When life gives you bananas, you make muffins

Not like your mom used to make, but that's OK.

Not like your mom used to make, but that's OK. by Sarah Henning

We buy a LOT of bananas. We use at least two a day in the morning smoothie that the kiddo and I share. Plus they're perfect for pre-workout snacks, after-school snacks and banana ice soft serve for dessert.

But, sometimes, just like any other family, we miss the mark and just don't get to them. The result: Perfectly ripe bananas going black while waiting their turn in the fruit bowl.

And, because I'm my mother's daughter, what I do with over-ripe bananas is make banana bread.

As one does.

But when I last had too many bananas, I wanted to try something a little different. This winter, I got pretty good at making desserts out of pumpkin and almond butter (see these pumpkin pie bars and doughnuts as evidence), so I thought I might try the same with bananas and almond butter.

After a bit of trial and error, I ended up not with great banana bread, but with great banana-nut muffins. (Muffins beat out the bread version mostly because they made for easier portion control.) They're dense and moist and perfect for the morning, either plain or topped with some honey or jam.

You might be able to tell from that last suggestion, but what these muffins aren't is sweet. The bananas and only 2 tablespoons of maple syrup sweeten the whole batch. I realize this might be a turnoff for some people (my kiddo wasn't a fan), but my hubby and I really liked that we didn't feel like we were eating a sugar bomb first thing in the morning.

That said, if you like your muffins sweeter, you could add another 2 tablespoons or so of maple syrup to get them a big sweeter, though they still will never rival traditional banana bread in the toothache arena.

Low-Sugar Banana Nut Muffins

4-5 ripe or over-ripe bananas

1/2 cup almond butter (no salt and raw, if possible)

4 eggs or the equivalent of an egg substitute like a flax egg

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted if solid

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more)

1/2 cup coconut flour (this is really absorbent, so you don't want to substitute another type)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt (adjust if your almond butter is salted)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 to 15 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

In a blender, combine your bananas (cut up), eggs or egg replacement, almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. Blend well. If you're using regular eggs, it will be quite frothy.

Pour the blender contents into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients except for chopped walnuts. Mix well. Fold in the walnuts and mix again.

Fill each of the liners two-thirds of the way full. If you add more maple syrup, chances are you'll have more batter and get closer to the yield of 15.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Serves 12 to 15.


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