Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Banana - Walnut and Ricotta Muffins

Since discovering the joys of homemade ricotta, every time I notice that there is milk hanging around that's nearing expiry I inevitably drag out the pot and sieve to make another batch. While my dairy allergy won't let me have a taste of my hard won delicacy, my family enjoys eating the cheese for me (one of the good things about their Italian heritage!).

Banana-Walnut and Ricotta MuffinsSometimes, though, there is just too much ricotta to go through as a toast spread or stirred into pasta (those are the batches from a large over-purchase of dairy!), so occasionally I have to turn to the cookbooks and internet for a little inspiration. In this case, I needed help un-veganizing my standard fare - not being used to cooking with eggs and dairy at all, I'm more skilled when it comes to making do "without". But ricotta, yoghurt and eggs were almost at the "learning to talk" stage of their lives, and so they weaseled their way into my muffins along with a couple blackening bananas, California walnuts, mini chocolate chips and crunchy cereal for kicks.

Each bite into one of these muffins is a different sensation - one will have a soft, not-quite-pureed bit of banana, another will give you the slight tang of the ricotta with the sweet maple cereal and chocolate chips, yet another will have a buttery note from the walnuts. They're a gem for households (those with no allergies, of course) because they will stay moist and tender for a week in a covered container in the fridge, or you can freeze them and pop one or two in the microwave when your grandma drops by for tea and a chat.

Banana - Walnut and Ricotta Muffins
Makes 16
2 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup homemade (or low-fat) ricotta
1 1/2 tbsp non-fat plain (Greek-style) yoghurt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
pinch sea salt
1 (1 gram) packet caramel-flavoured stevia (or 1 tbsp dark brown sugar)
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nature's Path Organic Crunchy Maple Sunrise cereal (or your favourite crunchy cereal)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease well.
  2. In a bowl, beat together bananas, ricotta, yoghurt, eggs, vanilla, salt, stevia, spices and brown sugar.
  3. Add flour and baking soda, mixing until combined, then fold in the nuts, chocolate chips and cereal.
  4. Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until tests done.
  5. Turn out onto a wire rack immediately and cool completely. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 170.9
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Cholesterol: 37.9 mg
Sodium: 36.6 mg
Total Carbs: 28.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9 g
Protein: 5.6 g