For those of you expecting Part 2 of the adventure, this isn’t it. But when you hike for two weeks straight, you get really hungry.
Hungry enough to write about it on your blog. Even when it’s not a food blog (don’t worry, I’m not converting). (P.S. The number of food blogs out there is alarming. Seriously? Doesn’t anyone use cookbooks any more??)
Like, you’re just walking walking walking (uphill both ways) (sometimes with an enormous pack on your back) and subsisting on trail food (mmm peanut butter and granola and powdered milk) and ALL you can think about is everything you’ve eaten in your entire life and everything you want to eat for the rest of your life. Not too different from the last few miles of a marathon. Or perhaps the tail end of a hunger strike.
Okay, so I’m being a little dramatic. We weren’t nutritionally deprived by any stretch of the imagination. But by mid trip, we were having some major cravings (when E wants a burger AND fries…at the same time…you know something is up). Each and every deep and meaningful trail conversation somehow evolved into a discussion on food.
These cravings were satisfied in part by the famous Fergburger in Queenstown (amazing, worth the hype, GO THERE), and Patagonia ice cream. The latter we had to get two days in a row (a double scoop both times) because it was unbelievable. Don’t miss the Mascarpone Cheese & Fruits of the Forest. As a proud Ohioan, I reluctantly admit that on the list of best-ice-cream-ever, it bumped Graeter’s from second to third (don’t worry Ollie’s, you’re still safe at #1). But that is not the point.
The point is that a week later, I cannot stop fixating on food. And the batch of banana nut chocolate chip muffins I just pulled out of the oven turned out so good, I thought I’d share (no, not the muffins. the recipe). Somewhere in the process of combining a half dozen recipes and converting all sorts of different measurements (I’ll try to keep it American for you), I stumbled upon a pretty awesome result. So here goes.
Preheat oven to 375 F and grease your muffin tins. This will make about 12-16 normal sized muffins.
Mash 3 ripe bananas. A metal slotted spoon worked really well, and I added a splash of milk for easy mashing. Mix in 1/2 or 3/4 C sugar. I did the latter, but you don’t need quite that much (especially if your bananas are large, or if you are going for more of a breakfast muffin than a dessert muffin). Mix in 1/3 C melted butter (or applesauce if you want to pretend to be healthy), 1 egg, and 1 tsp vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together 1 & 1/2 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp cocoa powder (the last two were my own addition so I went light at first. I might try 2 of each next time).
Stir together wet and dry ingredients. I added another big splash of milk to give it more of a muffin-batter consistency (use your judgment). Add 1 C dark chocolate chunks (in New Zealand, I’ve mostly been baking with chocolate “buttons” – i usually chop them up for cookies, but I liked the idea of big, whole pieces in these muffins), and a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts if you want (I just sprinkled them on top because A) they’re hard to come by here, and B) I like the muffin top to be extra special). Bake 16-18 minutes. And definitely eat one (or three) before they’ve cooled.
I don’t know if I’ll ever re-create the muffin heaven I got to experience at Ohio Wesleyan (the amazing pumpkin, lemon poppyseed, zucchini, double chocolate chip, banana nut, cinnamon, and others were DEFINITELY discussed on our trails), but this was a nostalgic and delicious first step.