One of my favorite networks to watch is the Food Network. I’m always fascinated by how quickly people can come up with recipes off the top of their head – especially when it comes to the kids baking challenges. I can’t believe these children can make gourmet baked goods without following a recipe.
While I’m no gourmet chef, I do consider myself a pretty good cook and baker. Over the course of the past seven years I have become pretty good at substituting and omitting items from a recipe, on the spot. I can even whip up a simple meal without the use of a structured recipe. Of course, like anyone I’ve had my share of both recipe failures and successes!
Then, it occurred to me as I was planning my daughters breakfast and lunches for the week – I have always used a structured recipe when it comes to baking. If I can prepare simple meals without a recipe in front of me, certainly I could bake without one. I mean, I have been baking for a long time, so I knew I was more than capable of coming up with my own recipe using all the basic ingredients. So, earlier this week, that’s just what I did!
My daughter has been on a chocolate chip kick for the last several months! Every week she asked for the same things, chocolate chip pancakes and waffles. Of course I’m big on variety, so this is not something I make every single week. When I do, I typically omit sugar from the recipe or use a very small amount. For me, it’s a personal choice. I feel adding chocolate chips is more than enough sugar content. So if I’m going to make chocolate chip pancakes and waffles, I typically make a healthy batter.
However, when it comes to muffins, breads, cupcakes, and cakes – I always use sugar. I have made healthy breakfast muffin recipes in the past. The ones where you omit the sugar and use Greek yogurt, applesauce, or honey. Unfortunately, my daughter was uninterested in most of those recipes. Her request for this week was chocolate chip pancakes and I thought, while I could make them for a second week in a row – why not throw caution to the wind? Why don’t I try to make a healthy chocolate chip muffin without following a structured recipe?
It’s raining muffins!
I had a bunch of leftover bananas from the week before, oatmeal in the cupboard, and about a half a bag of chocolate chips. I figured with that and all the basic baking ingredients I have in the cupboard, I could make a pretty good muffin off the top of my head. So I set to work in the kitchen on my own baking challenge!
Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 cup chocolate chips
3 ripened bananas (mashed)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Fill each tin with batter 3/4 of the way full. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
Constructing these muffins without a specific recipe is something I found to be very easy. Having baked so often, I felt all the basic ingredients come to me very quickly. My spice cabinet was brimming with all the usual suspects. However, I did get tripped up in a few places. Eggs. How many did I need?? Some healthy recipes that I’ve done use no eggs. General baking recipes use between one and two eggs, so how many was I supposed to use? I decided that it was better to use a little more than a little less when it came to this ingredient. So I settled with two large eggs.
Sugar was the next thing to trip me up. When it comes to breakfast batters and chocolate chips, I typically omit the sugar or only used a few tablespoons. Since my daughter doesn’t like those healthy muffins where you omit the sugar or substitute it for something else I wasn’t 100% comfortable leaving it out. At the same time, I wasn’t comfortable using a whole cup of sugar, as I typically would for a baked dessert. It took me a few minutes to finally decide, but I just couldn’t seem to go without the sugar. So settled on about one fourth of a cup of brown sugar.
After adding the bananas and all the other dried ingredients. I realized I needed something liquidy to combine them all into a batter. So I added the eggs. I quickly realized, that eggs alone, were not enough to combine everything. So I’m standing there wondering what I was missing? After several minutes it finally occurred to me. Milk! So I added one cup of milk and began to stir. Slowly it began looking like a typical batter. By this point my confidence was building. Maybe I didn’t always need to use a recipe for baking? Maybe I could experiment on my own, like so many others? Of course the real test was the first bite.
The muffins were delicious! I realized later in the day after already eating three muffins that I forgot one typical baking ingredients – butter. I thought to myself, was it OK that I accidentally left out butter from a baking recipe? Then I realized, yes, yes it was! They tasted amazing! So why mess with with a good thing? Later that evening I’d also come to the realization that I had made one healthy batter my daughter enjoys, which has no butter, but does include one cup of milk. Her simple pancake recipe – with chocolate chips added of course! So while I think I could tweak a few things for next time – maybe even omit the sugar completely. In my opinion, they were pretty darn good!
If you haven’t baked anything without using a recipe. Give it a try! You just might make an excellent creation!
Copyrighted By: Boldly Bravely You