The Banana Walnut Muffin Experiment

American breakfast food has rubbed off on me. It isn’t about the huge serving size, though that brings out the takaw-tingin (gluttonous tendencies) in anyone. Quite frankly, it’s the carbs with the fruits and the wholesome presentation that gets me every time. I get this image of having breakfast at a diner or chatting with friendly bakers at bake sales. *Sigh* I’ve got my head in the clouds again…

Soo… We’ve established that I like pancakes, waffles, and muffins. I’ve been on something of a health kick recently, after chatting with family about fiber and whatnot. Obviously, it’s not enough of a kick to turn me into a vegetarian or completely eliminate the joy of carbs in my life, but it has got me thinking of healthier substitutions. I wanted to work with more fruits, nuts, and the ever popular coconut oil, so I decided to make a modified version of Banana Honey-Walnut Muffins from a recipe I found on Once Upon a Chef.

Have some muffins

You will need…

Muffin Ingredients; not in photo are the washed sugar, baking powder, salt, and vinegar

It’s basically the same as with the recipe on the link above, but substitute the stick of butter with coconut oil at a one-to-one ratio. I also used two types of honey, since I have a jar of dark-colored, boysenberry-flavored Manuka honey just sitting there.

Seasoned walnuts

Hacked at the walnuts with a meat cleaver, then threw them together with the regular light-colored honey and some ground cinnamon. This was meant to be a sweet topping as per the original recipe, but I ended up  including a little over half to the batter to get a surprise crunch in every bite.
As I’m using coconut oil in lieu of butter in a tropical country, the creaming process didn’t exactly look by-the-book. I tried cooling the coco oil in the freezer for a few minutes to get it to solidify, but realized in horror that the freezer was freshly defrosted. No “coconut butter” today. Will do it in experiment two next time, though.

The Accidental Coco Jam

Luckily, the addition of the manuka honey + regular honey did help the appearance somewhat. It was able to allow for some emulsification, so the end result was something that looked like latik or coco jam.
Dumped in the eggs. Used chopped bananas instead of mashed for texture, just like with the decision to incorporate the walnut topping into the batter. Added vanilla and some of that walnut mixture. Last minute, I decided to turn the milk into a buttermilk substitute by adding a bit of vinegar. Then I alternated the dry ingredients with the wet ones and gave it a whirl. Poured ’em into the muffin tins and sprinkled the leftover walnut mixture on top. Into the oven they went.

Reduced-Guilt Banana Walnut Muffins

Result: First and foremost, my muffins turned out a darker brown most likely due to the molasses-like color of the manuka honey and the brownish washed sugar we have at home. Though the original recipe doesn’t have a hugely inflated output to begin with, mine came out somewhat denser probably from the coconut oil. My batter was quite wet, since I didn’t get to solidify the coconut oil beforehand. Ergo, less fluff and air.
Taste: Very moist! The combination of chopped bananas and walnuts in every bite gave it the chewy fruity, nutty texture I was looking for. Overall, not bad for a modified recipe attempt. Will make sure to use chilled coconut oil next time to make it more butter-like.
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