Mar 21, 2010

Heart Healthy Banana Oat Muffins

It's been sooooo long since I blogged but I'm still alive and kickin'. I was just so busy around the holidays and then I was sick off and on, had oral surgery, and well you know, life stuff. Yadda yadda yadda. I haven't done any cakes since the witch cake for Halloween, in fact, I haven't cooked or baked much at all since the holidays, but I am feeling better and getting back into it. Spring is here and that means spring cleaning and soon I'll be busy gardening but I thought I'd post something just to blow the dust off the ole' blog.

I developed this heart healthy version of my banana nut muffin recipe sometime ago, but I had only tried it once. I remembered that they were really tasty, and seem to even be a favorite of my picky-anti-healthy-eating husband. I always like waiting for a bit then going back and re-visiting adapted recipes just to see if any other tweaks are necessary. Recently, I did just that, and I can say, these passed the second test with flying colors.

Banana Oat Muffins

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Yield: 12 regular sized muffins

½ C skim or low fat (1 %) milk
½ C old fashioned whole oats
1 C white wheat flour
3 Tbsp flax seed meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas
1/3 C brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 egg whites (or 4 Tbsp egg beater product)
Brown sugar and dry oats for tops, if desired

Pour oats into milk and stir, set aside to soften.
In a small bowl, combine flour, flax meal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir to mix and set aside.
In a larger bowl, smash bananas with a fork and add in brown sugar, oil, extract and eggs. Beat with a whisk until well incorporated.
Add in the milk and oats and stir.
Add in the dry ingredients all at once and stir quickly, until just mixed. (batter will be slightly lumpy)
Fill lined muffin tins about 2/3 - 3/4 full. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar and then with some dry oats for garnish if desired.
Bake at 375F 15-20 minutes, do not over bake (crumbs will slightly cling to a toothpick).

These are very simple, very quick and very tasty. However, in my opinion, they are much better the day after you make them. I usually let my muffins cool just enough to handle them, then I place them in either a large zip lock baggie or plastic container with a lid. They will steam a bit, but the added moisture is a benefit.

I would like to add a couple of comments:

The flax seed meal is added only to boost the nutritional value. So along with the whole grain oats, it adds more fiber into the diet. If you omit the flax seed meal, be sure to substitute it with flour, else the moisture/dry ingredient ratio will be off.

The second time I made these, I just used all purpose flour, because I was out of the white wheat flour. There were no noticeable changes in texture or flavor. I've also made these with honey instead of the brown sugar and the texture and taste was off just a bit, not bad, but not quite as good.

I would like to try substituting an extra virgin olive oil for the canola oil, just out of curiosity. Maybe I'll try that next time.

Even if you're not on a restricted diet and you're just looking to "cut corners" here and there, you'll want to give these a try. If you do, please, by all means, let me know if you do any tweaking of your own and improve them! Enjoy!