Friday, December 6, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (how to modify a recipe)

Modify recipe is turning out to be my hobby. It's actually pretty fun in a way. Kinda like working in a  science lab. Plus, I always wanted to be a scientist, wearing a lab coat. But in my case, I wear an apron and test real food.

For my family, modifying a recipe would mean that I need to substitute dairy, chicken eggs, legumes, and corn in all of my recipes. The hardest recipes to make changes to are the ones that have a lot of eggs in them. I certainly cannot bake angle food cake without eggs. See what I mean. Some recipes are just impossible to modify.

With any modified recipes, I can taste the difference in taste and texture.  It's really a trail and error.

Because homemade baked sweets taste better within a day or two. I usually cut down the recipes in half. So I only bake just enough for my family.

The time I spend in the kitchen is also a factor when I modify a recipe. Muffins bake faster than bread loaf. Cupcakes bake faster than a eight-inch round cake. Using cupcake liners also means an easy clean up. Plus, my kids can just grab the muffins they want, and no knives, plates, or forks are involved. Less clean up again. Bonus!!! So let's get started and modify a breakfast sweet.

Being on an allergy free diet means very limited selection of food. Nothing is wasted. Bananas are not just healthy snacks. When they are ripen, they are perfect for banana bread. Sometimes I even freeze the over ripen ones for future baking. Ripen ones are perfect to thicken up a smoothie.

I tested many banana bread recipe, and I found William Sonoma's banana bread recipe to be the best after it was modified. It has been my go-to breakfast recipe ever since. The original recipe is written for a bread loaf, but I bake them in muffin pan. My modified recipe is just enough for my family's breakfast or snack, about 6 muffins. Feel free to double the recipe. Notice that I use my kitchen scale religiously, so I added the measurements in ounces as well.
William Sonoma's Banana Bread
Original ingredients:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 medium very ripe bananas, peeled
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Modified ingredients:
2/3 cups 3/4 cup (3 oz) all-purpose flour
2 1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I always skip salt in my baking as I really can't tell the taste differences when salt is added or not. My kids and I also eat a lot of potato chips, so I do try to omit salt when I can.)
1/4 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3 1 (3-4 oz) medium very ripe bananas, peeled (mashed)
2/3 cup 1/4 cup (2.5 oz.) sugar
1/3 cup 3 Tbs. (1.5 oz.) vegetable oil
2 1 (large) egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (since I add cinnamon and nutmeg, I usually omit vanilla extract. The aroma from both spices are enough.)
1/2 tsp grounded cinnamon
1/8 tsp grounded nutmeg
1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) chocolate chips (I add chocolate chips for taste. If you prefer to bake banana muffins, omit the chocolate chips. If you can have nuts, you can add your preferred chopped nuts.)

When a recipe called for melted butter, substitute it with vegetable oil. Liquid vegetable oil is perfect to add into a batter such as pancake batter. If I need to substitute butter that needs to be added into the dough, such as pie crust or cookie dough, I would use coconut oil. 

If you have issue with chicken eggs, substitute 5 quail eggs to 1 large chicken egg. If you cannot have eggs at all, substitute it with the baking powder. The amount of baking powder depends on what I am baking, so this is the time when I need to put on a scientist's hat. Remember not the add more than 1 tablespoon of baking powder in any batter because it does leave a bitter after taste. I highly recommend Kelly Rudnicki's The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book: Great Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Treats for the Whole Family especially for egg free recipes.
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
modified from William Sonoma's Banana Bread
make 6 regular size muffins
3/4 cup (3 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon grounded cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grounded nutmeg

1/4 cup (2.5 oz.) granulated sugar
3 Tbs. (1.5 oz.) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 (3-4 oz) medium very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degree. Line the 6 regular size muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, and egg.
  4. Add the mashed banana and mix again.
  5. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combine.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Using a large scooper, divide the batter equally into the prepared muffin pan.
  8. Bake until the tooth pick inserted into the muffin comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy them while they are warm. 
Allergy Info: This chocolate chip banana muffin recipe can be made without or is free from dairy, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, or fish.

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