Sweet Sundays: Alisa Fleming ~ If your holiday season is anything like mine, then it goes something like this … bake up a storm, nibble on batter, dough and finished product during the process; receive sweets from family and friends; get bombarded with cookies and treats every time you step out of your house; and of course, continuously crash from sugar highs and lows. I always think that once the holidays are over, I will cut out the sugar and return to healthy eating, since in theory, I should be so sick of sweets. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way. Though I'm definitely happy with less, those holiday festivities actually kick my cravings up a notch, leaving me jonesing for chocolate by 10am (okay, okay, 9am).
So, to help ease myself out of the sweet stuff, I turn to some tried and true recipes that are lower in sugar and higher in the healthy stuff, but will still fulfill my cravings.
One is this Whole Wheat Banana Muffin recipe. It has been made internet-wide time and time again, and everyone agrees, they are pretty darn fluffy for whole wheat muffins! I especially love these on days like today. They are a wonderful treat on any lazy Sunday, but also a powerhouse on-the-go breakfast for when you have a day of shopping and busy errand running ahead.
To add even more lasting energy and for a nice dose of flavor, I "frost" these banana muffins with nut butter (peanut, walnut, almond, or even sunflower (for nut-free) go great). If you want an extra dose of sweet without going over the top, add a little honey, agave, or maple syrup to your nut butter "frosting" and maybe even an extra sprinkle or two of cinnamon!
The "frosting" in the picture below is actually a mixture of some leftover mashed banana, "raw" almond butter, ground flaxseeds, and a wee bit of molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg. For an even sweeter added touch, go ahead and “frost” these muffins with your favorite jam.
Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Banana Muffins
This Recipe is Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and optionally Wheat-Free. I am sure it would also work well gluten-free with your favorite GF baking blend. I haven't yet experimented with making this recipe egg-free and vegan, but I will be trialing it in the future. If you make a successful egg-free batch, please feel free to let me know! Some egg subs that may work well in this include Ener-G egg replacer for the 2 eggs or even simply adding 1/2 cup more banana. If using the regular whole wheat flour and wheat germ or ground flax, then the muffins should have enough binding power with one of these egg substitutes.
This recipe was adapted from Food.com (yes, that is my photo featured for the recipe!).
- 1/2 Cup Raisins (or more if you like)
- Boiling Water (about 1 cup should do)
- 1-3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana
- 1/4 Cup Grapeseed or Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Place the raisins in a small bowl, and cover them with the hot/boiling water.
Preheat your oven to 325ºF and grease 12 muffin cups.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Briefly set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the banana, oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid. Add 5 tablespoon s (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) of the hot raisin water to your mixing bowl.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in your large mixing bowl, stirring just to combine. Do not over mix. The baking soda begins to react as soon as it hits the liquid, so over mixing will cause the muffins to loose some of their fluffiness … a few lumps are okay.
Stir in the plumped raisins, and divide the batter evenly between your 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until they just begin to take on a golden hue, and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin, comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the muffin cups, then remove to a wire rack.
Use spelt or oat flour in place of the wheat flour, and substitute ground flax for the wheat germ. I would guess that you could also use your favorite gluten-free flour blend (with xanthan gum as directed) to make them gluten-free / casein-free too if you wished).
Be sure the bananas are quite ripe; this will add sweetness to the muffins.
Measure the oil in a 1/4 cup, then use the same cup to measure the honey. The oil coating on the measuring cup will help keep the honey from sticking.
Yields 1 Dozen Muffins
Article, recipe, and photos by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org, blogger at Alisa Cooks, and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.