Friday, May 1, 2015

missionary cookbook // go bananas

Here in Honduras, we always have lots of bananas... and if you are gifted them, it's often an entire stalk of 40+ of them straight off the tree. And they ripen extremely fast, even with all the tricks in the world (separating each banana, putting wrap/foil on the stems etc, etc.). So I like finding ways to use them, like these two recipes, that are super easy and quick. It's also perfect if you're ever feeling defeated and like you can't bake anything (everyone has those days!), and it's really perfect if you have surprise visitors!


This is the very first recipe I made here in Honduras that has never ceased to go over perfectly with each of my Honduran friends, though so many never had heard of it before! Simple but great.

Perfect Banana Muffins
Makes: 12-15 muffins
Time: Prep - 10 minutes // Bake - 15 minutes
3 browned bananas (if you're feeling crazy, 4)
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mash the bananas but not too much, and then beat in the eggs, followed by the sugar. Then mix in the oil & the vanilla. (This is your liquid base.) Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl together, then add to the wet ingredients and blend well. Bake in a greased muffin tin at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until brown and a fork comes out clean. You can do this all with a hand mixer, but it's really not necessary. Fork/whisk/mixing spoon/whatever works just fine.

Now this recipe is really not all that fancy, and baking powder and baking soda can be substituted in for each other (in different amounts) whenever needed with this, so that's great. Sometimes you can't find both! But please, whatever do, be patient enough to wait until your bananas have browned a lot. Overripe bananas make a huge difference. I might have learned this the hard way. If you want do want to be fancy though, you can either make a streusel topping or a simple glaze to finish! We almost always do one or the other. (Oh, who am I kidding, Jamey loves any excuse to have icing.)


Another similar, yet more dessert-like to way to use up your bananas is this great banana coffee cake. It's perfect for dessert, or if you want, breakfast! I love making this recipe when I want to be sure that I have plenty for however many people come over. 

Banana Bread Coffee Cake
Makes: 1 - 13x9in cake
Time: Prep - 10 minutes // Bake - 45 minutes
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
3-4 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, then mix in the sugar. Next, beat in the butter. Beat in the eggs and vanilla together. Mix the dry ingredients well with the wet ingredients. Lastly, pour in one cup of milk. Mix well. It will be a lot of batter and it will be runny.

You'll also need to make a crumb topping and a glaze if desired (see below). I just make it in a greased 9x13 pan, pour in the batter, top evenly with crumb topping mixture, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

*For a crumb topping, you can use anything from brown sugar, regular sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon to make it how you like it. I make it different every time. If it looks like streusel topping, I'm sure it will taste fine! The glaze is powdered sugar with a dash of milk to make it liquid-y enough to pour. If you pour too much milk, add more sugar to reach desired consistency.

This cake is really sweet, y'all. But not as rich as Truvy's Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa, so don't worry. It serves plenty and is perfect for a crowd!

Missionary Tips:

- The only mission field hard to find ingredient in these recipes should be vanilla extract. Remember that there is a big difference difference between extract and concentrate. Concentrate is fair more available here in Honduras than extract and I have to pay close attention to the labels. Best bet: ask for some in a care package or bring some with you from a trip home.

- Pictured above in my muffin tin are my silicone baking cups. Now I'm up to several different silicone items in my kitchen, and I love each one of them. They are SO useful anywhere, but especially in the mission field where cooking spray is expensive! You do have to condition them with oil the first few uses, but after that you can reuse them each time without oil. Talk about budget friendly and environment friendly!

- Want another tip for using up your bananas? Substitute eggs for bananas when making brownies. Yum!