An Untraditional Dead Bread

An Untraditional Dead Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Growing up in the southwest we learned Spanish in school and at the start of every November we would celebrate Día de los Muertos with our class. Día de los Muertos is a three day celebration in Mexico, during which families celebrate their relatives that have passed. It is believed that during these three days, family members return to the living world to visit, therefore offerings are made to help them celebrate. You can read more about Día de los Muertos here. One of the most common food offerings is Pan de Muerto, or Dead Bread.

During school we would make and eat this bread at our Spanish class festivities. Traditional Dead Bread is an enriched yeast bread, made wth milk and eggs and flavored with anise seeds. However today we wanted to present an alternative to the traditional Dead Bread.

Our first variance from the tradition is the omission of anise seeds. Al is not a fan of anything licorice tasting at all, therefore we left them out.

Our next variance was born purely out of an accident. Our original recipe included sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk. While perusing the options at the grocery store, we picked out a couple of cans of our go to brand, Eagle Brand but then we also decided to try a different brand, La Lechera. The La Lechera brand also had some other interesting options including Dulce de Leche Caramel. Very pleased with our purchases of all the different options, we waltzed home to make our Dead Bread. We decided to try the La Lechera sweetened condensed milk but with all the cans looking similar, instead of opening the correct can, we opened the Dulce de Leche Caramel. This is probably the best baking mistake we have ever made! The bread turned out extra moist with a deeper yellow color than other versions we have made with whole milk or sweetened condensed milk.

Another switch we made from tradition is the finishing of the bread with granulated sugar, which is usually sprinkled on right right after the loaf comes out of the oven. We love cinnamon so we decided to substitute cinnamon sugar and then we helped it adhere better by brushing melted butter on the top then sprinkling the cinnamon sugar onto the loaf.

Forming the shape of the Dead Bread is probably the most challenging step of this whole process. Traditionally the loaf is topped with a skull and crossbones. How elaborate this decoration is, is up to the baker. We kept it pretty simple. We took 8 ounces of the dough after the first rise and separated it into 5 pieces. With the remaining dough, we formed it into a round loaf and then made a golf ball sized indentation in the middle. Next, we formed the skull and crossbones. We rolled four of the pieces into cylinders, lightly brushed one side with water and placed them on the main loaf, meeting in the middle. The fifth piece we rolled into a ball and then flattened it slightly. We also brushed a little bit of water on the underside of this piece and placed it in the center, covering the mesh points of the crossbones, to be the skull.

One last tip before we share our recipe. While baking, leave the loaf uncovered for the first half of the baking time to allow the loaf to brown, then tent the loaf with a piece of aluminum foil to protect it from over browning and drying out.

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast and pinch of sugar. Mix to wet the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat butter on low until just melted. Add Dulce de Leche Caramel. Whisk to combine. Make sure not to heat over 115°F.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, whisk in salt and the warm butter and caramel mixture.
  4. Carefully add the egg mixture to the yeast mixing bowl.
  5. With dough hook attachment, mix to combine all of the liquid ingredients.
  6. While mixing, slowly add the flour a cup at a time. Once you have added 4 cups, keep adding a little until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
  7. Let the dough knead fro 5 minutes in the stand mixer.
  8. Spray a large mixing bowl with oil. Add the dough and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour, until doubled.
  9. Cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  10. Remove 8 ounces of the dough and set aside.
  11. With the remaining dough, shape by folding it onto itself, forming a round loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet. Make an indentation in the center of the loaf about the size of a golf ball.
  12. Divide the 8 ounces of dough into 5 pieces (1.6 ounces) roll four into long cylinders (bones), roll the fifth portion into a ball (skull).
  13. Brush a small amount of water onto one side of each of the long cylinders (bones) and form a cross with each piece meeting in the indentation of the main loaf. Brush a small amount of water on the ball (skull) and press into center of loaf.
  14. Cover with oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise for 40-60 minutes, until doubled.
  15. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Tent the loaf halfway through baking to avoid over browning.
  17. Remove loaf from oven.
  18. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  19. Working in sections, brush melted butter onto the loaf and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
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Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and if you are like us, you are probably in the beginning stages of assembling your menu. One major part of our Thanksgiving menu is rolls. We are devout carb lovers therefore a holiday dinner is not complete without fluffy dinner rolls.

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

When we were younger, we always bought Pillsbury Flaky Layers Biscuits to consume with our turkey and gravy. While these biscuits are delicious, they just aren’t the same as homemade bread. In a pinch or a nostalgic moment, we still eat these biscuits.

