Banana muffins

If there is one thing the world does not need, it’s another recipe for banana bread or muffins. However, I have spent a lot of my life wishing I had the ultimate banana bread recipe. So many of the (delicious!) recipes out there are high in fat or sugar, neither of which is really necessary when you are baking with such a moist and sweet ingredient. And while I’m not a health nut, I like to save my sugar and fat for recipes that really need it (I wanted to share an “official” link to the ReBar chocolate cake recipe, but no such luck).

I thought I had found a recipe that was as good as it was going to get a few months ago. Truth be told though, I found the recipe a tad fussy. In addition to wanting the muffins to be healthy, I want to be able to whip up a batch of muffins in under half an hour from whim to first bite, and I only want to dirty one bowl. Sounds like a tall order, but I finally have it!

The answer arrived in a great book I got out of the library a few weeks ago. It’s call Grazing, by Julie Van Rosendaal. A friend in Calgary first pointed me at Julie’s blog a while back, and I have been enjoying her writing and her recipes since then. I decided to get all old-school and have a look at a few of her books. Several recipes have proven to be keepers and I’ll share some others in the next little while. For now, on with the muffins!

Over the course of making a few batches, I’ve made some changes to the published recipe. I reduced the sugar each time I made them, so it is now only half of the original amount. I also reduced the baking soda slightly, since I could taste it (maybe as a result of the reduced sugar?). I was concerned about affecting the leavening, but tonight’s muffins puffed up just as beautifully as the first batch. All in all, these are my new go-to recipe for banana muffins since they meet all my criteria: healthy, easy, and they last very well in the fridge (if, say, you go away for a few days – otherwise you’ll eat them before you have a chance to test that claim!).

Best Banana Muffins

  • 1/4 cup oil (canola or something else neutral)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add the bananas and mash with a potato masher. There’s no need to get it perfectly smooth. Stir in the eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Add the flours, baking soda and salt. Gently mix the baking soda and salt into the top bit of flour, so you don’t end up with a lump of either (this is my usual trick to avoid sifting or using a second bowl). Stir all ingredients gently until just combined. It’s OK if there are a few lumps.

Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups and bake for about 16 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and spring back when touched. Let sit for a few minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 good-sized muffins.

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