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Baking with Whole Grains: Best Banana Muffins

Posted By Nicole On August 24, 2006 @ 7:17 am In Adventures in Baking,Breads,Breakfast/Brunch,Whole Grains | 29 Comments

If you are new to baking and cooking with whole grains, I think one of the best places to start is with quick breads and muffins. I have already posted a recipe for whole-wheat banana bread and well, I guess I’m not very creative because here I go again with another whole-wheat banana recipe!

I have been working this last week on creating a muffin recipe that tastes great but has fewer calories and more fiber than the muffins I’ve made in the past. Since I love banana bread and I always have some extra-ripe bananas stored in the freezer, I have mostly been working on a banana muffin recipe.

My first couple of attempts were banana-coconut muffins. I was frustrated because I was having problems creating a recipe I liked and then I realized that the reason I wasn’t happy with them had nothing to do with the recipe. I simply didn’t like the texture of coconut in the muffin. I also kept trying to add cinnamon or nutmeg and was disappointed with the flavor. Then I remembered that I prefer my banana bread without any extra spices. So finally, I went back to basics and came up with a banana muffin that tastes like bananas.

I prefer nuts in my quick breads and muffins but many people (including my husband) prefer them without. My solution was to add ground pecans to batter. This adds a more complex texture and flavor but is subtle enough to please the “no nuts” crowd. I used pecan meal that I recently purchase from the King Arthur Four Baker’s Catalogue but it should be easy enough to grind your own in a food processor or blender. I was really impressed with the results so I suggest that even people who love a “chunkier” texture, try using the pecan meal at least once.

I also added some oat bran to increase the fiber and this contributed even more flavor and texture. I’ve never used oat bran in baking before and I loved the results! It added a “chewiness” to the texture that was a really nice surprise. The oat bran I used was Hodgson Mill’s Oat Bran Hot Cereal.

The idea for using buttermilk came from the muffin recipes in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. After using some of her muffin recipes, I’ll never make muffins without buttermilk again! I think it adds tenderness and although you can’t really taste the buttermilk, it does add that little extra “something” to the flavor.

The recipe below is now my absolute favorite banana muffin recipe. It gives you exactly enough batter to fill 12 regular muffin cups (I hate recipes that only give you 9 muffins!). These muffins are low in fat and high in fiber. They are full of carbohydrates but if you’re on a low-carb diet, you shouldn’t be looking for muffin recipes anyway!! They are 100 percent whole grain which means these muffins do contain a good amount of complex carbohydrates (the good ones). At just over 150 calories per muffin, they are the perfect snack!

Best Banana Muffins

1 ½ C. whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s new Organic White Whole Wheat)
½ C. Oat Bran
½ C. Pecan Meal (1.5 oz ground pecans)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt

2 T. butter, melted
½ C. honey
3 egg whites
1 C. banana
2/3 C. buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 regular-sized muffin cups or line with paper cups.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (first six ingredients) until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients (last 5 ingredients).
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
5. Immediately spoon batter into the 12 muffin cups, filling each cup almost to the top.
6. Place immediately in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Start checking early!
7. Turn muffins out of pan and cool on wire rack.
8. Enjoy!

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