Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
I have a distinct memory of eating my first peanut butter and banana sandwich. I was reading a children's detective novel and the protagonists were going on an Adventure tracking down the Bad Guys at a zoo. The kids needed to be fortified for dueling with the enemy, so they packed peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which could apparently protect you against all harm. I asked my mother to make me one for lunch, and she seemed pleasantly surprised. "That was one of my favorite sandwiches, growing up," she remarked. As with all my sandwiches, she made the sandwich on soft, Grossinger's rye bread. Miraculously, the banana was of the perfect consistency, and I was hooked. I never liked the rye bread she used with pbjs, but it was more palatable with the banana and peanut butter.
My mom joined me in a pbb and we ate the sandwiches playing gin rummy, one of our favorite pastimes. We never fought playing cards. I sat under a tent I had made with chairs and sheets, part of the 'set' I had designed to enact scenes from another of my favorite novels.
Although from age eleven or so onward, my mother would raise me as a 'single mom,' and we weren't rich, I don't ever recall being told I couldn't have a particular food item because it was too expensive. Probably because my mother grew up very poor and didn't like to deny me food for economic reasons (telling me that I couldn't have something because it was junk, on the other hand, she was more than happy to to do).
However, it might also have been linked to the fact that so many of the foods I loved at the time--sugar, peanut butter, and French fries--were pretty cheap. I recall eating prime rib, when it was ordered for me, and my mother disdained parents who ordered their kids 'chopped sirloin' from the children's menu, but as long as something was strongly flavored and full of fatty, sweet deliciousness, I wasn't too picky.
These muffins are incredibly cheap, and 'accidentally' vegan. (Because of their cheapness they are alas, totally not hipster). No eggs or butter. Just bananas, peanut butter, and some other staple pantry ingredients. However, they have a rich and decadent quality that transcends their price.
Of course, if you are a billionaire, you can eat them on a silver serving tray on a night when the hired help has a day off. And if you are note a vegan you can eat them with bacon on the side. Or a bacon, peanut butter, and banana sandwich, if so inclined.
I should include a little obligatory note about how I had these black bananas just BEGGING to be made into banana bread or muffins, but I didn't. I couldn't even find black bananas at the grocery store, so I bought some 'regular' ones and used this handy trick--to 'force' bananas into a quick bread-worthy consistency, bake them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes until they turn black. You can do so while assembling your ingredients for the muffins.
Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
--makes 12 muffins--
4 black bananas
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional--the peanut butter I used in this bread had salt, so I omitted it)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line or grease muffin tins.
2. Mash bananas with the oil, peanut butter, and boiling water
3. Sift sugars, flour, baking soda and baking powder, and spices. Gradually spoon into banana mixture.
4. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until a toothpick can be extracted clean)
5. Cool for five minutes. Remove from muffin tin and glaze, if desired.
Peanut butter glaze
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
2-4 tablespoons water
Add 1 tablespoon of water to the sugar, followed by the peanut butter. Slowly add more water until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. Pour over the cooling muffins.