Everyday Banana Muffins
Warning, I have lots of rambling thoughts on banana muffins, and a little rambling on how to healthy up a muffin recipe. Please. Go right ahead and skip to the ingredients and directions, but do make sure and use really over ripe bananas.
We almost always have a pile of bananas in our house. I buy them hard and green, and I'll eat a few of those until they lose their greenish ends. I like my bananas very firm and almost sour. My husband and youngest son will eat them yellow, to yellow with a few brown freckles. Every so often they will move past this point, into a nearly solid brown, often seeping. Their aroma is slightly alcoholic and rotten sweet, these are perfect for banana muffins.
I think that white patch in the picture is mold. Shh... Don’t tell my children I feed them garbage fruit. The more rotten your bananas, the less sugar you need for a sweet, nana-licious muffin. And less sugar means a more point friendly muffin.
While doing the Weight Watcher's thing I've really discovered that "healthy" is a super subjective word. And "healthy" doesn't equal lower in calories. My "healthy", right now, means lower in sugar and saturated fat. If those are your goals, read on! I'm going to talk about some swaps/techniques that can help you reduce the calories in a serving of food. But, first, sidebar, I read Deb Pearlman's recipe for Jacked Up Banana Bread taking away two thoughts:
1. She adds bourbon to her banana bread and that made me wonder if there are similar chemicals in rotting bananas and bourbon. I wondered if I could use a bit to boost the flavor when my bananas aren't ripe enough. The note in the ATK recipe I base my banana muffin recipe off of says you can bake underripe bananas in the oven and use those in place of the usual overripe bananas. Tried it once. Super disappointing. I might try it again, boosting with a little bourbon. Have y'all done that? Any luck?
2. She eats really brown bananas, which makes me question all of her gustatory assertions, and I now I doubt we can ever be friends.
Not that the following recipe is even a riff on hers, I started with America's Test Kitchen's Healthy Recipes, "Better for You Banana Bread". And I'm not adding any bourbon, please let that go. I warned you about rambling.
As I was saying, I started with America's Test Kitchen's Healthy Recipes, "Better for You Banana Bread". I made two big changes to lower the points.
1. I decreased the portion size (yep. that simple.). Originally 12 slices, I'm stretching that into 18 muffins.
2. I dialed back the sugar, from 3/4 of a cup to 1/2 a cup. I've also made these without the butter, but I find the butter majorly improves the texture, flavor and longevity of the muffins.
The other change I made was instead of using low fat yogurt, I mix a little greek yogurt with buttermilk or unsweetened almond milk, because thats what I have on hand. The recipe says, 1/8 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/8 of a cup buttermilk, but really, I just take a 1/4 cup and eyeball filling it half way with Greek yogurt, and topping off with buttermilk. But, please, be as precise as you need to be.
Yield: 18 muffins, 4 smart points each muffin
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3 large overripe bananas peeled and mashed
4 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/8 cup greek plain, fat free greek yogurt
1/8 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325℉. Prepare your muffin pans with liners and mist with cooking spray. Choose your liners wisely. My kids will eat anything out of emoji themed cupcake liners, and nothing from attractive, pinterest-friendly, brown paper liners.
2. Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl (both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and stir to combine.
3. Using a clean bowl and an electric mixer, beat your eggs on high, until ivory and foamy, 2-3 minutes.
4. Add eggs, butter, yogurt, buttermilk and vanilla to the bowl containing mashed bananas. Mix until combined.
5. Using a rubber spatula, mix your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients, until just combined. Some streaks of flour may remain. Don't over mix. If you do over mix it, no worries. You're using those emoji wrappers. The kids and spouse won't notice if the muffins are a little tough. And you are baking. Pat yourself on the back.
6. Divide batter among 18 lined muffin cups. I really suck at this part and should buy some kind of measured scoop. But my kids don't care. Yours won't either. Really, its all about the muffin liners.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes, while you prop your feet and skim Facebook.
8. When tops are golden, remove from oven, and let cool in pan on a rack for five minutes, then remove from pan. Eat as soon as they won't burn your face off. They last for several days, tightly covered. However, if you live in Florida, or have a humid rainy stretch, start looking for mold around day three. Discard if moldy, duh.