It seems ages since I whipped butter with sugar or whisked batter to make good ol' cakes. On our visit to the States last year, I splurged on baking and took advantage of the large convection oven that the homes here are bestowed with. This time around I made a conscious decision to stay away from baking a ton to avoid all that sugar overload.
I cannot possibly imagine a home that does not stock bananas. Its such an easy takeaway fruit with easy-peasy peeling and no de-seeding. So clean, mess free, hassle free and completely satisfying to a sweet tooth!
We get panic attacks at home when we run out of them! Seriously!
I believe every blogger should have a repertoire that boasts of a couple of recipes starring 'the bananas'. Cakes and muffins take the lead here. A banana muffin is the easiest bake you can ever put together and there are little chances that you will go wrong. It replaces egg with utmost ease adding loads of flavor. And it hardly matters how its flavored additionally. It could either be the classic vanilla scented or chocolate studded or just none at all! Either ways, they all taste delicious. Bananas sing by themselves. They have a characteristic sweet flavor of their own. So should you leave them by themselves, they will yet shine. May be a kick of aromatic spices will add bounce to them.
These muffins were made on a lazy afternoon to go along with our evening cup of tea. As I set out the muffin liners and put the batter together, I realized that my pantry had run out of stock for vanilla extract. A BIG sin for any baker, I guess! But here's where traditions come to rescue. Our by-gone generations have sworn by the fact that bananas and cardamoms make a match in heaven. And I cannot deny that! We have grown up eating desserts and sweetmeats made from bananas heavily scented with cardamoms. So, when these muffins were made, they swept our home with warm, mellow headiness from cardamoms, the jaggery and bananas, making these undeniably irresistible to wait till they cooled. Couple of them were downed warm right as they were out of the oven. These muffins certainly make a lovely tea time treat. They are wonderful to carry out on picnics and long drives.
As for me, they brought back warm fuzzy memories of home and my mother's kitchen where the pairing of bananas and cardamom ruled the roost on many occasions.
Banana Cardamom Muffins (Eggless, Vegan adaptable)
Yields 9 large muffins
1/2 cup mashed bananas (about 1 large over ripe banana)
1/2 cup milk (replace with soy milk / nut milk of your choice for vegan option)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered jaggery (packed)
1/4 cup fine sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh cardamom powder
Handful of chopped walnuts and raisins
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Line the muffin tin with paper cases.
Mash bananas along with milk, jaggery and sugar in a food processor. To this, add vegetable oil and whisk well. Set aside.
In a separate glass bowl, sift the all-purpose flour and fresh cardamom powder along with baking soda.
Make a well in center of sifted flours. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Fold gently. Few lumps are perfectly okay, but do not over beat. Finally fold in the walnuts and raisins. The batter should be thicker than the regular cake batter.
Scoop out spoonful of the muffin batter and dollop them into the lined muffin tins. Scatter a handful of walnuts and raisins. Bake for 25 minutes at 180ºC or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.