Sunday, June 12, 2011

Healthy(ish) Banana Nut Muffins

Bananas -- portable, naturally pre-packaged, delicious, and a fabulous accompaniment to my beloved oatmeal breakfast. They're cheap here, so I buy them nearly every time I shop for groceries. I often can't eat them all before they start to turn -- but that's the part I love!

Usually we make banana bread (JJ's recipe is tops), but I wanted to try something new, and something that's a little lighter in the butter department. Nothing beats cinnamon and spice-y winter breads, but come summer, I'm ready for light fruity sweets.

So last week, I baked banana muffins, and to my delight, they came out great! I took one to work for breakfast for the next few days, and wrapped up the extras for my co-teachers.

This week, I found myself in the same delicious overripe bananas predicament, and I decided to take it a step further in the right--or light (oh, Korea!) -- direction. The recipe, which makes 18 muffins, calls for 1/2 cup (a stick) + 2 tbsp butter. I hacked that in half and substituted in some delicious homemade cinnamon-vanilla applesauce, ending up with only 5 tablespoons of butter for the whole thing. I also substituted maple syrup and honey for 1/3 of the white sugar.

Also, since I know how much I liked eating them for breakfast, I wanted to make it a bit heartier. To that end, I added a generous handful of steel cut oats and let them soak in the wet mixture for about 10 minutes while I mashed up bananas, measured out the dry ingredients, etc. I also crushed up some almonds and cashews I had lying around and added them to the sugar/butter/flour mixture that makes these muffins sing. Here's the final recipe:

1. Wet ingredients: Blend 1/2 cup white sugar, about 1/4c brown sugar and 3 tbsp butter with a hand mixer. Mash up 5 overripe bananas. Add that, 1 egg + 1 egg white, about 1/3 cup of applesauce, (optional: + a handful of steel cut oats) to the rest.
2. Dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1.5 tsp baking soda, pinch of salt, 1 tsp cinnamon.
3. Blend wet + dry, just until combined.
4. Topping: 3 tbsp flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup crushed nuts, 1tsp assorted spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, whatever you've got around)

Bake @ 190C for 18 minutes. Enjoy!

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