We’ve made it to the weekend, YES!
I’m kicking it off here with a new recipe, a muffin recipe!
Five of my favorite pros about muffins and quickbreads are:
1) They’re super quick to whip up (as the name, quick-bread, implies ;))
2) They typically require just 1 bowl (minimal clean-up, yes please!)
3) They’re versatile — add nuts or chocolate chips; use white or whole wheat flour; use different toppings– let your creative juices flow!
4) They freeze well. Bake a double-batch, freeze half, and have them ready for another time!
5) They’re flavorful, moist, and dang-delicious 🙂
It’s been awhile since I’ve made a muffin. Muffins. For no particular reason, other than that I typically grab a yogurt for breakfast. A healthy breakfast to kick off the day, you know? But I’m adding these beauties into the healthful breakfast-foods mix! They’re easy to grab-n-go in the morning.
Muffins get a bad rap. And not necessarily without good reason. There are lots of muffins out there that are loaded with sugar & fat, and really are a frosting-less cupcake. But there are so many ways to make muffins healthier! That was the goal here.
Growing up, my mom would make banana bread often. At least once a month, if not more like weekly. We always had a banana bread in the freezer, ready to be put on the counter the night before a family breakfast and enjoyed, fully defrosted, the next morning.
So, it’s no surprise that the first banana bread, the first dozens of banana breads and muffins that I made, were with her recipe. And I’ve shared it with you all! It’s this recipe (but with 1/4 cup oil instead of the 1/4 applesauce mentioned in the post).
I still LOVE that recipe! For a classic banana bread, head on over there and you can whip that up in a jiff (under 30 minutes + bake time).
My goal here though, was to make some substitutions to make it a bit healthier.
Flour: I used a combination of whole wheat flour and oats. That way you get a healthy dose of whole grains and fiber.
Sugar: For sweetener, I used 1/3 cup honey instead of the 2/3 cup granulated sugar. Honey is sweeter than sugar, so you only need about half as much (depending on the recipe / your preferences). Honey also has vitamins & minerals and anti-inflammatory properties that granulated sugar does not have. And, honey is lower on the glycemic index, so it will spike your blood sugar less than regular sugar. I’m not saying honey is “healthy”–at the end of the day, it is made of sugar. But, there are absolutely health benefits to using honey in place of granulated sugar.
Oil: I used olive oil. We’ve been hearing for years that olive oil is the healthy oil. And it is! (in moderation of course) Olive oil has lots of health benefits, like having monounsaturated fats (the good ones) and antioxidants.
Add-ins: I added in a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract, and topped the muffins with a sprinkling of brown sugar and slivered almonds. All for amped-up deliciousness 🙂
Now, it’s time! Muffin time.
Honey Olive Oil Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (1 dozen).
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten to break up the yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed (I usually use 3 medium-large sized. Today’s were a little smaller so I decided to go with 4)
Brown sugar, to sprinkle on top (optional)
slivered almonds, chopped pecans, or your favorite nut, to sprinkle on top (optional)
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. Set it aside.
3) In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
4) Make a well (aka an indent) in the middle of your dry ingredients. Add in the honey, olive oil, eggs, banana, and vanilla extract. Gently whisk the wets into the dry ingredients.
5) Switch from the whisk to a rubber spatula and give everything another few good, yet gentle stirs to make sure it’s all combined.
6) Scoop the batter into the muffin pan, filling each muffin cavity about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle the tops with brown sugar and slivered almonds. This was worth doing– I’d recommend it.
8) Cool the muffins for about 5 minutes in the pan on a hot pad. Then, using a spoon, loosen each muffin from it’s spot in the pan and turn them each sideways. This will help them to cool and not continue to bake in the pan.
9) If you’re ready for one now, go for it! They’re wonderful warm. For serving, I like to line a bread basket with a pretty napkin, put the warm muffins in it, and cover with the ends of the napkin (if it’s a big napkin) or put another napkin on top to keep them warm. If you’re saving them for later, allow them to cool completely. Then, store them in an airtight container. They’ll last about a week (but are better the sooner they’re eaten = fresher!)
I made 1/2 with the brown sugar and almond topping, and half without. I must say, the topping is totally worth it. I love the hint of sweetness and the light crunch that it adds to each bite.
Oh yeah, they freeze well! If you don’t think they’ll all get eaten within ~a week, put the extras in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and pop them in the freezer. To have after frozen, simply take however many that you want out of the freezer the day before you want to eat them. By the next day, they’ll be defrosted and ready to eat!