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Not-too-Sweet Banana Muffins

I do this thing where I buy a big bunch of bananas on my weekly trip to the grocery store and then spend the rest of the week trying to use them up — smoothies, with peanut butter, just as they are — before they turn. Even with the air conditioner running fruit ripens very quickly here on my counter. If I don’t cut up my browning bananas and stick them in the freezer for future use in ‘nice cream’ I will make banana bread or mini banana muffins for the minis in my life.

Not that the world needs yet another banana bread or muffin recipe but the muffin recipe I made with my extra bananas last week is a winner and too good not to share. It’s low in sugar, just 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the batch of about 30 muffins, full of whole grains, and slightly chewy with the addition of shredded coconut. Vegan, too, and easily made gluten-free. I love the inclusion of coconut oil but you could easily substitute good quality olive oil. These are healthy and not-too-sweet yet still solidly in the realm of delicious. (Adding some toasted, chopped walnuts for crunch would be lovely, too.)

If you can’t eat up all your muffins in a week, pop some in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer for a quick breakfast or snack (if you’re anything like me you will in fact plan to save a few extra). And if your contrary, unpredictable child does will not eat again what she previously seemed to love … well, there’s all the more for you.

I imagine I might be sick of bananas by the time summer’s out — then again, I’ll be in California with access to rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries, etc. so bananas may become more treat than rote — but ’til then, muffins. And other things.

[print_this]Banana-Coconut Muffins, adapted from Faring-Well

To make gluten-free, use 1 2/3 cups oat flour plus two teaspoons of ground flax seeds in place of the whole grain flours.

Makes 12 muffins or about 30 mini muffins.

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice (I like almond)
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup mashed, overripe banana (about 2-3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole spelt flour
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Heat oven to 400 F and lightly grease a muffin tin.

In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, and applesauce.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top and stir into the wet ingredients.

Spoon into the muffin tin, place in the oven, and bake for in the oven for about 20 minutes. The tops should be golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container and serve within 5 days.[/print_this]

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