Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Banana - Walnut Muffins with Dates

I think banana muffins are a staple in most households. When you think about it, it's easy to see why - bananas are readily available, sweet, flavourful, a great binder and moisture component and relatively cheap when you buy from the "clearance" shelf of over-ripe produce. I can get a giant bag of about 10 large, organic bananas for a dollar on a Tuesday or Friday (generally when my store rotates the goods), and given a day or two they are the perfect blackness for baking. I'm not a stickler for organic anything (I do find a lot of it is a "money grab" from junk food companies), but I find that those items most often find their way onto the sale rack, and being the cheap frugal person I am, why wouldn't I take advantage?

The other thing that I can find dirt cheap is tofu. Even in upscale markets, this protein staple is pennies for the amount of nutrients it has, and whether I'm buying sprouted, organic black soybean tofu (my new fave for homemade "sushi"), pre-pressed bricks (perfect for stir fries like my mom's favourite Pad See Ew) or tubs of  pudding like silken tofu, I never have to spend more than a couple bucks - far less than the equivalent servings of meat or dairy. Silken tofu, in particular, is particularly useful when it comes to my baking projects that involve a good amount of eggs for moisture, as they both add a creamy richness and bind well so I don't need to add as many (if any) eggs. In fact, silken tofu is my secret for creamy, rich cheesecake with no cracks, since it doesn't trap air like the egg whites can!

So when I found myself with both leftover bananas and some silken tofu in the house, I knew there would be some baking to do. I found this recipe (well a version of it, anyway) in Vicki's Vegan Kitchen: Eating with Sanity, Compassion and Taste and it looked perfect. I used some chopped dates for a bit of extra sweetness and rich, buttery California Walnuts for crunch. The original recipe had no salt or spices at all, so I added a pinch of sea salt and a dash of nutmeg in with the dry mixture. I refuse to use the delicious amber maple syrup we have here for such a short time in any application other than topping oatmeal and toast, so I used some of the amber agave I had around and simply cut down the amount. 

Banana - Walnut Muffins with Dates

With work these days, I can forsee a lot more muffins in my future! I actually discovered today (sandwich day) that I had never made egg salad before - I've never even hard boiled an egg! I was embarrassed to realize it, even though it's understandable (I hate hard boiled eggs, and egg salad in particular, and haven't eaten eggs since 2006), but wouldn't you know it my foodie instincts kicked right in! Thank you, food blogging world :-). I'm sharing these moist morsels on Meal Planning Magic's Eating the Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge (letters A&B this month). You can follow the event on Twitter too, search #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge.

What's your favourite food beginning with A or B?

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Banana - Walnut Muffins with Dates
Makes 18
4 over-ripe bananas
300 g silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp amber agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup diced dates
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line muffin cups with non-stick liners. Spray with cooking spray (the muffins stick otherwise).
  2. In a food processor, combine the bananas, tofu, vanilla, agave and almond milk and puree smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and pulse in to combine.
  4. Add the walnuts and dates and pulse in.
  5. Portion into the muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from tins immediately and cool on a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 128.4
Total Fat: 2.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 11.4 mg
Total Carbs: 24.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 3.7 g