Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I do not consider myself the competitive type.  Tending to steer clear of tournaments, races and high stake games, I prefer to muddle along at my own pace trying to enjoy the activity of the moment.  As the lone female in my very male dominated household, I also feel it is my duty to harness this quality, and thus counterbalance some of the testosterone and endless desire to win that rages under our roof.

But my attitude somehow shifted a little last year when my oldest started secondary school and decided to take his own lunch.  Suddenly, I was faced with a driving compulsion to guarantee his midday selection surpassed that of all his counterparts.  Faced with the challenge of his very simple palate (in both taste and colour), and the grim reality that he is content with merely a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps, I focused on my baking skills to ensure his peers were regularly reminded of exactly how lucky he is.

So, ignoring any question of my sanity, and under the premise of "recipe testing", I pack off my son every morning (who incidentally travels across London on the underground) with an extra tupperware of baked treats.  Brownies, cookies, muffins, home made granola bars and the like to share with his friends. Hoping, of course, that I will get a little more than a

"Fine"

or

"OK" as a begrudging reply to my daily nudge along the lines of

"How were your treats today?"

But, when these chocolate chip banana muffins (of which there is always an emergency stash in the freezer) are the treat of the day, I usually get a more enthusiastic response of

"Good.  Everyone liked them"

and sometimes even finished with a

"Thanks" (Sometimes.  He is 12 after all)

Funny thing is, anyone who spent any time in our house after 1986 (when the original recipe was coaxed out of our neighbour in Philadelphia) will probably remember Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins as a regular and much loved feature on our kitchen counter.

So, here they are.  My version.  With buttermilk, cinnamon and a little more banana.  And if you can get your hands on them, peanut butter chips take these muffins to a whole new level.

This recipe is an excellent way to use up those last over ripe bananas lurking in your fruit bowl and can easily be made as a loaf for tea.  I often double it to make muffins and loaves to stockpile for a rainy afternoon (or my sons lunchbox).

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins, or 2 loaf cakes

3 large very ripe bananas (approx 300g in weight when peeled)

125g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature (plus more for greasing)

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

175g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

80g (1/3 cup buttermilk)

200g (approx 1 cup) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners or grease and line two loaf tins with parchment

Peel the bananas and mush them with a fork.  I am a bit lazy so there are sometimes some chunks in the muffins.  Dont stress too much about the perfect mushing.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Add the eggs to the butter and sugar scraping down between each one, and then add the vanilla extract.

Mix the banana into the wet ingredients and add the buttermilk.

Pour in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Stir through the chocolate chips.

Divide mixture into muffin tins (I do this with a large ice cream scoop), or pour into loaf tin.

Bake muffins for 20 minutes and allow to cool on a rack for a few minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely.

Loaf cakes should take 40 minutes to bake (but check after 35 minutes).

Enjoy!