On Sleeplessness and Overripe Bananas

This morning at 4:45 a.m., after an hour of begging my body to return to sleep, I gave in to my sleeplessness.  I wandered out into the kitchen, fed the dogs, and pondered how to make myself useful until the sun came up.  TiVo, my trusted digital friend, had last night's episode of Private Practice as well as the Top Chef Reunion Show to offer me, but it was really the brown, nearly wrinkled bunch of bananas on the counter that I kept coming back to. 

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Why not bake at 5:00am?  I mean, I am sure mad scientist type things happen in the early hours of the morning.  Sure, I was a bit groggy having only had a couple of hours of sleep, but baking seemed like the perfect thing to take my mind off of all of the reasons I wasn't able to sleep.

You see, with baking there is a lot of precision and focus involved.  You can't just toss this and that in a bowl and presto!, you have something tasty.  With baking I have to concentrate, thoroughly read the instructions, consult several recipes to figure out how to most safely transform Banana Walnut Bread into Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  While I was doing that I wasn't thinking about how the dogs were going to be boarded this weekend and probably wouldn't eat the entire time.  And I wasn't at all concerned about the changes going on at my office that will inevitable affect what role I play in my company.  Oh, and I for sure wasn't thinking about missing my stepdaughter's parade on Saturday because we have other commitments we made months ago.  It's just complicated being an adult, and that's when overripe bananas and a few cookbooks really come into play.

Overripe bananas  are uncomplicated and practically hang around forever before you can't use them.  In fact, my recipe specifically said the riper the better.  So I suppose all of the breakfasts this week where I intended to eat a banana but instead went flying out the door  late for meetings and all of the afternoon snacks of bananas and peanut butter that I meant to eat but just ran out of time trying to coordinate taking care of all of the things in my life--well, they all led up to these amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The smell of them wooed my husband out of bed before I even pulled them out of the oven around 6:30 a.m.  As he pulled one of the warm muffins apart to see the oozing chocolate chips on the inside he said, "So this is what life would be like if you were a stay at home wife."

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Truthfully, I'd probably still have sleepless nights with a lot of things to think about.  That's just me.  At least I know that some quiet time in the kitchen will help me work through it.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
recipe adapted from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook and Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
makes 12-15 muffins

The muffins will end up somewhere between a banana bread and a breakfast muffin.  They were sweet, but not overly sweet.  If you'd rather them be more sweet, punch up the sugar.  If you only have yogurt and no sour cream--just use all yogurt.  If you like a pronounced contrast between sweet and salty, use salted butter.  If you'd rather have walnuts than chocolate chips, be my guest to make that swap.  Craisins sound mighty fine too. 

2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 very ripe bananas, well-mashed
2 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.  In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine eggs, bananas, yogurt, sour cream, vanilla, melted butter, and vegetable oil.  Mix well.  Fold banana mixture and chocolate chips into the flour mixture.  Be careful not to overmix.

Fill muffin wells 3/4 full.  Bake on the middle rack for 20-22 minutes.  Check for done ness.  If a toothpick comes out clean, then they are done.  If toothpick seems wet, bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes and re-check.  Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool.

Eat warm or room temp. 


  1. Those look wonderful! I'm a worrier too...I always find that cooking and baking soothes me (which sometimes yields more food than we can possibly eat)!

  2. Steven...err...Chip? Haha. Perhaps if you had tasted the muffins, you would think they were good! And I can't even believe you read my blog!


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