One of my friends recently messaged me on Facebook asking for my Banana Nut Muffin recipe. A few months ago, I had the honor to be a highlighted cook in the “Cooking with Shanna” feature in The Palm Coast Observer, our local community paper. This was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed welcoming Shanna, community editor for that publicaition, to my home and more importantly, my kitchen. We both enjoyed exchanging cooking tips and stories, and I was flattered to share my recipe with the local community through her cooking column.
This particular recipe evolved out of a recent mission to lose weight. My husband and I both decided back in March of this year that we could definitely stand to lose some weight and improve our blood work reports along the way. As we both come from families where diabetes is a common trait, we were determined to offset the onset (hmmm, that seems grammatically incorrect — always the editor, I am!) of this condition. Although genetics is not on our side, we realize that taking hold of our own health is something we can control helping us to live healthier. healthier lives. We had the help of the MyFitnessPal website and phone app, and now that we are both 25 lb lighter, we definitely recommend using that app to help you stay on track with food and exercise. And you can enter your recipes to help you calculate nutritional values. That’s exactly what I did as I developed this recipe.
This recipe started with something I found online in the Cooking Light website and, I’ve tweaked slightly. I started making my own vanilla this spring, and that is definitely the secret ingredient in my opinion. I also started toasting the walnuts (if you choose to use them) for a richer flavor. The sugar content is low and the added moisture comes from applesauce rather than oil or shortenening. We think they’re delicious and when I make a batch it is hard to keep my husabnd from splurging. But at only 81 calories per muffin, there’s no problem with indulging a little.
Here you go, Mary Ann and all of my readers:
Christine’s Banana Nut Muffins – Low sugar/low calorie
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Few sprinkles of ground cloves and ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup mashed bananas
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (no sugar added)
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup Splenda brown sugar blend or ¼ cup regular brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or for a healthier option, brush pan lightly with grape seed or canola oil Mix dry ingredients together (flours, baking soda, baking powder and spices)
- In another bowl, mix together the mashed banana, sugars, vanilla and egg. Add applesauce.
- Sift dry ingredients into banana mixture and mix just until blended. Mix in walnuts.
- Pour into prepared muffin pan (makes 9 muffins) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Watch carefully as ovens vary. In my oven, 16 minutes does the trick. Avoiding overbaking will produce a moister muffin.
81 calories per muffin with a 9-muffin batch when made with Splenda brown (88 calories with regular brown sugar.)
70/77 calories per muffin if you omit the walnuts (but they’re better with them!)
- Be sure to use whole wheat pastry flour. Regular whole wheat flour will produce a heavier baked good. Pastry flour is the key to a light tasty muffin.
- When bananas become too ripe, peel and freeze in pieces. You will always have them ready for these muffins or other uses in baking. Just simply remove the desired number of frozen pieces and pop into the microwave for 30 seconds to thaw. Mash and use. Keeping them frozen is also a great way to use them in smoothies!
- To toast walnuts: Place desired amount of walnut halves or pieces on a baking sheeting. Bake at 350 until toasted. I start with 5 minutes. If they’re not toasted after this time, continue baking for a minute or two or until toasted. But watch carefully as there is a fine line between toasted walnuts and burnt walnuts!
- To make your own vanilla. Take 3 vanilla beans (find them at health food stores). Split the beans leaving the bottom ½ inch intact. Place in a glass jar or bottle and add 1 cup of vodka. Keep capped and store in a cool dark place for at least two months, shaking gently once or twice a week. Some cooks just keep adding vodka to the jar/bottle as the vanilla is used. Remember to keep shaking if you do this. You can also just buy a small bottle (200 ml) of a good quality vodka and drop the vanilla beans down into the bottle using the same method of shaking weekly.
Enjoy and let me have your comments if you try this recipe!!