely when the bread is done. The second problem is that you have to add a lot of flour to the chunky flakes of oats to prevent the loaf from falling apart. Cook’s Illustrated found a solution to this problem, by toasting and grinding the rolled oats into flour.
I personally did not like C.I.’s final product. It was not a “muffin,” it was too sweet and cake-like. I also like the texture of having at least some of the whole rolled oats in the mix. I ground about a third of the oats into a course meal and left the rest of the toasted oats whole, the best of both worlds.
Karl’s Peach Banana Oat Mini-muffins
1½ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour, AP
1 Tbs. cinnamon
2½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. mace
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup peanut oil
1. Place the oat meal in a large skillet and toast it over high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until golden brown (about 10 minutes).
Tip: This is actually a critical step. You want to toast the oats but not scorch them. One thing I have done is to sift out the oat dust from the raw oats before putting them in the pan, because this dust will burn before the rolled oats even start to toasted and give you a burned taste to your muffins.
Note: Underdone is better than overdone in this case. You want most of the oats well browned, but you do not want any of the oats very browned. In the past, I could not taste the burned oats, but Jan said she could.
2. Take one half cup of the toasted oats and put them in a blender or spice grinder and process them to a fine meal.
3. Put the whole oats, oat meal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, mace, and salt into a medium bowl and mix well.
Tip: My trick of sifting the dry ingredients does not work well with this recipe. The oats and ground meal does not go through a sifter.
4. Use a fork (or potato masher) to mash the bananas in a large bowl.
5. Add the whole eggs, sugar, and oil to the bananas. Mix well.
6. Fold in half of the flour at a time and mix just until there is no dry flour showing.
Tip: For a quick bread, you do not want to overwork the dough, because it will make the loaf tough. This is the opposite of yeasted bread, where you are trying to develop the gluten to give it its structure.
7. Preheat oven to 350° F.
8. Spray Pam on a mini-muffin tin.
Tip: You may also use a cupcake pan or mini-loaf pans, but if you use either of these you will have to increase the cooking time slightly. If you use a large loaf pan (4½” x 8½” x 2½”), only fill it about a third full. If you fill a large loaf pan the bread will not cook through before the top starts to burn.
Note: I generally make mini-muffins, because Jan likes the portion control of small discrete muffins. That, and TWO mini-muffins are much more satisfying than ONE regular muffin.
9. Put two tablespoons of batter into each cup of a mini-muffin tin.
Tip: You may also divide your batter into 3-4 small loaf pans (3” x 5½” x 2”) and bake for 50+ minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
10. Let the batter rest for ten minutes.
Tip: This rest allows any dry flour to completely absorb the liquids.
11. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
12. When you mini muffins are done, remove them from the baking pans and let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
Tip: If you are making a loaf, let it cool completely before trying to slice it. The warm loaf will tend to break apart if you try to cut it too soon.
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