Muffin madness!

Since going sugar-free for a few weeks (and settling into a less-sugar-than-before lifestyle adjustment), I’ve been looking for low-sugar muffin recipes. This is not as easy as you might think. Most so-called “low-sugar” recipes involved:
  • Splenda
  • Another caloric sweetener (like agave nectar, honey, etc.)
  • Sugar (although supposedly less than the “original” recipe)
None of this was what I was looking for. I was about to resort to taking the base from a savory muffin recipe and adapting it, when like a bolt from the blue (accompanied by the whole “choir of heavenly angels” soundtrack, et all), came the very thing I was looking for! A hearty bran muffin with no added sweeteners. It gets its sweetness from banana, raisins and the natural sweetness in the grains and milk. Orange zest, fresh ginger and cinnamon give it a boost.
I made a trial batch, and as it was cooling on the counter, Jeff snuck a bite. “Oh my god, these are amazing!” was his reaction. They are pretty amazing. Lightly, naturally sweet, fantastic with eggs for breakfast or a salad for lunch. They taste great as is, or with a dollop of nut butter. We’ve been eating them over the last few days, and they hold up really well when kept in an air-tight container.
Finding this recipe was a little bit of serendipity, because the recipe came from Full Circle’s “Good Food Health” blog, which I only stumbled upon because I’d decided to start getting their weekly produce delivery. The recipe is here, but I’ve also included it below.

Cinnamon Raisin and Banana Bran Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 ½ cup bran cereal (I used 1 cup oat bran and 1/2 cup wheat bran)
½ cup raisins
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 buttermilk and 1/2 almond milk)
¼ cup coconut oil
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. Mash the bananas and mix with the cinnamon, ginger, zest, bran, raisins and milk, Let sit until the bran cereal has started to soften and break down (about 15 min). 
  3. Meanwhile mix coconut oil with the egg until well combined. Add softened bran mixture to egg mixture and combine. 
  4. Add flours, oats, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the banana and egg mixture and fold together until just incorporated.
  5. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups (about ¾ full). Bake for 15-22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Let cool slightly, remove from muffin tin and enjoy.

I’ve decided that any 12-muffin recipe with more than a half cup of sugar (or other caloric sweetener) would better be defined as a cupcake. I’ll be making this bran muffin recipe again and again, and look forward to trying it with different variations, like lemon zest and dried blueberries or cherries. I also look forward to experimenting with other recipes to see if I can make them tasty with 1/4 cup of sugar, or less.