I cannot tell you how excited I am to share this recipe. This bread is not just shockingly delicious, incredibly easy to make, and looks quite lovely as a little loaf. But it is also good for you. Really good for you. Almost fat free and made with whole wheat flour good for you. No white sugar in the entire recipe (just a bit of honey) good for you. And yet so tasty that you could happily eat it for dessert, I swear.
But first, let me discuss one of the things I love so much about spring. Usually, when I’m making a baked good that involves fruit, I make it using frozen fruit. This is mostly for two treasons: first, fresh berries, for most of the year, are very expensive. Second, fresh berries, for most of the year, are not of very high quality, since they have probably been shipped to New York from China or Australia. I know how fresh I felt after getting off an 18-hour flight from Shanghai this summer, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to put my fruit through that.
But it’s spring, as the 78 degree weather outside is screaming into my ear. And fresh fruit is starting to pop up all over the place — and it’s cheap. With all the talk of rising food prices, I found strawberries at my grocery store on sale for $1.50 a pound (seriously). And what did it inspire? Muffins.
“Hmm, Katy,” I know you’re thinking. “That loaf in the first picture doesn’t look much like muffins.”
But the fact is, I had so much batter from this recipe, that I ended up with a small loaf of strawberry banana bread, six regular sized muffins, and twelve mini muffins. See?
But back to the recipe. I have been on a mega muffin/quickbread kick recently (breakfast, dinner, midnight snacks…). But you will pretty much never catch me buying a muffin in a bakery or coffee shop. Those things are usually the size of my head, and are generally nothing more than a dessert, packed with sugar and white flour and vegetable oil and I’m frightened to think what else.
And the same goes for lots of muffin recipes I looked at — many of them called for a cup of sugar, half a cup of oil or butter, and all purpose flour. Sure, every once in a while I stumbled across a “sugar-free” recipe, but those all used sugar substitutes like Splenda, which I loathe. Have you ever made a baked good with Splenda that’s actually tasty? I haven’t.
So here is my alternative. Healthy and natural and delicious: Fresh fruit, 100% whole wheat flour, a smidge of honey for sweetness, and some sour cream. It doesn’t get any more simple than that, and trust me, these are shockingly good. Twelve hours later, I’d be embarrassed to show you how little of that yummy loaf is left.
Strawberry Banana Muffins (or Bread)
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 100% whole wheat flour
2 tbsp water (eliminate this ingredient if you’re making one large loaf)
Pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries (about 1/2 pound)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, honey, sour cream, egg, and salt and beat until combined.
3. Add 1/2 cup of flour and beat until incorporated.
4. Add remaining 3/4 cup of flour and baking powder, along with 2 tbsp of water, and beat until incorporated.
5. Stir in chopped strawberries gently.
6. Pour batter into lightly greased muffin or loaf tins. Bake for 25 minutes (for muffins), or 35 minutes (for small loaves). Allow to cool, and serve.
Makes about 15 muffins, three small banana strawberry loaves.
UPDATE: I just took my second batch of these muffins out of the oven, after following the directions written here exactly, and I’m pretty sure I know why people have been having trouble with this recipe. Those sneaky little words “or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean” have screwed everyone up, myself included.
This muffin/bread recipe doesn’t taste nearly as good if you try to get the bread to cook all the way through — it will be tough on the outside and far too dry. So if you wait for a toothpick to come out clean, the outside of your bread will probably be leather. Forget about that silly toothpick.
Instead, bake muffins for 25 minutes and bread for only about 35. The inside won’t look “done” but it’s set enough to hold it’s shape, which is really all you want — that gooey goodness from the cooked strawberries hitting the undercooked muffin dough is what I loved about this recipe in the first place. If you’re worried about eating undercooked dough with egg in it (although I have a hard time believing that any bacteria would survive 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven), cut your muffin in half and throw it into the toaster oven before eating it — it’ll cook off quickly and you’ll get a crispy and delicious muffin.
Also, one more bit of advice — don’t use cupcake papers to line your muffin tins, because you won’t be able to get them off! Just bake them in the muffin tin, well greased.