Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Muffins

It's been a long week at work. Even though we only work Monday through Thursday, those four days were intense. The good news is that the weather seems to be cooling off, down into the 80s and maybe even the 70s today, though there will probably be a few more days in the 90s before month's end.  Anyway, we needed a treat today so I made muffins, banana bran muffins, to be precise, and here they are, along with a couple of tiny Halloween table topper quilts I made a few years ago and the gorgeous mums one of my students brought me last week. I just love October!

The recipe is from an old issue of Eating Well, one of my favorite food magazines. The recipes I've tried have all been tasty, pretty easy, and healthy. I really should re-subscribe, I suppose. The recipe as the magazine gives it is at: Here's how I made them, which includes a few minor alterations:

Banana-Bran Muffins - makes 1 dozen 
2 large eggs
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2 medium)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unprocessed oat bran 
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

     Beat eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Mix in bananas, buttermilk, bran, oil and vanilla.
     Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir/fold gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Never overbeat muffins; it makes them tough and gives them pointy heads. (I think it probably does the same thing to children.) Stir in the walnuts. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). 
     Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes (it was 18 minutes in my oven). Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Nutrition Per serving : 196 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 36 mg Cholesterol; 32 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 182 mg Sodium; 167 mg Potassium, 6 WW points

The original recipe calls for a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, along with wheat bran, but I only had whole wheat flour and oat bran on hand, so I used those. It also gives 1/2 cup chocolate chips as an optional ingredient, but I decided against that and added more walnuts. If you go to the website you'll see the walnuts are sprinkled over the top rather than stirred in, as I did it. They look prettier that way but I like a bit of walnut in every bite. I just ate my first muffin, still warm from the oven, and it was very good, not overly sweet, though I imagine that, like traditional banana bread, they'll mellow with standing and taste richer and sweeter tomorrow.
     I don't know why I haven't been baking lately. I've gone back to Weight Watchers and am fairly happy with my slow but steady (sometimes stalled) progress, so that's one reason, but I looked at my favorite breakfast cookbook, Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café, and I'd figured out the points for the muffin recipes and they're within the safe range, most with a point less than these. Oh well, it's fall now, more or less, so that may be why I'm back in the baking and soup-making mood - and I intend to enjoy it.

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