April 26, 2008

i've found my calling

What is it, you ask? Apparently, I have an innate talent for using baby food in baking. (Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps my innate talent is laziness and this is my way of accommodating for that. Hmm.) Anyway, if you'll recall, I first tried it with carrots and carrot cake, and now I've gone and done it with bananas.



I love banana bread. It's always so moist and flavorful. Unfortunately, I rarely have bananas lying around that I consider to be past their prime. You see, folks, to me, these bananas are practically perfect for eating:


Ergo, I don't usually have any bananas with which to bake. When I saw some banana baby food on the take-home table at work, I had an epiphany and snagged it with some yummy banana bread in mind.


I wanted something different than your everyday, typical banana bread. Muffins were an obvious choice, as I've become obsessed with my mini muffin tin. I've had some chocolate-covered ginger pieces in my cabinet for quite some time (they were a Christmas gift from Big Brother...), and I decided that they might be a nice addition to some of the muffins, or at least make them unique.


Results: Aside from a slightly different texture, these muffins are just as moist and delicious as normal banana bread muffins. The bonus is that I saved at least 5 minutes of peeling and mashing time. I know, I know--kudos to me, right? The chocolate-covered ginger bits are quite the nice surprise--crunchy and zingy. Ginger's no cinnamon, but it ain't half bad.


See the unsheathed ginger? What a thing of beauty.

Speaking of ginger, one of our dogs back home in Virginia is named Ginger.


Isn't she a cutie?

Bonus! This is my submission to Not Quite Nigella's Banana Bread Bake off.


Baby-fied Banana Bread Muffins
(adapted from Joy of Baking)
(makes 24 baby baby-fied banana bread muffins + 6 regular-sized muffins)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups banana baby food
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup chocolate-covered ginger pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line muffin tins with paper cups.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and white chocolate. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the pureed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins, which is bad.) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake about 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for five minutes and then remove muffins from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.



(Look at that hunk o' brown sugar. Guess I didn't mix so well...)

35 comments:

dobetter said...

Funny! I've heard of using baby food, but haven't tried it yet. I must say, your muffins look great! Very creative.

Deborah said...

My husband likes bananas best when they look like that. So I never have any overripe bananas at my house either! You are so creative!!

Kathy said...

Love the looks of that brown sugar lump! I just imagine what that bite would taste like! And the baby food was a terrific idea!

kimberleyblue said...

Nothing wrong with hunks of brown sugar!

I love the choco-ginger addition; must've been great. They look great...

KJ said...

I would never ever have thought of using baby food. But hey, if it works why not!!! Great job. They look great.

Tabby said...

I am loving all these baby food recipes. That is something that I ALWAYS have around the house.

I also have a confession to make...I actually like to eat bannana baby food straight up. I know, I'm weird.

Lina said...

Thats a really good idea to use baby food in cooking. Must try it sometime... You should write a cookbook about using baby food in baking!

Lorraine E said...

Thanks for your entry Grace! I am also one that likes bananas really ripe but I can't resist a banana bread either so it's usually half for eating, half for baking :)

noble pig said...

Aren't you dang clever. I never thought of that. I usually let my bananas brown and then mash them into 1/2 cup proportions into freezer bags to put in the freezer. Still easy but not like baby food.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I like to use baby food fruit purees too, especially bananas. They're great in things like banana pudding because they are so smooth.

I really like your muffins. Using the ginger is an interesting twist!

Indigo said...

Using baby food = sheer genius. And the chocolate covered ginger sounds amazing, my mum would love that. Ideas...

Kim said...

Grace, you are so smart, baby food!!! Glad you found your calling, I am still waiting for mine.

Cheryl said...

Where does one find chocolate covered ginger bits, do you know? They sounds heavenly! I adore ginger, and buy candied ginger to eat as snacks. ; )

LyB said...

Funny, I've had three kids but never bought a jar of baby food, I always made it myself! Sounds like a fun shortcut for baking though. Those minis look delicious and I love the addition of the ginger, very chic!

toontz said...

I have never thought of using baby food in baking. A great idea when you are time deprived. They look delicious!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

My family thinks that one brown spot means a banana is inedible, so I always have lots to bake with. I love your baby food idea, though. I have several recipes that call for baby food - usually prunes to add moisture to a low fat recipe. Your muffins look great!

Pixie said...

Lollipop lolli ooh ooh lol

These are great, no babies around though for baby food ;)I'll have to continue using over ripe bananas for now

PaniniKathy said...

That's genius! My daughter starts solids next month - I was planning to make some of her food and I was wondering what I might do with any leftovers. Please do continue to follow your calling!! :-)

Elle said...

Awww, Ginger is adorable! The muffins are beautiful, too, and I love the idea of adding the chocolate covered ginger!

Krysta said...

I never have any extra bananas lying around our house. Maybe I will use some baby food this time.

Cakespy said...

Oh...hi. This looks delicious--the baby food would deliver a perfect consistency I would think--and well, as I can see from the beautiful finished product!

Sarah said...

Baby food?! How interesting! I can see how this would work, although it definitely sounds strange! Banana bread is a favorite, so I will be giving this a try....and I understand your obsession with mini-muffins!

Kristen said...

I add banana baby food to banana bread all the time because I think it makes a sweeter bread. Mmmmm!

descentintodessert said...

i love the idea of ginger, these are definitely going on my to-bake list!

White On Rice Couple said...

Ginger is such a cutie!! We'll have to add Ginger to Dante & Sierra's friend list!
Baby food is something my pregnant friends are interested in. Maybe you should come out with a baby food cookbook!

Emiline said...

She is a cutie!

The muffuns look delish. Nice and ginger-y.

RecipeGirl said...

I see a cookbook in your future... recipes using baby food!!! You'll be famous... featured on the Martha Stewart Show, and you'll have me to thank :)

Rosie said...

I just adore banana cake in any form and what a great idea to use baby food in cooking!!

Oh and isn't she such a cutie pie in the pic :)

Rosie x

lcsa99 said...

That is a brilliant idea! And the muffins came out beautiful!

lisa said...

How crazy - on Saturday Stephanie from church made banana bread for a ladies brunch. She didn't have enough bananas, but little Sam did, so she borrowed some of his jarred bananas, and it was so delish!! What a coincidence! I told her about you adding baby food carrots to carrot cake. Had NO idea you were trying out banana bread too. :o) I can't believe how popular your site has gotten!! You go, girl! Talk to you later.

Kevin said...

Nice looking banana muffins! I have made banana bread a few time recently and I still have a bunch of over ripe bananas in my freezer. I think that I will have to try banana muffins sometime soon.

Jeff said...

I am loving the baby food. I see a speciality blog in your future dedicated just to baby food and baking for the lazy.

Sandy said...

Great idea - my husband LOVES baby peaches! YUMMY!

CupcakeLady said...

I am sure that muffin tastes great!

Chloe said...

i love baby food and i had never thought of that. Must try it asap!