It’s rainy and grey again – perfect muffin weather. We walked in from school, dropped our bags on the floor and threw these muffins together. They’re my absolute favorites, and I can have them mixed and baked in a half an hour. Then my only task is to restrain myself from eating every last one.
Back when we first found out about Hot Wheels’ allergies, my cousin Sarah sent us a box. If she hadn’t already earned my undying love for all kinds of coolness, like letting me play with her shoes back when she was in high school and for teaching us how to hurdle one night when she was babysitting, she would have had it with this box.
We had just been told casually that Hot Wheels couldn’t eat eggs, soy, nuts, peas, and a few random odd things like shellfish. We also found out that he was allergic to dust mites, which meant no rugs, drapes, books or stuffed animals in his room (ha! at the time he was just shy of 2 years old). We needed to buy all kinds of new protective bedding and clean out his space. He had other allergies, but he’d just have to deal with those because the rest were such a royal pain, they were all we could manage.
My sister in law, Keri, had helped me to completely clean out our kitchen and pantry shelves – a task that took us all day and was more help than I ever could have imagined – and I was still trying to figure out what foods could go back on those shelves. To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement.
Then in came Sarah, who had been through all of this with her son. Unfortunate for them but very fortunate for us. The box she sent was filled with recipes (including a cookbook from the Food Allergy News Cookbook) and foods they liked – most memorably a bag of cheesy puffs that made us all very happy. Her knowledge truly carried us through those early days.
In the cookbook she sent me, I found the recipe for banana muffins that is still my favorite to this day. (Check out the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network website – they’re an incredible resource for food allergy issues.)
I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, but here it is:
2 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup safflower oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tbsp ground flax
tiny handful of chocolate chips, chopped up fine
Bake 325 degrees for 20 min (makes ~11)
When our bananas go brown, we throw them in the freezer, then microwave them to thaw for baking. For some reason, I think this makes them better in baked goods – they’re smoother and mushier, so they’re well incorporated in the final product. I’ve also used regular bananas that are a bit soft, and they’re still good, but I like the frozen ones even better. Go figure. I also like to use the King Arthur White Whole Wheat in these – just has great flavor and texture. The flax gives them a slightly nutty flavor, which is nice. And finally, I use about 20 chocolate chips and chop them up in to teeny pieces – it makes the muffins taste unbelievably chocolatey (I think because the flavor is spread throughout the batter) and the kids think they’re getting away with murder.
Best part – they’re not bad for you! In fact they’re pretty good for you. I entered the ingredients into an online recipe calculator, and they come out to 140 calories, which isn’t bad for a muffin. Plus, if you pick your chocolate chips carefully, they can be vegan as well, which can be handy.