Banana Blueberry Muffins

I know that there are SO many different things I could be posting about, so it is a little absurd that out of my 7 ( count that, 7) blog posts to date, I will have posted about banana muffins twice. However, I am really trying to perfect a couple of recipes to replace my reliance on energy bars, and these muffins are a great substitute. I’ve found that I really need something in my bag when I’m doing a double workout and I’m not at home or going home any time soon. So I would for instance, swim, eat a Kind bar, run, eat a Luna bar, and then hurry home to try to get some real food in my system. This muffin doesn’t have enough protein for a solid post-workout recovery snack, but it something really good to eat in between workouts or right before one. It’s easily digestible, filled with healthy carbs and fats, and doesn’t have too much sugar. As soon as these muffins are cooled I put half of them in a Ziploc bag and pop them into the freezer. When I’m on the go I just wrap a frozen muffin in tinfoil and throw it in my bag. It defrosts on its own in an hour(ish), and is fresh, healthy, wholesome, not too sweet, and just filling enough to keep me going!

In the baking world, muffins (and loaf breads) are characterized as quick breads. You don’t need a lot of technique to prepare them, they are easy to make (hence their name), and most importantly they are very forgiving. So, if you are interested in playing around with different types of flours (oat, almond, rice, millet, spelt, buckwheat, etc) or fats (real butter, coconut butter, olive oil) quick breads are a great way to experiment.

I really liked my gluten-free banana muffins, but I personally am NOT gluten-free, and found myself really missing the proper muffin texture that wheat provides. Soooo, I took a standard banana bread recipe, cut the sugar, cut the fat a little, and substituted whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, and some almond meal for the all-purpose flour. I chose the pastry flour because it is finer and a little lighter than regular whole wheat flour. I added the spelt flour for its flavor, and the almond meal for some extra protein and healthy fats. Also, I know that blueberries are not in season, but I always have frozen blueberried on hand for smoothies, and I really like the extra tartness that they add to muffins. You can leave them out if you want! I hope you enjoy!

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Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 12-18 muffins | Bake Time: 35 mins | Oven Temp: 350 degrees F

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup almond meal (or flour)
  • 1/2 Cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup organic dark brown sugar, packed down
  • 1/4 Cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup blanched slivered almonds (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cupcake tin with muffin cups. **If you don’t have muffin liners, you can spray the tin with non-stick spray, but I think the liners help to keep the muffins more moist- especially if you plan on freezing them and eating them later.**
  3. Combine butter and coconut butter in glass bowl and melt in microwave in 20 second increments until just melted. Set aside
  4. Combine flours, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside
  5. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl. I like to leave it a little chunky to have bigger bits of banana in the muffins, but that is a personal preference. Add the melted butter to the bananas, the vanilla and the beaten eggs. Then add the sugar and mix again until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and when combined fold in the blueberries.
  7. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion out the muffins. It is cleaner and you get more evenly shaped muffins! img_2010
  8. Top the muffins with raw slivered almonds (optional) and bake in the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. If you want to make this into a loaf, this will make 1 loaf of banana bread, and will take about an hour to bake.

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Gluten Free Banana Muffins

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I LOVE GLUTEN! Seriously, a life without bread, pasta and cookies (made with wheat flour!) would be a very sad one for me. But, my sister is both gluten and dairy-intolerant, so I want to learn and explore gluten-free baking a bit more. Side note: Making something gluten-free doesn’t suddenly make it healthy! I see this misunderstanding a lot, so I just want to put that out there! I have a lot of thoughts on this topic, but I’ll save it for another time- this is about banana bread (muffins)!

Banana bread is delicious, easy to make, and you most likely have all of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge already. Traditional banana bread however, is not the most healthy option. It generally contains a lot of fat and sugar, that I’ve found is not necessary for it to taste delicious! So, I took this gluten-free challenge as a way to bake with whole grains, unrefined sugars and healthy fats (a little butter never hurt anyone) and turn traditional banana bread into a great pre-workout snack or something you could bring on a bike ride for mid-ride fuel.

I adapted this recipe from a few different ones that I found, and decided to use rolled oats, almond flour and millet flour for the dry ingredients. This is not a vegan recipe, so I used eggs, a little butter (my sister can tolerate butter, just not other dairy…who knows!?) and coconut oil for the fats. I used organic cane sugar and maple syrup as the sweet components, along with the bananas of course! And added coconut for flavor and texture along with golden raisins. Here are some of the ingredients/brands that I used:

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The first time I tried this recipe, I made it as a loaf, and it was a little too crumbly. I adjusted a few things, so I think this recipe would work as a loaf too, but I like the muffins because they are easy to carry with you as a grab-and-go snack or like I mentioned before, to put in your jersey pocket for a bike ride. Also, its built-in portion control!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins | Bake Time: 20-25 mins | Oven Temp: 350 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic dark brown cane sugar, packed down
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grind fresh if possible)
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups millet flour
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a convection oven on convection bake, so if you are using a standard oven, your bake time might be slightly longer.
  2. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray. I didn’t use muffin liners, because I think they’re annoying, and not necessary if you grease the tin well, but you can use them if you’d like!  (My muffin tins make 12 muffins each, so you can use 2 tins or make this in two batches.)
  3. Mash bananas with a fork- should be chunky so you have big pieces in the muffins. Melt the butter and coconut oil on stove top or in a microwave. Do not let it simmer! Coconut oil has a low smoke point and will burn very quickly! Set aside and let cool.
  4. Add butter and coconut oil to bananas along with all of the other wet ingredients- everything through the almond milk. Stir with whisk.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients, and stir until combined.
  6. Use and ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour mixture into muffin tins. This guarantees even sizing and keeps the edges of the tin much neater.
  7. Place the tins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  8. Cool on baking rack, and enjoy!

**If you want to make a loaf- banana bread instead of muffins- this amount will fill one standard 9x5in loaf pan. Adjust cooking time to 45-50mins.

***Also, this is not a vegan recipe, but you could make it vegan by replacing the egg with flax egg, and using all coconut oil instead of butter.

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