I had a bunch of sorry looking bananas on my kitchen counter yesterday.
If you live in Florida, this happens quite frequently. I’m not sure why, but fruit ripens/rots here faster than I’ve ever seen anywhere else.
So I thought, hey, I’ll make banana bread! I put a stick of butter out on the counter to soften and went about my day.
About an hour later I got hungry and forgetting my first great idea of banana bread, I made myself a peanut butter banana smoothie. It was delicious. However, midway through the smoothie it occurred to me that I’d just eaten half of the bananas for my bread.
Oops. Time to improvise!
We’re still in the thick of fresh strawberry season down here so I thought I’d take a chance and substitute chopped strawberries for my now missing bananas.
The result? FANTASTIC!
You can see that I also changed my mind from bread to muffins but this versatile batter can go either way.
Here’s what you need:
Bananas, Strawberries, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Eggs, Butter, and Vanilla.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Remember that this all started with softened, room temperature butter. Combine 1/2 cup or 1 stick of softened butter with 1 cup of sugar. Mix or “cream” on medium speed until light, pale yellow, and fluffy.
Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of real vanilla and mix to combine.
Smash 2 overly ripe, ugly bananas. My favorite smashing tool has always been the potato masher but you can also use the back of a fork.
Add the bananas to the bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift, sift, sift so the dry ingredients are well combined.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour and stir only until it has been incorporated into the batter. Do not over-stir.
Leave a little flour in the bottom of your bowl and toss it with 1½ – 2 cups of finely chopped, fresh strawberries. You get the option of amounts here because I used 1½ cups for this batch but will increase that to 2 full cups next time for even more strawberry flavor.
A few important tips on the strawberries — after you rinse your fresh berries, be sure to DRY THEM THOROUGHLY. You don’t want to add any extra moisture to the batter. Remove the stems and cut the berries into small, 1/2 inch pieces. If your strawberry pieces are too large, they will make the muffins mushy in the middle.
Use a spatula to gently fold the chopped berries into the batter by hand so that they don’t break apart.
Line muffin tins with paper liners OR grease and flour the tins OR grease and flour your bread pans. Fill the muffin cups almost to the top – at least 3/4 full. I added a little bit of sugar to the top of each muffin for a little extra pizzaz.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with only a few crumbs. (Bread will cook for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your pans.)
Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for a few minutes to hold their shape, then move them to a wire rack to complete cooling.
All boxed up and ready to go.
If you’ve been around these parts very long, you’ll know that I always eat at least one muffin (or cookie, or scone, or whatever has just baked) warm, right from the oven. You just can’t beat that and as the cook, I think you’ve earned it.
Strawberries and Bananas. They’re not just for smoothies anymore!
Here’s the recipe: