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Friday, October 2, 2009

Embellished Banana Muffins with a Twist

Bananas are my favorite fruit. Compact, easy to carry, and they come in their own disposable/biodegradable container. Bananas are high in potassium; they are thought to help ward off the a cyclist's dreaded leg cramp known as a "Charlie Horse"; excellent food to eat for an immediate energy boost; and they help with high blood pressure control. South America's greatest export. I absolutely believe in a banana a day as my daily medicine, though an apple a day is much more filling. I've previously posted that I am not much of a baker and tend to stick to the things I do well and that are easy. Quick breads and crisps and the occasional pie. I could post several entries on the "Mess-Cake" series. Treats that taste mostly good but are not photo or blog-worthy. Maybe the next time I'm stuck for an entry, I'll publish some of my memorable-but let's never talk about it again-baking experiments gone awry. This recipe is firmly in the category of works every time, tastes great, and guess what? it's really good for you. A retooled Deceptively Delicious Banana Bread recipe, I've worked it up to lower the fat even more, added in more fiber and kept the muffins low-cal and incredibly moist. I'm tooting my own shofar here - These muffins are my best baking effort yet! I have been making the recipe in a regular sized 12 portion muffin-pan; keeping six plain, and adding chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and or nuts to the other six. This way if Liz wants a plain muffin that she can add a schmear of peanut butter to, it's there. I prefer banana and chocolate - a more perfect combination I know not.

Banana Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Wheat Germ, Flax Seed Flour or Quick Cook Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Light or Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Greek Style Plain Yogurt, or Regular Non-Fat Plain Yogurt (or use a small container - 4.5 to 6 ounces total)
  • 2 Large Eggs or 1 Whole Egg and 1 Egg White (it depends on what you want- or of course, you could use egg substitute liquid)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Banana Puree - about 3 Medium/Large Bananas. (It's okay to use a bit more, up to 2 cups, if that's what it measures)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Optional add-ins: Walnuts, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Peanut butter Chip
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Use a 12 portion regular sized muffin tin or two 6 portion tins and line each with cupcake liners/inserts.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flours, wheat germ or oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and the yogurt and whisk to "cream" the sugar - incorporating the dairy product with the sugar to help the sugar start to dissolve. Mix in the eggs, banana puree and vanilla. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture and stir to combine. If the mixture appears too wet and loose, feel free to add in more flour, oatmeal, wheatgerm or flax seed flour - by the quarter cup. The batter will be wet, but should not be too loose or liquidy.
  5. Using a spring loaded ice-cream scoop, fill each muffin insert to the top with the mixture. It's easier to fill the muffin cups with the ice-cream scoop. If adding in nuts and chips, scatter over the top of the muffin batter and gently push down into the wet batter, submerging part-way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before removing them. Turn out and cool the muffins on a wire rack completely before serving. Makes 1 dozen 4-6 ounce muffins.

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