I love banana bread. My mom made it when I was growing up and I’ve been making it since I was a teenager. When I was a sophomore in college I lived in a rental house with 5 other people. Come finals time, it seemed we all procrastinated studying and the house ended up extra clean, and filled with banana bread. At one point I think there were nearly a dozen pans of varying sizes and shapes (picture the typical college house’s hodgepodge kitchen fare) filled with banana bread.
So, since even college kids can manage it, there obviously isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about turning your overripe bananas into muffins. But since I’m doing things a little differently now that we’re being less processed, I decided to make my already very good banana bread recipe into something a little healthier. The result was actually very yummy and doesn’t scream “healthy” or “whole grain”. The recipe uses brown sugar and butter, so you get a caramelly (probably not a real word, but it totally works) salty sweet banana bread that is just as yummy cold as is straight from the oven or warmed up. In fact, my youngest boys scarfed down 3 mini muffins for breakfast and would have had more had I let them.
So here it is… the recipe for my Whole Wheat and Flax Banana Muffins
4 TB butter, softened (I used regular salted butter)
1/4 cup applesauce
2 TB ground flax seed mixed with 6 TB water (or 2 eggs)
2 TB milk (I use 2%)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed overripe bananas
1 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (I use the Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Beat the butter, applesauce, flax and water (or eggs), milk and brown sugar with your mixer until it’s smooth, then add bananas and beat on high for 1-2 minutes. (I’ve found that beating it longer leads to less dense banana bread as it adds air into the mixture – since you’re using whole grain flour, this air really helps).
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Use a fork to fluff these up a bit (again to add some more air). Then combine the dry ingredients into the wet and stir well. This batter works equally well for banana bread, muffins or mini muffins – all baked at 350. For muffins, use the little paper wrappers or grease your pan. Bread (in a bread pan) bakes for 55-60 minutes. In a cake pan, it would be more like 25 minutes. Regular size muffins are 15-20 minutes and mini muffins bake for 12-15. whatever you turn the batter into, you can tell it’s done when a toothpick comes out clean and you can see it starting to brown just a little bit around the edges.