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Banana and nutella muffins

Hannah at Mums’ Days has made a fabulous list of recipes to use up browning bananas. Her 10 ways to use up old bananas includes banana milkshakes and smoothies, banana gelato, banana pancakes, banana bread and also my sugar-free flapjacks (which is without a doubt the most popular recipe on my blog).

Yesterday I needed a ‘pick-me-up’ and seeing the bananas in my fruit bowl that looked like they were very close to walking to the bin on their own, I thought of Hannah’s list, especially The Londoner’s Nutella swirl banana muffins. Perfect!

Banana and nutella muffins

Even though I wanted to eat something indulgent I couldn’t help myself from trying to make Rosie’s original recipe slightly healthier. So I reduced the sugar by a third and substituted some of the white self-raising flour with wholemeal. For muffins, the slightly heavier and denser cousins of cupcakes, you can definitely get away with adding some healthier wholemeal flour.

My taste-testers made no comment about the lack of sugar (and hubby ALWAYS comments if something I make isn’t sweet enough in his opinion). The fact that very ripe bananas are super sweet, plus the addition of Nutella makes it very easy to reduce the sugar content significantly without losing the necessary sweetness needed for it still to be a sweet treat.

I do love Nutella, in particular for how little you can add of it to make something seem much more indulgent than it is. I like adding it to porridge as only half a teaspoon makes the porridge taste wonderfully chocolatey and incredibly indulgent.

When I showed the muffins going into the oven yesterday on Instagram, one of my lovely IG friends asked if I’d tried Lindt ball muffins. I’d forgotten seeing them and was very glad I had! But if you need a more indulgent muffin, why not try popping a Lindt ball into the centre rather than the Nutella; I’m sure they would be divine.

BANANA AND NUTELLA MUFFINS

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Makes 12 muffins

115g unsalted butter
80g wholemeal self-raising flour
150g white self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp Nutella, at room temperature

Gently melt the butter (I prefer to use the microwave) and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 180C and lightly grease your muffin tins (or line with paper cases).

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the wholemeal and white flours, the sugar and salt.

In a jug (or smaller mixing bowl), whisk together the melted butter, beaten eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (mixing too much can make your muffins dense and chewy).

Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin tin holes (they’ll be about half to three-quarters full depending on the size of your tin). Add a small dollop of Nutella on top of each muffin and use a skewer (or knife) to swirl it through the muffin (not too much or you won’t see any swirls).
banana and Nutella muffins

Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Variations:

  • instead of Nutella, place a piece of chocolate (or Lindt ball!) in the centre of each muffin before baking to make oozing chocolate banana muffins
  • add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon to the mashed banana
  • make banana and Nutella bread/cake by cooking the mixture in a loaf or cake tin

Tip: if your Nutella is still rather hard at room temperature, either place the jar into a sink of hot water or pop the jar (without its lid) in the microwave and zap at a low temperature for intervals of 10 seconds each until it’s slightly runny.

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Sugar-free banana muffins

I was very happy with my apple sauce efforts. Armed with the sauce, I headed back into the kitchen to use it in a recipe instead of sugar. As usual, staring me in the face were some rather ripe bananas so I thought I’d attempt to adapt one of my favourite muffin recipes.

If you don’t want to be bothered making apple sauce (but it only takes 20 minutes!), you can use caster sugar (150g) instead, although then these muffins won’t be sugar-free πŸ˜‰

SUGAR-FREE BANANA MUFFINS

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30-35 mins
Makes about 16 muffins
Freezable

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
375g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125ml vegetable oil
150ml milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan). Line muffin trays with paper cases.

Mash the bananas and then mix in the apple sauce.

Put the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix.

In a separate smaller bowl or small jug, whisk together the oil, milk, egg and vanilla (if using). Pour into the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the banana and apple sauce and gently mix through the batter quickly.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared paper cases and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden on top and cooked when tested with a skewer.

Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.


Tip
: the ‘secret’ to muffins is mixing the batter just enough to combine the ingredients. Mix too much and you’ll have heavy stodgy muffins. I like to use a spatula. It makes me use bigger stirring movements (smaller ones would beat the mixture too much), and I can scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as I mix to avoid having unmixed flour hiding in the bottom.

So how did they turn out? The texture was exactly the same as using sugar. The taste, for me, isn’t super sweet but sweet enough, and Nicholas wolfed down one whole muffin as soon as they were cool enough to eat, so a success! Hubby’s verdict is that they’re nowhere as sweet as the ones you buy… πŸ™‚

What would you try making using apple sauce instead of sugar?