In my kitchen I typically find one of two extremes – a scarcity or overabundance of bananas. As the case this week, I had a bundle of browning bananas staring at me begging to be eaten. We all have been there and the logical place to go next is to an all time comfort food (for us Westerners) – banana bread. Or in my case, banana muffins.
I didn’t want to go for the typical, as usual, so I made a few adjustments. Being on a maple kick lately, which you may have not heard of since my maple pumpkin tart was a semi-flop but still a promising desert with a few tweaks, I decided to give a maple dessert another go. When subbing any type of conventional sweetener, especially processed white sugar, it takes a bit to get used to. I find many of us are used to a sugar overload in our desserts, therefore our brains expect that sweetness to be there. Personally, I prefer the more subtle tastes of more natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup. Secondly, I rid this recipe of butter (mainly to be consistent with the semi-healthiness of this recipe) and replaced it with coconut oil. I didn’t find much difference and the muffins weren’t overly oily.
Oh, and just a quick tip – when substituting maple syrup for any type of sweetener in a recipe, you can typically use 3/4 of a cup of maple syrup for every cup of white sugar. But, you also have to account for the amount of liquid that will now be in your recipe. This can be done by decreasing the amount of other liquid, or adding 2-3tbsp of dry ingredient for every 1/2 cup of maple syrup (which is what I did). I am really bad at this – hence me labelling my cooking ‘rustic’ – so I go by these as a rule of thumb type deal.
I was impressed with how these did turn out – not overly sweet, moist and fluffy. And the maple pecans were a nice addition. Did I mention that yet? Well, I kicked the pecans up a notch by roasting them in spiced maple syrup – yum! I did say spiced, not spiked, but I do think some maple bourbon spiked pecans are being put on the top of this list for next time… Who agrees?
Before these babies got into the oven:
And after, ta-da!
Maple Pecan Banana Muffins (Butter and Sugar Free!)
Makes 12 muffins.
Spiced Maple Pecans
1 and a 1/4 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp each of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg
Maple Banana Muffins
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 and a3/4 cup all purpose flour
Firstly, you are going to preheat your oven to 375 degrees to begin on your roasted pecans. Combine the maple syrup and spices in a small saucepan and heat gently until fragrant. Add in your pecans and get them coated and soaking in the mixture. When your oven is ready, lay out the pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 10-15 minutes. Keep and eye on them! Once they are done, remove from oven and let cool.
Now, onto the muffins. Set your oven down to 350 degrees. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a large bowl (the mashed bananas, egg, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract) and mix. In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and mix throughly. Add the dry to the wet and fold until combined. Now chop up those maple pecans and fold about half into the batter. Spoon the batter into a lined muffin tin, about 1/4 cup of batter in each. Top the muffins with the remaining pecan bits. Bake these for about 20 minutes and enjoy!