My long-time, go-to banana muffin recipe has always been a favorite here at The Café. Everyone I’ve ever shared them with seems to love them too. I’ve actually never found a recipe I like better. The only problem with them is that, I have to admit, if I’m honest, that they’re much more suitable for a dessert than for a breakfast bread or snack. With white flour, a generous portion of sugar and a buttery crumble topping, they would never win a “healthy muffin” contest.
I decided to try to come up with something a bit more nutritious to utilize my (seemingly) continual supply of over-ripe bananas. I don’t usually bake without sugar, but it seemed like a great challenge to come up with something loaded with super healthy ingredients, low in fat and sans sugar. Could I do it? I wasn’t so sure.
I’d read about using raisins as a sweetener and decided to give it a go. I threw all of my wet ingredients into a blender jar along with a handful of raisins. A thirty second whirl was all it took to puree the raisins and blend the other ingredients. I added this “wet” mixture to the dry ingredients I had already combined in a big bowl; wheat bran, oatmeal, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt.
It took a few tries to get the proportions right, but these these Healthy Banana Bran Muffins are now on my list of top favorite muffins. They’re moist, flavorful and just plain delicious. With lots of fiber and super nutritious ingredients, one muffin gives me lots of energy and keeps me satisfied all morning.
Best of all, when I let the bananas go a little too long, I have a wonderfully guilt-free way to use them up. I might even enter these guys in a healthy muffin contest – I think they’d have a good chance of winning!
- ½ cup dark raisins
- 2 teaspoons water
- Wet ingredients:
- 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2½ medium size bananas), the riper, the better
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ½ cup low fat milk
- ¼ cup canola oil (vegetable oil works fine too)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- Dry ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups wheat bran - I buy this in bulk at Whole Foods, but you can also get it pre-packaged. (It can usually be found in either the flour section or the health-food section of the grocery store.)
- ½ cup oatmeal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup raisins, golden or dark varieties work well
- Topping ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- a pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Spray 18 muffin cups with baking spray.
- Combine the ½ cup raisins with 2 teaspoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the topping by combining the butter, honey and cinnamon in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a paper towel and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir to combine. Add almonds and stir gently with a fork (try not to break the almonds too much) till almonds are coated. Set aside.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Add the ¾ cup raisins and stir again till well combined. Set aside.
- Combine the wet ingredients and the ½ cup raisins in a blender container. Cover and blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is pureed.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir just until flour is incorporated. Scoop or spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling ⅔ full. I use about ⅓ cup per scoop.
- Sprinkle tops of muffins with prepared almonds. Place in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 375˚F. Bake 14-16 minutes or or until the muffins are set in the center and tops slightly browned. Allow to cool in muffin pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.