What do you feed a monkey?

I have a house full of monkeys. I will not lie about it. They are my little monkeys. Even the big one is a monkey even if he does not like me referring to him as such anymore. Evidently being called a monkey at 16 years old is not cool anymore. Still when you’ve got a pack of monkeys or is that a herd of monkeys, you still have to feed them. From time to time they like tasty treats. Sometimes you even have to shake it up for them. That is what we are doing tonight.

Last night I stayed up very late baking Monkey Muffins. I went to the rescue of a friend, Nicole Skidmore, this adding to the lateness of the muffin baking adventure. The plan started with the bananas that are turning to black slop in the gallon zippered bag in the refrigerator. However, I had another bunch of bananas on the counter that had also turned much blacker than is appropriate for bananas that are to be used for oral consumption out of a peal.

This is yet another rendition of the conspiracy at the Sansom house. They purposely let the bananas get severely overripe and spotted beyond recognition as a banana so that mom will make banana bread or some sort of rendition of banana bread. Now do you understand why I call them all monkeys?

And so the adventure began. I started earlier in the afternoon. Really I did. After several interuptions, however, time just kept dragging on and on…

“Cream butter and granulated sugar until is light and fluffy.” I have never really understood that. Butter is not something that I associate with light, and granulated sugar is not something that I associate with fluffy. It just does not work in my mind. You can cream the two together but even looking at this picture, I am not seeing fluffy. I am seeing creamed together and I am seeing something that is not a blob of fat combined with flowing sugar, but I am certainly not seeing “light and fluffy.” It is crumbly even. It is different, certainly. This is the right consistency, perhaps.

Of course you have to cream in the eggs. I suppose you can say that it is looking a bit more “light and fluffy” at his point. The amount of muffins that I made with the amount of bananas that I had uses a lot of eggs. Of course I was also wondering if it was a cookie consistency or a muffin consistency at this point. Alas, it is muffins. We’ll see how it continues to go from here.

You then add the vanilla, but not just any vanilla. It needs to be Penzeys Vanilla. I used Penzeys Single Strength Vanilla in particular. I threw in an extra teaspoon for good measure. I did have a bottle of the Double Strength stuff, but this was open. No sense opening the extra good stuff when the good stuff is already open.

Now it is not just liquid ingredients at this point, I was surprised by the sudden change in consistency when I added the salt and baking soda. That was all I added and suddenly I had a nice batter instead of the thick stuff.

Add in the banana slop. I had a lot of bananas, but in this bunch of bananas, I was short about 1/2 cup to make up a good round increase on the recipe. To make up the difference, I just used some plain ordinary apple sauce.

The batter after mixing in the bananas. The bananas really made it lose its nice texture and made it runny and not so pretty to look at. I have great faith that this will turn around once we get the rest of the ingredients incorporated into the batter.

Next you add the peanut butter. You can use whatever peanut butter you want to add. I use the peanut butter my children do not like for these particular projects. I would like to confess to being a peanut butter snob, but alas I am not. I buy what is on sale, I have coupons for, etc. From time to time we end up with some duds. I will repeat that. Sometimes we end up with some real duds. When I say that it is a dud it simply means that it is not the boys’ first choice, but when I say that it is a real dud it means that the boys have gone back to the cupboard and gotten something “other than” that particular brand of peanut butter. When I find that there are suddenly three jars of peanut butter on the Lazy Susan on the counter open I take note on what they are. There are usually two jars open – crunchy and creamy. I can handle having two jars open because I know that they will be consumed fairly quickly regardless and I have people that like creamy and will not touch the crunchy peanut butter. I also have some that like crunchy and will complain about the lack on chunkiness in their peanut butter. I aim to please both parties so I relent and we have two jars of peanut butter open at all times. Since I have one child that is sixteen years old and I swear that he survives on peanut butter alone I believe that compromise is a good thing. He has taken a peanut butter sandwich to school almost every single day since he started school since he has started packing lunches every single day. I cannot complain. He likes peanut butter and if you saw just how much peanut butter the child put on his sandwiches you would understand the lack of worry involved with two jars of peanut butter being open at one time. Now when a third jar is open, there is a reason to be concerned because you know something is up especially when two of them are fresh jars. I have found that this is because they just will not touch one of the jars. They do not like it. I have also found that this does not mean that they will not eat it all together. I just have to hide the peanut butter in other things. It is usually a texture thing that gets them on the duds. Sometimes it is a flavor thing, but most times it is a texture thing. I cannot say that I entirely blame them. So for those duds and real duds, I set them aside and we reserve them for cookies or other fun things like muffins, waffles, or things that easily hide the texture and flavor. I do not feel bad for spending a little bit less on them because I bought them on sale and I used coupons. I still use them, they just do not consume for things like sandwiches. I do not have to feel guilty for wasting a lot of precious peanut butter that the kids would normally eat for things like cookies or muffins. It is a win-win in my opinion.

After everything is almost mixed in, we have an almost perfect muffin batter. I am so excited. It is almost complete!

I am almost convinced that this is the boys’ favorite part of the Monkey Muffins – miniature chocolate chips. Chocolate makes everything better, right? Surely it does not hurt.

A lot of Monkey Muffin batter ready to be baked. This is what you feed a group of monkeys.

I use my cookie scoop to scoop it into the mini-muffin pans. It is a perfect scoop to make quick work of filling the pans.

Bake for 15 minutes and you have perfect muffins. These are really delicious. They smell of banana bread and peanut butter. You are not sure what to expect when you bite into them.

Eleven dozen mini-muffins later I was done baking at something like 1:45AM this morning. It was a late night, but it was worth the effort. I will bag them in sets of two dozen and freeze them that way. I will allow them to eat a few of them before I do that. I can then pull out bags of muffins as I see fit and the kids can enjoy the muffins without any work on my part. So a little bit of work and effort on my part now means no work later. Really it is not a lot of work now, it is just time consuming getting all the muffins through my oven that no longer bakes more than one pan at a time consistently.

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