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Whole wheat banana bread muffins with apples and pecans

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Low-fat, whole wheat banana bread muffins with apples and pecans

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The Holidays are over, and I am having a little bit of a hard time getting back into my routines. You see, I am a person of habit, and when my daily habits get temporarily broken even by such joyful events as the Holidays , I can become overly tired and ineffective. In other words, I feel like I am off my rhythm lately. Don’t you? I feel like I need a vacation after the Holidays. Which is why good old banana bread (even in the form of muffins) becomes a really good and familiar friend that I want to cling on to right now:

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I experimented a bit with my regular banana bread recipe and made these muffins a bit healthier by using whole wheat flour along with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt and only 5 tablespoons of butter for a whole tray of muffins! Let me remind you that whole wheat flour is a very good source of dietary fiber and nutrients. Here is a very interesting article on the benefits of whole wheat flour. I personally love the taste of whole wheat, especially in a muffin for breakfast – it tastes very wholesome to me. And, bananas + apples make these muffins almost cake-like, even moister the next day!

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Because these muffins are “banana bread” muffins (that is, made with 2 very ripe bananas), and because I am stuffing them with a whole bunch of apples – I guarantee you won’t feel that “dry” taste of whole wheat flour at all! It’s all covered up and disguised by the moistness and flavor-fulness of bananas and apples.

Don’t forget to measure the flour properly, by sifting it or aerating it and fluffing it up instead of just packing it into the measuring cup – otherwise you will pack way too much flour, which could be dangerous for a whole wheat flour recipe! (SEE MY VERY IMPORTANT NOTE UNDER THE RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS.)

As you see, I am using only 1 and 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for a recipe that would usually demand 2 full cups of regular all-purpose flour. Because 100% whole wheat flour is so much drier than all-purpose flour, the proportion of flour to liquid ingredients should be significantly decreased when using whole wheat flour. When you will be mixing in 1 and 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour into liquid ingredients in this recipe, you will notice how fast the flour absorbs the liquid.

If you’re still hesitant to use a whole wheat flour, you can use an alternative I provide in a recipe (using half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour) for starters and then, after you like that, you can go from there. After all, it’s a banana bread muffin – it’s supposed to be somewhat dense, but with the moistness coming from bananas and Greek yogurt and apples, you won’t even feel the denseness!

Whole wheat banana bread muffins with apples and pecans

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 12 regular size muffins. Use one regular size muffin pan (12 muffins)

Whole wheat banana bread muffins with apples and pecans

Ingredients

    Muffins:
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sifted white whole wheat flour, I am using Prairie Gold: Flour 100% Whole Wheat by Wheat Montana (see my very important note about aerating the flour!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups apples, cored and chopped. Use sweeter and crisper apples, such as Fuji apples, especially if using 3/4 cup sugar.
  • 1/2 cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • Topping (OPTIONAL):
  • carameal sauce or homemade dulce de leche
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter on high speed for 1.5 minutes. The consistency will be somewhat crumbly. Add egg and continue beating for several more minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy and lighter in color.
  2. Add mashed bananas, Green yogurt, and vanilla extract and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in chopped apples.
  5. Grease muffin pan. Fill each muffin cup almost to the top (about 3/4) - DO NOT FILL MUFFIN CUPS TO THE VERY TOP otherwise they overflow. In fact, with this recipe, I am usually able to fill regular 12 muffin pan plus 2 or 3 separate extra muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch baking times closely: do not overbake and keep in mind that the "actual" individual oven temperatures might vary. When inserted toothpick comes out clean - the muffins are ready! It could be 20 minutes for your oven, or 30 minutes!
  6. OPTIONAL. Warm the caramel sauce in a microwave for 5-10 seconds. Using small spoon, drizzle some caramel over the top of each muffin. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Notes

Important note about properly measuring flour using measuring cups:

The proper way to measure flour using measuring cups is to aerate it first. This is done either by sifting flour, or aerating it by fluffing it up and whisking it well, then spooning it into the measuring cup, then carefully removing any excess flour with a knife. If you just stick that measuring cup in the bag of flour and scoop some out, you will get a lot more flour than what the recipe calls for. Do aerate the flour, or you will end up with dry dough!

If you don't want to use whole wheat flour, here are the substitutions:

Use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. Or if you wish to forgo whole wheat flour altogether, just use 2 cups all purpose white flour *(SIFTED! - see my note above!)*

http://juliasalbum.com/2014/01/banana-bread-muffins-recipe/

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Ashley January 7, 2014, 6:20 am

    Oh man, I definitely feel like I need a vacation after the holidays! While they were fun, it was exhausting – especially with travel! These muffins look soooo good. And that topping! Amazing!

    • Julia January 13, 2014, 2:46 pm

      Yes, Ashley, I need a vacation! Without a vacation after the Holidays :), it’s just taking me longer to get back to normal, but I am getting there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen January 7, 2014, 6:51 am

    Right there with you, girl! I also feel like I need a post-holiday vacation. You are not alone. Gorgeous muffins…I love all that drippy goodness on top!

