So I have an issue with bananas. I never eat them. I buy them for other people. Every once and a while I end up with excess bananas. I will occasionally freeze them for smoothies, but the remainder go to my other love – banana baked goods.
Since I had already mixed up some cookie dough that was chilling in the fridge, I decided I should at least pretend like I’m healthy. I have this weird set of cognitive schemas where banana muffins = healthy, and banana bread=dessert. So I was trying to do the healthy thing, which meant muffins were on the menu. Also trying to be healthy also meant that I should probably make them with oats.
A few weeks ago I tried a recipe that directed me to my food processor. Which kind of excited me because my mom had just given me her ancient food processor (I think it was a wedding present, so I guess it’s not that old, but looking at it you wouldn’t know that), and since I have a tendency to fling stuff everywhere with the beater (the thing has a mind of its own) using the food processor meant hopefully mess free. Problem was that I ended up with a very dense, moderately chewy muffin. Which happens when you over-mix. Which is likely to happen if you use a food processor and don’t pay enough attention.
I decided I wanted a more oat-y texture this time round, so back to Google/Pinterest I went. Problem was that I realized that after making cookies I only had one egg. Every recipe called for two. Crap. They also called for butter. Which I’m not such a huge fan of in baking, especially since, you know I’m a healthy baked goods addict. Having a general idea of how to make muffins, I decided to wing it.
First thing – swap the oil/butter most recipes use for apple sauce and Greek Yogurt. Second – swap in an extra banana for the missing egg. Good? I’ve filled two health check marks. One more thing I have to do though. Ever since a kid, I always have added chocolate chips, my mom apparently didn’t like the whole idea because I only ever convinced her to add them to half the batter. But these were my muffins – so in the chocolate chips went. Result – a delicious muffin that is healthy enough for me to justify the addition of chocolate at breakfast.
If you want to be cool like me, you can knock the mixer off the edge of the bowl after the second addition of flour, somehow triggering it to turn on and getting batter everywhere. This is totally optional though.
What you need to gather up:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cup quick cooking oats (not minute or instant)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 mashed bananas (if your bananas are little use 4)
- 1 container applesauce (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (you could also use other yogurt, but if you use the fat free skip the milk)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips
How to turn these ingredients into something moderately healthy:
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line muffin tin (or grease it).
- Combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, sift it together.
- Beat egg, sugars, bananas (it is best if you do this with a hand whisk – the batter will be fairly liquid-y at this stage, so it is very prone to attaching itself to your walls/cabinets/shirt). Add in applesauce, yogurt, milk, and vanilla and again beat until just combined! (over beating makes a chewy dense muffin)
- At this point you can start using you mixer/beaters. Slowly added flour, beating until the flour is mostly incorporated until the last addition, then beat until just combined.
- Spoon into muffin tin (should make 12), filling the cups almost to the top. Put in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F and bake for an extra 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 5 minutes then take them out and cool on rack.
in case you’re wondering – you start high (425F) to get a nice puffy muffin top, don’t cook them all the way at this temperature though or it will backfire and you will end up with a dense, overcooked muffin.
If you were going to go the loaf route:
- This Peanut Butter Banana Loaf from Solid Recipes is great (I used Greek yogurt and white flour, and no nuts, turned out great!)
- Also, this Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction is really good!
Of course the loaf can always be made into a muffin reducing cook time to somewhere in the 20-30 minute ballpark, if you’re like me and HAVE to use a muffin recipe – these Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins from Delicious in a DASH look very promising!
Happy baking folks!