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Top Banana Bran Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Davis Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 100 percent bran flakes cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed over-ripe banana (2 to 3 large)
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup corn oil, canola oil or other flavorless, low-saturated fat vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, or 6 1/2 tablespoons liquid egg substitute
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (orange part of peel), optional

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 12 standard-sized muffin tin cups or coat with non-stick spray. (Or, use paper muffin cup liners, if desired.)

Thoroughly stir together the flours, 2/3 cup sugar, Davis Baking Powder, and salt, and in a large bowl. In a food processor, chop the bran flakes into very fine bits (not a powder), then add them to the dry ingredients. Combine the banana, yogurt, oil, eggs, and orange zest (if using) in the processor and process until completely smooth. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture, mixing gently just until the ingredients are evenly blended; don't over-mix or the batter may toughen.

Using a 1/2-cup measure or large spoon, immediately divide the batter among 12 muffin cups; they should be fairly full. Sprinkle the muffin tops with the reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, dividing it equally among them.

Bake in the middle third of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until the muffins are tinged with brown on top and springy to the touch; a toothpick inserted into the thickest part should come out clean. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; if no paper liners were used, gently run a knife around the cups, then remove the muffins. Let stand until cooled. They are best when fresh, but can be kept airtight for a day or so. Freeze airtight for longer storage.

Makes 12 standard-sized muffins.

Tip: Although the recipe calls for quickly pulverizing the bran flakes and pureeing the bananas in a food processor, these tasks can be done by hand. Put the cereal in a small plastic bag and crush to fine bits using a rolling pin. Mash the bananas with a fork until very smooth, then whisk them together with the other wet ingredients.

Comments:

Touting these muffins as wholesome, rich in fiber, and easy to make would probably be enough, but they are also wonderfully aromatic and flavorful. And they rise nicely and are handsome in a homespun way. Using half whole wheat flour boosts the nutrition without making the muffins the least bit dense or "health foody," but, if you prefer, it's fine to use all white flour in the recipe.

Though the yogurt helps keep them moist, these muffins are best stashed in the freezer if not eaten the first or second day. I like to pull them out and quickly thaw them (wrapped in a tea towel or paper towels) in the microwave oven for quick nourishing breakfast treat or snack.