I just love baking with my daughter. As soon as she could stir a spoon, a chair has always been dragged over to my kitchen counter, her tiny frame poised over the large mixing bowl. Cooking with kids is such a great experience – not only does it create food to be consumed, but it engages children and allows them to get hands-on with their grub. Yes, it’s messy, and my daughter has dropped an egg or two, but the pros far outweigh the cons and we get some mommy and me bonding time.
Today was the perfect setting. Fat snowflakes and howling winds made the ideal backdrop for baking. My adaptation of a recipe from Myra Goodman’s Food to Live By is a foolproof baking adventure for those snowy, cold afternoons when you just don’t want to go out. These yummy muffins pair the sweet flavor of mashed bananas with pure maple syrup and a touch of brown sugar. The whole wheat flour and flax add fiber and omega-3s and the oil makes them moist and not too heavy. Team one up with a glass of milk or a cup of hot tea and these muffins make a superb snowy afternoon snack!
The health benefits of my Maple Banana Flax Whole Wheat Muffins include:
- They contain no butter (a saturated fat), but rather sunflower oil, which is an unsaturated fat and better for your heart health (plus the oil makes the muffins moist and prevents the development of gluten in the flour!)
- They contain whole wheat flour, rather than bleached white flour. Whole wheat flour has more fiber than its refined white counterpart
- They rely on the bananas and maple syrup for sweetness (along with a bit of brown sugar) rather than refined, processed white sugar (maple syrup also has a lower glycemic index than white sugar and even contains a few nutrients and antioxidants!)
- They contain milled flax seeds which are a rich source of micro-nutrients, dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin B1 and the essential fatty acid known as omega-3
PLEASE NOTE: I am not trying to condone muffin-consumption here, but this yummy home-made version contains a few beneficial ingredients and kids love them (not just mine)! My daughters prefer the mini-muffin version which are perfect for little hands, and we throw in mini-chocolate chips too (chopped walnuts are another great addition).
My Maple Banana Flax Whole Wheat Muffin Recipe:
- 2 cups (260 grams) whole wheat flour (you can use all purpose flour too)
- 1/2 cup ground or milled flaxseed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/ 2 cups (360 ml) mashed banana (about 3 large brown/ripe bananas)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (preferably Canadian Grade eh!)
- 1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- OPTIONAL: 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped OR mini chocolate chips 🙂
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the centre of the oven
- Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or you can use butter to line them instead
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground flax and ground cinnamon (optional: chocolate chips, nuts)
- In another large bowl, combine the wet ingredients: mashed bananas, lightly beaten eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, milk, oil and vanilla extract
- With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients (a little bit at a time) just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. This is a crucial step that I messed up on many times until my mom demonstrated the proper ‘folding technique’. Check out this You Tube clip to see how it is done
The important thing is not to over mix the batter. If you stir it until smooth, it will be over mixed and the batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and fill just to the top of each tin
- Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins or about 18 -20 minutes for regular size. Use a cake tester or toothpick and insert in the centre of muffin. If the tester/toothpick comes out clean, your muffins are done! Place cooked muffins on a wire rack or plate to cool for a few minutes
- Makes about 14 regular sized muffins or 24 minis. ENJOY!