Low-fat, whole wheat banana bread muffins with apples and pecans - these taste so good! Perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert. If you want to make light and moist whole wheat muffins that are less dense - this is the recipe for you!
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 Holiday, 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 banana bread muffins) becomes a really good and familiar friend that I want to cling on to right now:
I experimented a bit with my regular banana bread recipe and made these muffins a bit healthier by using whole wheat flour along with ½ cup of Greek yogurt and only 5 tablespoons of butter for a whole tray of muffins! Let me remind you that the 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!
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 chopped 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.
How to properly measure whole wheat flour without scales
Don't forget to measure the whole wheat 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 as it results in a dense texture! The proper way to measure flour without scales, using just measuring cups is to aerate it first.
Here is how you do it:
- Sift the flour using strainer. Sifted flour is lighter than unsifted flour.
- Aerate the flour by fluffing it up and whisking it well. Then spoon it into the measuring cup and carefully remove any excess flour with a knife. If you just stick that measuring cup in the bag of whole wheat 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 dense and dry muffin batter!
Baking notes about whole wheat flour
As you see, I am using only 1 and ½ 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 mix in 1 and ½ 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
Whole Wheat Muffins:
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter , very soft, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 bananas , ripe, mashed
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour , sifted (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 ½ cups apples , cored and chopped. Use sweeter and crisper apples, such as Fuji apples
- ½ cup pecans , lightly toasted, chopped
- ½ cup caramel sauce or dulce de leche
- ⅓ cup pecans , chopped
How to make whole wheat muffins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 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.
- Add mashed bananas, Green yogurt, and vanilla extract and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Fold in chopped apples.
- Grease muffin pan. Fill each muffin cup almost to the top (about ¾) - 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 F in the preheated oven. 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!
How to make topping (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 and toasted pecans.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Matt @ Runner Savvy
Oh man these look good!
Rachel @ Bakerita
These look amazing - I love banana bread, and it is so much more convenient in muffin form. And that topping, oh how yummy!
Thank you, Rachel, you're very sweet! 🙂
Caramel topping is definitely a must! These muffins look wholesome, Julia.
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!
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.
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.
Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
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
I just made muffins too:) After Christmas Cookies..muffins seemd to be where to go:)These are beautiful..your clics superb.
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You
These look so terrific, Julia! I love the homemade dulce de leche dripping from these healthy muffins. Oh, happy day...
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen
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!
Thanks, Stacy! 🙂 Yes, Holidays can be so exhausting! I am feeling better now though, 2 weeks post-holidays. 🙂
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!
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! 🙂