Friday, June 18, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Muffins with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

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We go through a lot of bananas each week. I usually eat a banana in my oatmeal at breakfast and Mr. Surly adds a banana to his breakfast smoothie. I detest ripe bananas; I prefer to eat bananas that still have green on the tips, a bit under-ripe. As soon as any brown spots begin to appear on the banana I won’t eat it. Mr. Surly is the opposite--he likes them ripe, no trace of green. We buy our bananas a bit green, and I eat them for about 2-3 days, until there is no more green and brown spots appear; I don’t eat them at that point. Then Mr. Surly finishes off the bunch. If, by the weekend there are any left, I use them up in pancakes.

Well, this past week we ended up with almost a full bunch of overripe bananas. I was in and out of the hospital for various tests my GI doctor ordered, all of them requiring fasting. Therefore, I had to skip breakfast 3 days. As a result I was left with 5 bananas at the end of the week that were brown and dangerously close to becoming overripe; no way Mr. Surly would be able to finish them all. I decided to make some banana bread to use them up. I don’t have a favorite go-to recipe for banana bread, so I went onto Tasty Kitchen to find a highly rated recipe. I saw this was the highest rated one, and it sounded good and relatively healthy. I’m not an avid fan of banana bread (nor do I dislike it), so I can’t really say how this compares to other recipes. All I can say is that they are good; moist, light, and not overly sweet. They tasted even better the next day.

I added ground flaxseed and walnuts for fiber and omega 3’s. I love ground flaxseed; I sprinkle it on and in many things—oatmeal, pancakes, smoothies, most baked goods, etc, so I always have some in my fridge. I wish I had waited to add the chocolate chips to the muffin tins instead of the batter. I fear that the chocolate wasn’t evenly distributed among the muffins; some might have a lot, other muffins just a few. I use Ghiradelli dark chocolate bits, which are larger than chocolate chips and therefore might not disperse as evenly due to their size. If making these again, I would add the batter to the muffin tins then sprinkle an even amount of chocolate chips into each well, ensuring that all the muffins have an equal amount of chocolate (I can’t help it; I’m a Libra and I like things to be even and equal). Of course you could skip this step and simply add the batter to a loaf pan and make bread. Or even better, maybe you aren’t OCD like me and won’t be bothered by one muffin having more chocolate chips than another.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips
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Yield: 12 muffins

1 c white whole wheat flour
½ c rolled oats
¼ c granulated sugar
¼ c light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (opt)
¾ c buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ c ripe bananas, mashed (I used 2 bananas)
¼ c semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
¼ c finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, oats, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and flaxseed).

In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, eggs butter, and bananas. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and muffin tops are golden brown. (Bread will take longer to bake, about 40-50 min).

Source: slightly adapted from Mutiply Delicious via Tasty Kithcen

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