But since Thanksgiving is a great time to try new things on your menu, give these dinner rolls a try. They are simple to make and the end result is delicious.


To start, mix warm water and yeast in stand mixer bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes covered with a tea towel, until frothy.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Add the liquid mix to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine using the dough hook attachment.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Add all of the flour and mix until a shaggy dough has formed on level 2.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Continue kneading the dough for 8-10 minutes on level 2. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Spray large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Place dough in prepared bowl, then cover with the plastic wrap. Gently press the wrap onto the dough surface so it stays moist.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Carefully remove plastic wrap and place aside to reuse. Flour a cutting board and dump dough out.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cut into 12 pieces. Fold each piece onto itself to form a smooth to then roll into balls. Place into 11×7 pan.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cover pan with saved plastic wrap and tea towel. Let rise again about 30 minutes until pillowy and doubled in size.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt tablespoon of butter and gently brush onto tops of the risen rolls.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Devour one or three!
Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 T butter
  • Special equipment: Stand mixer with dough hook

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast, stir to mix then cover with tea towel. Let sit 10-15 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture.
  3. Stir a couple of times with the dough hook attachment to incorporate.
  4. Carefully add all of the flour to the mixing bowl. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  5. Then knead on level 2 for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
  6. Spray a large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and cover the dough with the plastic wrap, pressing it around the dough. Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  7. Lightly flour a cutting board. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and set aside to use again.
  8. Dump dough onto cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, fold the pieces onto themselves and roll into balls. Place in an 11x7 pan.
  9. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap again and cover with tea towel. Let rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size and pillowy looking.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Melt tablespoon of butter and lightly brush onto the risen rolls.
  12. Bake 15-18 minutes until lightly golden.
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Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese

Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy Halloween everyone! We hope you have a spooktacular day with plenty of tricks and treats! For today’s Recipe Monday, we will be making Creamy, One Pan Mac n Cheese.

Mac n Cheese is one of those foods that we cannot deny. We love cheese and we love our carbs so Mac n Cheese is one of our all-time favorite foods. We have tried many different recipes for homemade Mac n Cheese, but this one stands out. It is different from other roux-based and egg-based Mac n Cheeses. Both of these styles of Mac n Cheese have a downside.

creamy-mac-n-cheese-3

Roux-based Mac n Cheese tastes pretty good fresh out of the oven. But when you reheat the leftovers the next day, the roux breaks and you are left with cheesy, butter-coated noodles. Not very good in our opinion. Egg-based Mac n Cheese tastes too much like egg and not much like Mac n Cheese at all.

Another wonderful aspect of this recipe is that it all takes place in one pan. It was also extremely quick to make and we had all the ingredients on hand. This recipe is definitely a keeper. It is creamy and cheesy, plus it still tastes delicious and fresh the next day!


To begin, combine 4 cups of milk, 1 t salt and macaroni in a large pan. Heat on medium.
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Bring to low boil and stir frequently.
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Cook until macaroni is tender and milk is almost all gone. Milk will have curdled slightly, which is good.
creamy-mac-n-cheese-3
Remove from heat and add 2/3 c milk, shredded mozzarella, shredded sharp cheddar, cream cheese, butter, Dijon, and pepper.
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Stir to combine. Look at the ooegy gooegy goodness!
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Return to heat on low to melt cheeses. Stir frequently. Salt to taste.
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Plate and enjoy!
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Someone’s ready for their close-up!
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If you want some spice, you could add a little freshly ground nutmeg or a dash of cayenne. We are Mac n Cheese purists and therefore did not add such invasive ingredients. 😉

We do like spice in our Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies, however, which you can read about in last week’s Recipe Monday. These cookies are perfect to welcome in November!

Creamy One Pot Mac n Cheese

Creamy One Pot Mac n Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 lb elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz cream cheese cut into small pieces
  • 2 T butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. In a large frypan, heat 4 cups of milk, 1 t salt and uncooked macaroni over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a low boil, being careful not to scald the milk. Stir frequently.
  3. Cook until macaroni is tender and most of the milk has been absorbed. There will be clumps of curdled milk, but that is good.
  4. Remove from heat and add remaining 2/3 cup milk, shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, cream cheese, butter, Dijon and ground pepper.
  5. Place back on burner at low heat, stir until smooth and creamy. Salt to taste.
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Woof Trekking Dispatch #8: Tillamook Cheese Factory, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #8: Tillamook Cheese Factory, July 2012

posted in: Dispatches, Food, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In our last dispatch, we left off at our visit to the Tillamook Forest Center. Today’s dispatch is all about cheese, more specifically, the Tillamook Cheese Factory! If you are ever in Western Oregon, this glorious cheese factory is a must see! Our family loves all kinds of cheese, but we really LOVE Tillamook Cheese.

tillamook-cheese-factory-1

The Tillamook Cheese Factory is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas and is a working cheese factory.

