It’s a well-known fact that couples who have lived together for awhile tend to argue over the dumbest things: who left the cap off the toothpaste tube, or whose turn it is to take out the garbage.
In our house, we squabble over bananas. As in, the ones that have turned too brown to eat on their own or even in a smoothie. I detest wasting food so insist on keeping them, promising to bake something. Ted counters with some version of: “You always say that but you never have time, so why not just pitch them now, before they turn to fruit fly-attracting, watery mush?”
Sometimes he’s right and eventually, the sad, wasted bananas go into the compost pile. I haven’t kept track, but I like to think more often than not, I manage to find a use for them. (And as for the freeze-them-to-use-later solution, it doesn’t work — a frozen banana is a forgotten banana in this house.
But I can only bake so many loaves of banana bread, which I’ve been making since I was tall enough to reach the counter (my first recipe was from “The Pooh Cookbook”). Thus my recent quest to find more creative uses for aging bananas — yet another excuse to peruse the black hole of lost time that is Pinterest.
About two weeks ago, I pinned a recipe for Chocolate Banana Crinkle Muffins from the blog Averiecooks.com to my “Mornings” Pinterest board. It seemed a perfect candidate for using up three, very brown bananas, and for adding my own tweaks to make the muffins healthier.
Adapting recipes with a few simple changes has become somewhat of a mission ever since I developed 35 “lightened up” recipes for classic baked goods and other dishes for “Lighten Up America,” by Allison Fishman Task, published by Cooking Light in October, 2o13 (the birthday cake — yellow cake/chocolate frosting — is one I’m especially proud of). Reducing sugar and butter, using egg whites instead of yolks, swapping out oil for applesauce and nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream are just a few of the ways that you can easily lower the fat, sugar and calories in a recipe.
The original recipe for these muffins calls for 1 cup sugar — plus extra for sprinkling on top — 1/3 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 cup mini chocolate chips. I cut the sugar in half and the muffins were still plenty sweet, used applesauce instead of oil, and my favorite Greek yogurt, Fage Total 0%, instead of the sour cream. I never have mini chocolate chips on hand, so used the remainder of a 12-ounce bag (about 1/2 cup) Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips instead. I ran both recipes through MacGourmet, the recipe database/nutrition software I use, with the following results.
AverieCooks.com recipe: 217 calories; 8.7 grams fat; 2.6 grams protein; 2 grams fiber; 21.2 grams sugar. My recipe: 126 calories; 2.1 grams fat; 2.7 grams protein; 2 grams fiber; 12.9 grams sugar. And, since none of that matters unless they taste good, I assure you, these muffins do.
The “crinkle” in the original recipe comes from the sugared top, but since mine came out slightly sticky and dampish (in a good way) from the applesauce, the sugar eventually melted in. Feel free to leave it off. If these stick around for more than a day, store them in the fridge.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on Nov. 18 to include a key ingredient – the BANANAS.
Makes: 16 muffins
Adapted from Averiecooks.com.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas, mashed (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Use paper liners to line 16 muffin cups, or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg until slightly foamy. Add the mashed bananas, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla; combine well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, if using, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.
Cool slightly on a wire rack before eating.