26 September 2010

Bananito Wheat Bran Muffins

In my defence this recipe was not meant to be an experiment. However, I was intentionally playing around with two things. First, the original recipe called for oat bran, which I did not use because a) I had so much bloody wheat bran and b) I didn't have any oat bran. Realistically the only difference between the two should be the texture of the muffin. The second thing I played with were the bananas. I decided to use bananitos instead.

The heck is a bananito you ask? I asked myself that very same question. Basically they're tiny sweeter bananas that taste like a banana-strawberry-apple hybrid. And what could be better than that? (Unless of course there was a magical banana-strawberry-apple-peanut butter hybrid). Obviously before baking with them I had to try one out and although they were definitely sweeter then the average banana the flavour was so interesting that I had to use them in a banana recipe. But which one?

As if fate itself intervened, that same week Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker posted a recipe for Oat Bran Banana Muffins, giving me the perfect opportunity to try those little suckers out.  An added benefit was that the recipe was quite healthy. It was full of fibre and low in both calories and fat. Since I had baked the Funfetti Cake earlier in the week (as well as stuffed my face full of delicious Indian food) it was nice to bake something light for Sunday morning breakfast.

I ended up using six bananitos, which equaled roughly two large bananas by weight. On first test the batter tasted okay but it was quite thick, almost like a thin cookie dough. Which was kind of shocking because the recipe warned of it being a very thin batter. I wondered if the wheat bran had something to do with it, but a likely culprit was the extra ¼ cup I added by mistake (I realized this half way to Timmy's....as the muffins sat helpless in the oven – for those who don't know Timmy's = Tim Horton's).

The smell upon pulling the muffins out of the oven was very inviting. Maybe this unintentional experiment had actually worked? My hopes were high. And then like a cinder block dropped from a tenth storey balcony, they came crashing down. My god those suckers were sweet. The extra sweet flavour of the bananitos was overwhelming and way beyond the average banana. I expected a slight difference, but this was ridiculous.

Allow me describe for you the flavour I was experiencing.

Ready? Okay, close your eyes (uhm, maybe not). Take a deep breath. Now imagine it's Sunday morning, a fresh cup of coffee sits next to you awaiting your first sip. You pour yourself a nice bowl of your favourite cereal followed by a generous helping of cool creamy milk, an excellent contrast to your piping hot coffee. Finally, replace the cereal with Skittles and that milk with maple syrup. You now have an idea of what I'm talking about.

I also felt that the muffins were TOO moist inside, I would almost call them wet. They passed the toothpick test so I have no reason to think they were underdone, but if you attempt this recipe I would suggest leaving them in for the full 15 minutes. Alternatively, you could decrease the temperature to 375F and bake for 20 minutes.

The next day the muffins were a little less sweet (edible at least) but still retained a ridiculous amount of moisture. The distinctive wheat bran chewy/grittiness was also quite noticeable, but since wheat bran was the base for the entire recipe, I wasn't surprised. Not scaring you away from wheat bran, just giving a heads-up.

I would definitely like to attempt these again using the original recipe. I also think that using wheat bran and normal bananas would produce a much more palatable result. I don't honestly believe that I will ever use those banonitos again and I might just toss them. Apparently a tiny banana that tastes like banana-strawberry-apple was too good to be true. In retrospect, anything that enticing can only be a product of pure evil.

~ Adam

Bananito Wheat Bran Muffins

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker via Two Peas and Their Pod

2 1/2 cups wheat bran (113g)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (60g)
1 tbsp baking powder
6 bananitos or 2 large bananas
2 egg whites
2 tbsp honey (If using bananitos you probably don't need honey)

Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners (I wouldn't recommend this recipe without them).

In a medium bowl add wheat bran, baking powder, and sugar and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, add bananas and mash. Add egg whites and honey and stir until completely combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

Evenly spoon batter into each muffin cup and bake on centre rack for 12 - 15 minutes (I did 12 I would recommend 15). Alternatively, Preheat to 375 and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool on rack for 5 minutes before removing muffins.

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