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When you first pull up the factory, you see this massive boat, called the Morning Star. You can read more about the story of the boat in the picture below.

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There is a small walk-through museum of the Tillamook Company’s history and at the end there is a glorious sample table of all kinds of cheese.

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We may or may not have taken a couple trips through the sample line. ?

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Cheddar and more cheddar.

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Yummy pepper jack.

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After our cheese feast, we wandered up stairs to see the actual factory. But before you even see the factory, you see this ice cream stand. There were so many flavors to choose from.

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But we were too full to indulge in ice cream.

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There are two sides to the factory, one side there are these monster vats.

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Here is a description of what happens on this side of the factory.

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On the opposite side is where the blocks of cheese are cut. It was a beautiful sight to see the cheese marching its way through, starting as large blocks and ending up being packaged as small blocks.

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This panel describes what actually occurs on this side of the factory.

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After we were done being mesmerized by the cheese, we were hungry again. Luckily, it was supper time and they had a café with a menu based entirely around all the Tillamook cheese types.

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We got a huge helping of delicious mac and cheese along with a side salad topped with cheddar.

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We also got a grilled cheese with some of the awesome Tillamook cheddar and more salad topped with cheddar.

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Even though we were stuffed to the gills, we did indulge in Tillamook ice cream for dessert. However, it was so yummy, we forgot to take a picture. ?

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All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

posted in: Desserts, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

There is something magical about baking. Not only the magic of chemistry but also the magic of soothing the soul. Baking has a way of decreasing the stress of everyday life.

All Time Favorite Mini M&M Cookies

As you can tell from previous recipes, we love baked goods. We have shared our recipes for Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Peach Muffins. Last week, we also shared a recipe for Blueberry Crumble. Today, we wanted to share our favorite cookie recipe.

To us, a cookie should be sweet, soft, and include some form of chocolate. Our favorite form of chocolate for these cookies is mini M&Ms but you can use any kind, semi-sweet, milk, or dark. Whatever suits your fancy.

Another important characteristic for the perfect cookie is to not be over-baked. The cookie should be slightly brown on the bottom and just barely cooked in the middle. This yields a soft, moist cookie instead of a hard crumbly kind.

This recipe is quite fast. From beginning to end, it only takes 45 minutes to make 3 dozen cookies!

ALL TIME FAVORITE MINI M&M COOKIES

Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) in a bowl and set aside.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 1

Place softened butter, granulated sugar, and packed brown sugar into electric mixer.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 2

Cream together until fluffy.
Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 3

Prepare vanilla and 1 large egg.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 4

Here is the batter after all wet ingredients have been combined.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 5

Add the previously mixed dry ingredients into the batter.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 6

Mmm cookie dough!

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 7


Get those Mini M&M’s ready!

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 8

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix in the M&M’s.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 9

Scoop ’em out with a small ice cream scoop. Pop them into a preheated 350°F oven. Farewell, dear cookies. We shall meet again.

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 10

So much waiting!

 
10 minutes later…

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 11

Sweet Perfection!

Favorite Mini M&M Cookies - 12

All Time Favorite Mini M&M cookies

Yield: 36 cookies

All Time Favorite Mini M&M cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 6 ounces mini M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and both sugars together.
  5. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  6. Carefully mix in dry ingredients.
  7. Using spatula, fold in mini M&Ms.
  8. Scoop dough onto prepared pan, about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake 9-10 minutes, until bottom is lightly brown.
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Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping: GIFT #3

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping: GIFT #3

posted in: Desserts, Food, Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treats (GIFTs) | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Every time we see peaches we think about our Grandma. Our grandparents had lots of different jobs during their lifetimes but the one that they most talked about was when they had a farm and ran a roadside fruit stand.

It was hard work but Grandma was a people person and the fruit stand let her chat up the customers. On this particular stretch of road, there were a couple of rival fruit stands, run by other families.