    • Julia January 13, 2014, 2:47 pm

      Thanks, Stacy! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, Holidays can be so exhausting! I am feeling better now though, 2 weeks post-holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Denise [email protected] Brazil To You January 7, 2014, 8:46 am

    These look so terrific, Julia! I love the homemade dulce de leche dripping from these healthy muffins. Oh, happy day…

  • Monique January 7, 2014, 8:56 am

    I just made muffins too:) After Christmas Cookies..muffins seemd to be where to go:)These are beautiful..your clics superb.

  • Consuelo @ Honey & Figs January 7, 2014, 9:14 am

    Oh gosh, these muffins look absolutely wholesome! I love the greek yogurt, banana and apple addition, I bet they make a super moist muffin!
    I’m feeling a bit off lately as well, and I think that these muffins would be perfect to go back on track ; ) x

  • Barbara January 7, 2014, 10:32 am

    I’ve found that whole wheat pastry flour works better for quick breads like muffins, etc. and desserts such as cookies and cakes. Regular whole wheat flour is better for yeast breads.

    • Julia January 7, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Barbara, I am just discovering that there is such flour as whole wheat pastry flour – I’ve never used it before and have not seen it in stores I go to. But I did see recipes that use it and they say the same thing that it’s better for muffins, quick breads, etc. Once I figure out where to buy it, I’d love to use it in this recipe.

  • de January 7, 2014, 10:37 am

    Banana Bread Muffins are so comforting on the cold foggy morning! I might have to forgo the healthy as the homemade dulce de leche is just irresistible!

  • [email protected]'s Recipes January 7, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Caramel topping is definitely a must! These muffins look wholesome, Julia.

  • Rachel @ Bakerita January 7, 2014, 1:34 pm

    These look amazing – I love banana bread, and it is so much more convenient in muffin form. And that topping, oh how yummy!

    • Julia January 7, 2014, 3:11 pm

      Thank you, Rachel, you’re very sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Matt @ Runner Savvy January 7, 2014, 7:47 pm

    Oh man these look good!

  • Farah @everylittlecrumb January 7, 2014, 11:24 pm

    These look fantastic! I’m doing the whole eating healthy after the new year thing and this looks like a great addition to my healthier dessert roster. Will have to try these! As you’ve probably figured out by now I can never ever resist a caramel/pecan combination ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ash-foodfashionparty January 7, 2014, 11:34 pm

    I just love whole wheat muffins, so flavorful and hearty. THEY are beautiful.
    A Very Happy New Year!!

  • laurasmess January 8, 2014, 1:22 am

    These are gorgeous Julia! Such beautful glistening caramel glaze, studded with pecans… argh. Heaven in a muffin! Thanks for all of the extra cooking tips too… haha, love your bold sentences for those who tend not to read carefully (aka ME, I am a terrible recipe follower!). I’m going to give these beauties a go very soon. Hope that the rest of January is a beautiful month for you xx

  • [email protected] January 8, 2014, 8:21 am

    Happy looking muffins! I love the pecan touch. Thanks for the remainder about flour measuring. ๐Ÿ™‚ ela

  • [email protected] Riffs January 8, 2014, 3:37 pm

    I really like holidays, but it’s so good getting back to one’s routine. I’m also surprised, too, how much a creature of habit I am. I should make these great muffins one of my habits! They look excellent. Thanks.

  • [email protected] January 10, 2014, 9:13 am

    These muffins look so fabulous! The caramel and pecans on top look heavenly. I’ve had trouble getting back on track after the holidays too. Planning on spending most of the weekend in bed reading and watching movies!

  • Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner January 10, 2014, 11:04 am

    These muffins look delicious! Love that they’re healthy. ๐Ÿ™‚ The topping is making me drool!

    • Julia January 13, 2014, 2:45 pm

      Tina, thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Laura Dembowski January 10, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Banana bread is the perfect comfort food! These muffins are irresistible with those toppings too!

    • Julia January 13, 2014, 2:45 pm

      Thank you, Laura, I love banana bread – it’s the only way I eat bananas. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking January 10, 2014, 2:15 pm

    These are gorgeous! And even more importantly… whole wheat! Yay. I absolutely love this post! I’ve actually never tried bananas and caramel but I will now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Julia January 13, 2014, 2:44 pm

      Thank you, Erin! ๐Ÿ™‚ I just made another batch of these yesterday – they came out so moist, I couldn’t believe it! Especially considering how dry the whole wheat flour is!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl January 23, 2014, 12:32 am

    The first picture of these muffins really got me, then I scrolled down and saw the next and just sat here admiring it. Beautiful!

  • Peter November 12, 2015, 4:36 am

    HI Julia, if I am using a digital scale to weigh the whole wheat flour do I just aerate it after is weighted on the scale or before still? Thanks

  • Peter November 13, 2015, 10:20 am

    Hi Julia If I use a digital scale to weigh the whole wheat flour do you still recommend for me to to aerate it? Please answer me

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