Banana Muffin Makeover

I love to bake and my kids love to eat baked goods.  They’re so used to bursting through the door after school to the smell of something incredible that the disappointment on their faces when I go for a few days without baking something succeeds in making me feel super guilty.  Baking is probably the one way I live up to the stay-at-home-mom stereotype, and I don’t mind it at all.  See, I really like to eat those baked goods too!

One of our favorite snacks is banana bread.  My kids will eat it for breakfast, take it to school for school snack, and then ask for a slice when they get home from school.  A loaf of banana bread barely lasts 48 hours in this house!  Seeing the fruits of my efforts disappear so quickly inspired me to start making muffins instead of loaves and freezing half the muffins as soon as they cool.  This way, I can parcel them out in moderation and they last quite a bit longer.

When I switched over to cooking with healthier ingredients according to the real food rules, I knew if I changed our beloved banana muffin recipe too much, there would be mutiny.  My favorite banana bread/muffin recipe calls for white flour, sugar, and brown sugar.  It also calls for a stick of butter, which is a real food that I am trying to use with better moderation.  To give our banana muffins a real food makeover, I swapped out the refined ingredients for their natural, whole counterparts.

First, the all purpose flour had to go.  Instead, I use White Whole Wheat which is easy to find at our local grocery store.  You could probably also find it at a natural or health food store and if that fails, you can order it online.  It’s just as nutritious as regular whole wheat, but lighter in color and texture.

white whole wheat flourNext, the sugar had to be addressed.  I left out both the white and brown sugar and opted for honey instead.  Honey is much more expensive than sugar, so instead of making a full two dozen muffins and using a cup of honey, I scaled the recipe down and used half a cup.  I expected the muffins to be less sweet than we were used to, but they still taste decadent!  As for the butter, I decided to try using coconut oil instead.  It is my new favorite oil to bake with (and put on popcorn).  If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use melted butter or olive oil, but I’m not sure how the olive oil would affect the taste.  Coconut oil does not give baked goods a coconut flavor.

IMG_8579Finally, I threw in a tablespoon of chia seeds just because I have them around.  I got them in bulk from a natural foods store, but if you don’t have any just leave them out.  You could use wheat germ instead, if you happen to have that on hand!

Once I finished doctoring up this recipe, I got to mixing, all the time hoping my changes wouldn’t be too drastic for my kids’ spoiled little tastebuds.  The finished batter looked pretty darn good, so I was hopeful as I got the muffins ready to put into the oven.

And when you look at the muffin tin, let’s pretend it’s shiny and pretty.

IMG_8584IMG_8586They took a bit longer to bake than I expected, a little over 20 minutes.  Maybe that’s because I filled the muffin cups a bit too much.  Regardless, these babies looked fantastic when they came out of the oven.  For the sake of photographic integrity, I had to bite into one while it was still warm and, oh my, I don’t think anyone will miss my old recipe.

IMG_8587IMG_8589Mmm mmm mmm!  Against all odds, I actually managed to make my banana muffins taste even richer!  They are still quite sweet, moist, and full of flavor.  In fact, next time I made these I will probably reduce the honey a bit.

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you’ll try it out and let me know what you think!  As written, this recipe makes 12 muffins, but you could easily double it.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup hot water
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
3.  Using a mixer, combine oil and honey and beat well.  Beat in the eggs.
4.  Slice the bananas and add to honey mixture.  Beat until bananas are mashed into mixture.  Or, you can mash the bananas before adding to the mixing bowl.  Mix in vanilla.
5.  Mix hot water into banana mixture, then stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
6.  If you forgot to preheat the oven, go ahead and do it now.
7.  Fill muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
To freeze muffins, wrap them individually then place in a freezer bag.  Defrost in the microwave or at room temperature.
Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Banana Muffin Makeover

  1. Pingback: banana bread fiesta | food for fun

  2. If I don’t have coconut oil and don’t want to buy it, can I substitute canola oil? Equal amount? My sister, who’s a registered dietician, says that coconut oil is not healthier, it’s more of a “trendy” item without a great benefit. What do you think? Why coconut oil?

    • Sorry for not responding sooner. I don’t see why canola oil wouldn’t work, but it isn’t considered a “real” food. Vegetable oils are highly processed, whereas virgin coconut oil is not.

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