Whole-wheat Banana Muffins

As I’ve written before, breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for me in terms of trying to get something healthy on the table. The combination of not-quite-awake parents and a voracious toddler clamoring for food makes this a difficult time of day. It’s tempting to just feed her cereal or oatmeal every day of the week but I’m always looking for new, healthy breakfast options to lend a little variety to our morning.

I have found that muffins are a good, fast breakfast option because I can bake a batch when I have the time and they last us for several days in an airtight container. My daughter loves bananas, so I’ve been trying out some banana muffin recipes lately but many of them contain a lot of butter and white flour making them less than ideal as a healthy breakfast option. The recipe below is my attempt to create a healthier banana muffin that uses whole-wheat flour, heart-healthy flax seed and walnuts and cholesterol-free canola oil in place of butter. These muffins are the lightest, moistest whole-wheat muffins I’ve ever made. The mashed bananas really add a lot of moisture to the batter but I also added sour cream to replace some of the flavor and moisture that butter usually provides.  The riper the bananas, the sweeter the muffins will be but the bananas I used for this batch weren’t super ripe (see the picture below) and the muffins still turned out very tasty. Even less ripe bananas will still provide moisture and flavor, they’ll just be less sweet. I’m still tweaking this recipe, so I’d love to know how it turns out for anyone who tries it!

Whole-Wheat Banana Muffins

To toast the walnuts:  spread them out in a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. They are ready when they smell fragrant and are golden brown in color. You could use un-toasted walnuts but the toasting really does bring out a richer flavor.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup finely ground flax seed (I grind it in the coffee grinder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

1/2 cup 2 % milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, flax seed, salt, sugar and baking powder and soda until well combined. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, egg, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas.

2. Pour the liquids into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Add the walnuts and coconut and mix just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin cups, they will be very full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out almost clean. Cool completely on a wire rack and store in a ziplock bag or air tight container.