Healthier Roasted Banana Nut Muffins


We always have bananas in our house because I love to freeze them for my morning smoothies, and my husband who is an avid cyclist eats one every morning because bananas contain potassium which helps to replenish the electrolytes lost through sweating, plus carbs for topping up energy levels. As soon as our bunch of bananas become spotty and brown, I steal them from my husband to freeze. Recently I also discovered roasted bananas, and now I have become addicted to these caramelized morsels of natural sweetness. I keep roasted bananas in the refrigerator to stir into yogurt, spoon onto pancakes, and to use in baking. Roasting bananas brings out their natural sweetness multiplying the natural banana flavor.

I have an issue when folks post recipes for bake goods labeling them as “healthy”. Although I have done this myself after tweaking a recipe to improve its nutritional value, to be honest, if you want a healthy snack or dessert than your best bet is to choose a piece of fruit in its natural state. There are times however when you just want something sweet like a slice of quick bread, a couple of cookies, or muffins such as these Roasted Banana Nut Muffins.

One of my goals for 2018 was to eliminate all white sugar and flour from my recipes. Tweaking recipes to make them more nutritionally sound takes some effort to get it right, and is always a trial and error experiment. I have to admit that I have had some major misses when I’ve tried to change too many ingredients in a recipe in one testing. For these amazing muffins though, I eliminated white sugar and instead sweetened the muffins with date paste and roasted bananas. I love using date paste in my baking because as well as natural sweetness, the dates help keep baked goods moist as well. Date paste is not as sweet as sugar, so these muffins are not terribly sweet which is why I love them so much. If you wanted a sweeter taste, you could add a couple of tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup, but I think you’ll love them just as they are.

I also used whole wheat pastry flour for these muffins which gave them a delicate texture along with whole wheat goodness. In the past, I have used both spelt and oat flour instead of the whole wheat flour in this recipe, and the muffins turned out great. Depending on which type of whole grain flour you use though, you may want to tweak the amount of nut milk used. If the batter seems a little stiff, simply add a tablespoon or two of additional nut milk. These muffins are very forgiving, just be careful not to over mix. I added chopped walnuts in my muffins for added texture and nutrition, but dark chocolate chips or even blueberries are delicious stirred into the batter before baking.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2018

Healthier Roasted Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 1/2 Cup Date Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 or 2 Tablespoons Nut Milk (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (Or Oat or Spelt Flour)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Topping:

  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease or place muffin papers in a muffin pan.
  3. Slice the bananas in half and place cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned, then cool to room temperature. 
  5. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the bananas, date paste, olive oil, egg, 1/4 cup almond milk, and vanilla extract.
  7. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts.
  8. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed.
  9. Divide the batter between the muffin cups.
  10. Sprinkle with sprinkled nuts, then bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out cleanly.
  11. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!