Thursday, 21 March 2013

Lets Go Bananas!

This week I have been baking with bananas. We eat a lot of bananas in our house. My husband has one in his lunchbox at work. I have one either with my breakfast (on Weetabix or homemade Bircher muesli) or at lunch time with natural yogurt and a few flaked almonds. Bananas are packed full of natural sugars, potassium and Vitamin B6 which makes them a great energy food and a good fruit for helping lower blood pressure. Sometimes I find I have a bit of a glut of them left at the end of the week that are past their best. So then I will either get baking or put them in the freezer to use at a later date. They freeze really well. The skin will go black and they will be very soft and mushy when defrosted but are perfect for banana cake or muffins. I have lots of banana cake recipes but two of my favourites are banana and dark chocolate muffins and banana and Nutella muffins. The bananas give a natural sweetness which means you use less sugar. Rather than butter they contain either sunflower oil or olive spread, making them healthier than standard muffins. Calorie content is about 200-250 kcals per muffin. 
Banana and Dark Chocolate Muffins. 
Makes 6

125g flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g sugar
11/2 large bananas or 2 small to medium (the riper the better)
65ml of vegetable or sunflower oil
65g dark chocolate cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6
Line a 6 hole muffin tin with muffin cases
Mash the bananas and set aside
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda and sugar in a large mixing bowl
Beat the oil and egg together in a jug. Add to the dry ingredients and mix
Stir in  the mashed bananas and dark chocolate
Spoon into the muffin cases
Cook for 20 minutes until risen and golden

Banana and Nutella Muffins
Makes 6-8 (I generally make 8 if I use 2 medium bananas)

150g self raising flour (or use plain and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g light brown soft sugar
25g porridge oats
2 small-medium ripe bananas or 1 large
150ml of buttermilk or natural yogurt
35g olive spread, melted
1 large egg beaten
Nutella hazelnut spread

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with 6-8 muffin cases
Mash the bananas and set aside
Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and oats in a large bowl
Mix together the spread, eggs and buttermilk or natural yogurt
Add this to the dry ingredients and stir lightly
Add the bananas and give another light stir
Divide half the mixture between the muffin cases (about a dessert spoon of mixture in each case)
Then drop a teaspoon of Nutella into each one
Top with the remaining mixture
Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden

Both these recipes are best eaten on the day of baking. They freeze well too.

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