Monday, February 24, 2014

Banana Sour Cream Muffins #MuffinMonday

The secret to these muffins is the sour cream. It makes them so rich and moist I will double dog dare you to eat just one. Can’t be done.

Since I’m still in Uganda, once again, I’ve chosen an ingredient that is produced here in abundance, bananas. We’ve been eating them every day and the farm where we are staying grows several types, including ones called Matoki that the Ugandans serve cooked and mashed. They taste remarkably like potatoes.  For these muffins, use normal sweet bananas.

I’ll add a little bit about my first day at Masooli School and some photos after the recipe so for anyone who is interested, scroll on down.

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 100g cup brown sugar
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 medium bananas or 175g when peeled)
3/4 cup or 185g sour cream
1 large egg

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with muffin papers.

Combine your flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your bananas, egg, oil, sour cream and vanilla.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when it’s still quite dry looking. 

Divide your batter between the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pans and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.


The first day at school got off to a late start when the battery on our rented van was dead and the engine refused to turn over. The plan had been to start our “specials” of art, sewing, technology and puzzles at 8:30 and get through four half-hour sessions before recess at 10:30. Then we’d keep going for another four sessions before the 1 p.m. lunch hour. And yet another four 30-minute sessions between 2 and 4 p.m. Well, that didn’t happen. But between day one and day two, we did manage to see all of the P4, P5, P6 and P7 children, teaching in all more than 200 children.

My sewing project was for each of them to make a small drawstring bag, tied with ribbon. So far, they have all started their bags and I am hoping they will finish them in one more 30-minute session each. I will also be working with the lower grades, stringing beads and playing with punch cards and shoestring for “stitching” practice.

Here’s an amazing thing: At the instigation of my teacher friend, Margaret, also known as MJ (the one who sucked me into this!) last school year was the first time that Masooli School had a Kindergarten class so, before that, they all arrived in P1 at the age of six with no knowledge of the alphabet or counting and, frankly, no experience in the how to behave in school or listen to the teacher. This year the P1 teacher is having a joyous time! Her students already know about half of the year’s curriculum and they all know how to sit and learn and listen and interact.

Which brings me to another change that has come about in this school the last two years. The children are gradually learning to interact, to question, to discuss, to collaborate. The old educating-by-rote method, that is sheer memorization, is slowing dying out as the teachers learn to teach in a new more dynamic, interactive style. Which is a pretty amazing breakthrough. I know that is a very western idea so it will take a while to overcome the innate shyness of these students but we are already seeing the blossoming of calculative thought and reasoning.

The kindergarten students with MJ.

Putting on their new shoes to make a "short call," the Uganda term for a trip to the toilet to pee pee.

Masooli School yard

Enjoying the donated laptops

Crowding around an iTouch

Art lab

Their favorite thing:  Selfies! With one of my fellow Dubai-based volunteers.
Then they all want to see!

The lunch line at 1 p.m. - serving a hot lunch to more than 250 students.
About 120 little ones who go home before lunch get porridge mid-morning.
Sharing her juice drink in a bag with her friends.

Some of my students with their bags.  They were so proud to have sewn them! If you'd like to see photos of the area around Masooli and read about my first impressions of Uganda, check out my Muffin Monday post from last week.


  1. aw! I love all the pics from Uganda-so sweet!

    and ooooh these muffins look great-sour cream does do such amazing things in baked goods, so moist!

  2. yeah, yeah, I'm sure the muffins are yummy but the other is much more interesting. What an amazing life adventure you're taking on. So fascinating!

  3. Love your muffins as always and thank you so much for sharing more of these gorgeous pictures!!

  4. You are an angel, Stacy! What a gift you've given the children <3

    Your baked goods - as always - look yummy and perfect for the occasion!

  5. I bake banana bread all the time (secret ingredient buttermilk). I will try your muffin recipe for something different. I lived in Nigeria as a kid over 40 years ago... great experience, loved the people. (PS: Might want to add to your description above wet ingredients photo that the mashed bananas are also in that bowl.) Hint: Immersion blenders mush up bananas super fast.

  6. Oooh, thank you, Tami! That's what I get for rushing to schedule a post before I leave town. The text has been amended to include the bananas in the instructions.

    So you were an expat child too. I'd love to hear more about your experiences!

  7. Thank you, Kim. Angel is taking it a bit too far but I did enjoy teaching them.

  8. Thank you, Tara! It was my pleasure.

  9. It was quite an adventure, Anita! I'll post photos from the safari soon too!

  10. They are worlds away from what we are used to but already half a world away from what they had when my friends first got involved. I should post some before and after photos someday.

    I am a bad, bad food blogger, Nancy! I didn't take photos of the meals I ate there. I did have goat stew, fish stew, matoki (a banana that you eat cooked and tastes like mashed potato) as well as local griddle flat bread with the beans and poshu (very like polenta and made from ground corn) that was served at the school every day for lunch. I'll try to be better next time I go!

  11. Thank you, Kayle! The muffins were great. I ate two in a row when they came out of the oven. And I am not usually a sweet eater. My favorite muffins are savory.

  12. Lived in Ibadan for 9 months during Biafran war in the '60s (their civil war). I was very young. School was English (since Nigeria was originally under British rule). Was a good school and I liked my Nigerian friends very much. Taught my friends at my home after school how to play poker, haha! They taught me how to walk on very tall stilts and carry those big baskets on my head with no hands! My dad was overseeing construction of a dam and the water pumping stations.

  13. #2 absolutely loves banana bread and I'm positive he'll love these muffins as well - never thought of adding sour cream! Smiling at all those happy kiddos - remind me of my own kids (from kg through 12th grade) here in Seoul - slightly different setting, but otherwise, very little difference! Really need to get in touch with your teacher friend - I'm itching to learn more about this and it's right up my alley!

  14. Gotta love banana muffins! And I love the school photos. Amazing!

  15. The recipe was wonderful and I have some bananas just waiting to be used - but the tour of the school and the students was the best! I love those little bags - wish i could sew too!


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