Baking is therapy. It cures heartbreak, stress, loneliness, homesickness and many more blue-hued maladies. Like Panadol for your heart, its quick, foolproof and offers deliciousness as a welcome side-effect. Right from choosing a recipe to measuring the ingredients, mixing them, waiting for their transformation in the oven, the satisfaction of beholding and finally tasting the results, is a simple yet effective process that helps lift my sagging spirits whenever I need it.
Speaking to a friend back home the other day, I experienced a hollow pain and a yearning for the dusty heat of Indian summers, shopping for the first mangoes of the season, endless glasses of chilled sweet-sour green mango sherbet, lounging in light linens and cottons, sweaty afternoons under whirring ceiling fans succumbing to naps brought on by the heat, humid evenings by the sea savouring its gently caressing cool breezes, scanning the skies for monsoon clouds, intense longing for rain and the slow build-up of a feeling that something’s gotta give. So, right in the middle of autumn, pining for summer got me feeling quite homesick. But I wanted to snap out of it real quick else I knew it would fester (homesickness generally does). This called for instant intervention.
Cooking, eating, growing and shopping for food never fails to makes me happy; so I decided to bake up a batch of quick and healthy muffins. They would do nicely to quench my son’s back-from-school hunger pangs and would pair perfectly with a cup of strong coffee for a light, pick-me-up breakfast. I mixed these up and baked them in 45 minutes flat(which therapy can promise such quick results?). This is also possible because you’re likely to have all the ingredients in your kitchen cupboard, and if you don’t, I’m sure you will have substitutes. For example, instead of pecans and salted peanuts that I used, you could used almonds, cashew nuts, raisins or pretty much any dried fruit or nut.
Baking these muffins gave me a real high because I loved how delicious they turned out plus they are so healthy – packed with oats, nuts, and bananas and very little butter and sugar. Also, the recipe uses only egg whites.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 11/4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 ripe bananas mashed
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped (keep 12 whole pecans for topping)
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tray with 12 lightly sprayed paper muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
- In another bowl whisk together the butter, milk, vanilla and egg whites. Fold in the dry ingredients till just combined before adding the mashed bananas and both the nuts (keep a few whole pecans to put on top).
- Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups, top with a pecan each and bake for 20 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean.
Eggless Strawberry Banana Muffins by Vijitha
Peanut butter banana muffins with wheatgerm by Monika Dabrowski