Thursday, August 30, 2012

Banana Bran Muffins with Walnuts

I love banana bread, muffins—you name it. Last week it was Banana Snack Cake, but this week with still more overripe bananas to spare, I’m all about muffins. I’ve adapted this recipe from Eating Well. If you haven’t heard of it, this magazine is definitely worth checking out. It is one of my favorite food magazines because it has lots of healthy ideas and each issue centers around what’s in season. 

I've made these muffins Finn-style. Viili is a Finnish cultured milk that is essentially a yogurt. If you would like to start culturing, I will give you some starter! But if you are far away, or you can’t wait, you can substitute the viili for plain fat-free yogurt. 

Banana Bran Muffins with Walnuts
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 medium super-ripe bananas
2/3 cup viili or plain (not greek) yogurt + 1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup wheat bran
3 Tbsp flax seed
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
Dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour, such as Gold Medal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin (12) with canola spray.

In a large glass bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, milk and viili until well blended. Mash the ripe peeled bananas in a small bowl. Add the bananas to the wet egg mixture along with the canola oil, vanilla, flax seeds and wheat bran. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together with your fingers until fluffed and well combined.  Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and add the chocolate chips. With a rubber scraper gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until they are just barely mixed. The batter with be lumpy. Be careful not to over mix or the batter will become tough.

Spoon the batter into your muffin tins and fill until they are just barely to the top. The batter is heavy with bran, so these will not rise as high as typical muffins.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the muffins. The walnuts will get nice and toasted! Mmmm….

Place the muffins on the center rack and bake for 15-25 minutes until they are golden brown and spring back when touched.

I hope you enjoy this healthy treat! Go Bananas!

Tip: Ever wonder what to do with the left over muffin batter?
I have found that my muffin tins are small enough that there is always some left over batter. Rather than wait for the batch to cook and refill the tin, I found the thing for this very problem:  the mini-loaf pan. At a thrift shop a bit ago I found this adorable mini loaf pan. I have a weakness for anything milk glass, so I bought it and finally through this muffin making have found its calling. If you have one lying around, here is one way to get that thing dusted off and in use again!

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