Kids in the Kitchen: Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Today, I’m kicking off a series of kid-friendly recipes – ones they’ll be able to help make and like to eat. I generally get a lot of questions about how I incorporate Jake into the cooking process. There’s nothing really earth-shattering about my approach: I just let him jump in wherever he can. Yes, it’s sometimes a mess. Yes, we have plenty of over-mixed muffins. But, he’s learning – and that’s important.

These mini muffins are a great place to start if you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They’re super simple and come together quickly. These definitely ebb on the healthier side of muffins – if your little one has a big sweet tooth, try mixing in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Kids can:

  • Mash the sweet potato & banana
  • Help measure ingredients
  • Mix
  • Help spoon the batter into muffin wells

Adults will need to:

  • Crack eggs
  • Put the muffins into the oven and take them out

SweetPotatoBananaMuffins

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins
(from The Lean Green Bean)
Makes 1 dozen mini muffins

1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Divide evenly between muffin wells.

Bake for 18 minutes.

 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

I have been in total use-it-up or throw-it-out mode. I think it’s part of nesting. I’ve cleaned out both freezers, the refrigerator, the pantry and our overflow canned good stock in the basement the last few days. I’m not sure the kitchen has ever looked better!

We had a few bananas that were just past prime. I probably could have given them a day or two and someone would have eaten them or tossed them in a smoothie – but my must-clean-off-the-counters brain couldn’t handle that, so I decided to try a new muffin recipe.

I’ve yet to meet a banana muffin I didn’t enjoy, but these were really good. Using mini chocolate chips keeps the banana flavor from being overwhelmed and the oatmeal added a nice chewiness.

BananaChocolateChipOatmealMuffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
(from The Taste of Home Baking Book)
Makes 12

1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium, ripe bananas, well mashed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in the bananas until evenly combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the wet ingredients until just moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before removing from the pan.

Banana Bread

I haven’t tackled that many kitchen projects since Jake was born, but when we ended up with a pile of over-ripe bananas, I decided it was time to get back to it. I’ve waned to try this recipe for a while – but never seemed to end up with enough bananas for it.

Even though this is a quick bread, it’s not super quick – but the extra steps give this bread a really flavor. I don’t know that this will be my go-to recipe just because of the number of bananas and steps (I’d probably want a truly quick bread recipe for most days), but it’s perfect for when I’ll want something a little special.

BananaBread

Banana Bread
(slightly adapted from The Science of Good Cooking)
Makes 1 Loaf

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 very ripe bananas, peeled
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

Place bananas in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave until bananas are soft and have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to a mesh strainer over a bowl and let drain for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add liquid to a saucepan and reduce to 1/4 cup.

Stir reduced liquid into bananas until smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Add banana mixture into flour mixture until just combined, with some streaks of flour remaining.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.