Banana Cereal Muffins

Adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce

I think of this as a garbage disposal-style recipe, and I hope you won’t take that the wrong way. What I mean is, you can throw your nearly dead bananas at it, and your leftover hot cereal from this morning, and that bag of dark rye flour you’ve had lying around in the refrigerator since last March. Or, if you’re short a banana but happen to have some applesauce, put a little of that in instead. I might even try using leftover oatmeal next time, instead of the cracked grain cereal.

Another note: Boyce calls for creaming butter when it’s cold, rather than room temperature. I can’t say for sure, but I think she does it as a convenience: that way, you don’t have to plan ahead. I was nervous, but when beaten on high speed, it really does cream just fine.

½ cup cracked-multigrain hot cereal, such as Bob’s Red Mill or Bluebird Grain Farms Old World Cereal Blend
Pinch of salt
1 cup (140 grams) dark rye flour
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
¼ cup (50 grams) dark brown sugar
3 very ripe bananas, about 1 ¼ pounds or 565 grams
2 Tbsp. unsulphured (not blackstrap) molasses
1 large egg

Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Add the cereal and salt, and whisk to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cereal is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool; then set aside ½ cup of the cooked cereal, saving the rest for another use. (You can freeze it in ½-cup portions to use for more muffins later, if you want.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 8 cups of a standard-size muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dark rye flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and the brown sugar. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the bananas, molasses, egg, and the ½ cup cooled cereal, and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined, a minute or so. It may look curdled. Don’t worry about that. Add the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed to just combine. Using the spatula, mix a bit more to ensure that the flour is entirely absorbed.

Scoop the batter into the 8 prepared muffin cups. (I use an ice cream scoop to do this, but you could also use a spoon.) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan midway through, until the bottoms of the muffins are dark golden in color. (Twist one out of the pan to check.) Remove the tins from the oven, transfer the hot muffins to a wire rack, and cool slightly. The muffins are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. Or, on later occasions, consider warming them in the oven or toasting them lightly before serving. They also freeze beautifully.

Yield: 8 muffins