Grandma took great pride in her wares and took the time to set out her fruit carefully so the fruit were not bruised. She also believed that her customers should treat the fruit with respect and care. So when customers stopped by to pick out peaches, they thought the best way to tell if they were ripe was to squeeze them. This was unacceptable to Grandma and she scolded the customers for doing this.


Since it was a small town, she knew everyone and everyone knew her. Eventually, word spread that Grandma wouldn’t let customers squeeze her peaches and a rival fruit stand put up a sign that said, “YES, you can squeeze my peaches.” Grandma thought this was hilarious. She loved to tell us this story and we loved seeing her face light up with delight.

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How to Make Perfect Plump Peach Muffins

So for today’s Grandma Inspired Fantastic Treat, we made some delicious Peach Muffins. Peach season is in full swing. According to Reference.com, peaches are in season May through September, peaking in July.

peach, peach chunks

Peeling and dicing up the peaches can take awhile to accomplish, we usually allot 30-45 minutes to do this. You can blanch them for easy peeling, but we usually just use a knife.

crumble, muffin crumble

The yummy crumb topping, a mix of brown sugar, quick oats, flour and butter.

brown sugar, flour, spices

The dry ingredients, looking sweet and spicy.

brown sugar, flour, spices

The dry ingredients are now prepped, awaiting the wet ingredients.

eggs, milk

Milk, eggs and vegetable oil all whisked and foamy.

batter

Tempted to eat some of this batter.

batter with fruit, peach

Now gently folding in the peeled and diced peaches.

batter with fruit, peach, cupcake pan, cupcake liner

We use an ice cream scooper to portion out the batter into prepared muffin tins.

batter with fruit, peach, cupcake pan, cupcake liner, crumb topping

The crumble topping finishes off these muffins and they are ready to go into the oven at 350°F.

finished peach muffins, muffin top, crumb topping

Lovely, golden brown peach muffins. Let cool and store in refrigerator.

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping

Perfect Plump Peach Muffins with Crumb Topping

Ingredients

  • For Crumb Topping
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 c butter, melted
  • For Muffins
  • 4 1/2 c flour
  • 2 c brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground allspice
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 c milk
  • 5 peaches, peeled and diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 24 muffin cups.
  3. Combine ingredients for crumb topping: brown sugar, flour, quick cooking oats and melted butter. Mix to combine and set aside.
  4. Combine dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  5. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, oil and milk. Stir into dry ingredients.
  6. Fold in peaches.
  7. Scoop batter into prepared cups. Cups will be be full.
  8. Sprinkle prepared crumb topping on top of each muffin
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  10. Let cool. Store in fridge.
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Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Mmmm, muffins.

Whenever we go on vacation, I eat muffins every single day from the free breakfast at the hotel. They are one of my favorite foods. I am to Muffins as Bubba Gump is to Shrimp (⇠click to see Bubba GIFs on imgur) or as Buddy the Elf is to Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corn, and Syrup (⇠click to see Buddy the Elf GIFs on imgur).

I like bran muffins, corn muffins, poppy seed, chocolate, blueberry, cranberry orange, cinnamon crumble, pumpkin chocolate chip and… today’s special:  BANANA OATMEAL!

I made 14 muffins with this recipe, but you could make 12 with larger tops.

banana, oats, muffins, breakfast, snack

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas
¾ cup milk
1 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
½ t salt
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line muffin tins with paper cups.

Mash bananas in medium bowl.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

Add milk, egg and vanilla to bananas.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, salt, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix to combine.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

May need to use whisk to break up chunks of brown sugar.

Add liquid ingredients and mix.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

 

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

Use ice cream scooper to put batter into prepared tin.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

Bake 15-20 minutes.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

Tops will be golden brown and a toothpick should come out dry.

Store leftovers. Here is a link about How to Store Muffins by Food Pyramid. They recommend covering with a towel for overnight storage, in an airtight container at room temp for a few days, and in the freezer for longer periods.

I store them in the fridge in a container (which they tell you not to do, meh) and then zap them in the microwave for a couple of seconds to reheat. I like ’em that way me-self, but just do you.

banana oatmeal muffins, banana, oatmeal, muffins

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you will try out the recipe. Happy Wednesday!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Yield: 12-14 Muffins

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ t salt
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin tins with paper cups.
  3. Mash bananas in medium bowl.
  4. Add milk, egg and vanilla to bananas.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats salt, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix to combine.
  6. Add liquid ingredients and mix.
  7. Use ice cream scooper to put batter into prepared tin.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes.
  9. Tops will be golden brown and a toothpick should come out dry.
  10. Store leftovers.
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