Monday, January 5, 2009

Banana Bran Muffins w/Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Muffins are my favorite thing to bake. They're so easy, they're almost impossible to mess up. They're basically quick bread in individual portions. They're also extremely flexible, so you can experiment and still end up with something edible, and they are fairly healthy, if you choose to make them that way. I suppose you could go the other way and basically make un-iced cupcakes, but I tend toward the healthy so I can eat them quilt-free for breakfast. What did you say? These don't sound healthy? Hello, bran=fiber, dark chocolate=antioxidents, pecans=protein, banana= potassium. So healthy.

I make a lot of muffins, but I don't post all of them because I don't want to become the muffin lady. These muffins, however, were so good I decided they had to see the light of the blog.

The whole wheat flour and wheat bran give these muffins some hearty substance, but the banana and the low-fat sour cream keep them light. With just a small amount of chocolate chips and pecans, they have a lot of flavor without being too much of an indulgence.

Version 1.0 of these little guys was liberally adapted from the back of the Bob's Red Mill wheat bran bag, a recipe for Molasses Bran Muffins. I substituted honey for molasses and mashed bananas for apple sauce. I gave most of the 1.0 batch to my running group Saturday morning. I have no idea what they thought of them because I was still struggling through my treacherously long run when they all left, but I thought they were still a little too dense and dry. My opinion could have been slightly skewed by the fact that I ate my muffin moments after I stopped running, so I was pretty parched, but I decided to change them up some anyway. So last night I made another batch, this time increasing the amount of banana and substituting lowfat sour cream for milk. ::And she sticks the landing.:: Ok, so they're just muffins, but they're my new favorite healthy muffins.

Banana Bran Muffins w/ Chocolate Chips and Pecans
Makes 12 standard muffins

You can double the pecans and leave out the chocolate chips, or substitute other nuts, raisins, or other mix-ins, as long as the total of the mix-ins is 1 cup. You can also make these as a quick bread, but the cooking time would have to be increased slightly, depending on the size of the loave. The best way to judge the doneness is when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This recipe is easy to cut in half to yield 6 muffins.

1 cup wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup honey
1.5 cups mashed bananas (3-4 very ripe bananas)
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
-Combine both flours, wheat bran, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
-In a separate bowl, beat together the sour cream, honey, mashed bananas, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.
-Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
-Pour mixture into muffin pan and bake for 15 or 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleam.


Joe and MK said...

those look great!red

Anonymous said...

I think you should TOTALLY be the muffin lady becuase these look awesome!! Did you save any more me? huh? HUH?!?!!