If you're like me, you buy a bunch of bananas at the grocery store, bring them home, and promptly forget about them. To be fair: the bananas from the grocery store are almost always neon green, and to avoid impatient sighs while waiting for them to ripen, it only makes sense to let them be forgotten. . . for a while anyway. So it happens, that a week later, I glance at my fruit bowl and see five very brown, spotted, mushy-looking bananas staring back at me. Part of me is annoyed; I much prefer to eat bananas sans-spots, but part of me is pretty excited to make banana muffins for Sunday brunch!
It's been quite some time since I have baked banana bread, and for some reason I did not take the time to bookmark or write down the recipe I used for the last successful batch. This morning I wasted about thirty minutes searching on Google for "gluten free banana bread." This yielded a plethora of crazily complicated recipes with five or six thousand different flours or flour-mixes. I even consulted Martha Stewart. Martha let me down. While her "banana walnut muffin" recipe did sound delicious, who in their right mind has walnut oil in their pantry on a regular basis? (This coming from someone with a VERY well-stocked pantry.)
My solution to the over abundance of overly-complicated recipes was to go to my devoted cookbook shelf and pull out my old faithful: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (12th Edition). Before I became GF I turned to this cookbook for just about everything, and even though it is not a GF cookbook it is always a good starting point. Right there on page 119, I found what I was looking for: Banana Bread and Variations.
Here is my version with some tweaks.
2 1/2 cups GF All Purpose Flour ( Bob's Red Mill makes a very versatile GF AP flour, as does King Arthur's Flour and Cup For Cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (fresh ground is the best, if you can swing it!)
2 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Mashed Bananas (about 5 bananas)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
pinch o' salt
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil or Coconut Oil (I suppose you could use walnut oil if you've got that just hanging around)
1/2 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat your oven to 350˚F
This recipe yields about 20 standard sized muffins. Prep your muffin pans with papers, or grease generously with crisco or cooking spray of your choice.
In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In a separate vessel, stir together mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla extract and oil of your choice. (Side note: I love baking with coconut oil; things brown evenly and there never seems to be excess grease. It is significantly more expensive, though. If you are baking with coconut oil, warm it up, either in the microwave or on the stove top, just so it is pourable.)
Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and stir until well combined. I recommend using a stiff whisk or a silicone spatula. Remember to scrape the mixing bowl well. Add the chopped walnuts last and stir to distribute throughout the muffin batter. Use a scoop or a measuring cup to dose the batter into the muffin pans. I find that a 1/3 cup measure works just about perfectly.
Bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes. Muffins should be evenly golden-brown on top and have small cracks. If there appear to be moist bubbles on top, give them some extra time. Let muffins cool about 5 minutes before removing from the pans. Best consumed while still warm, paired with a fresh cup of coffee.