This recipe has many possible titles – the muffins I churn out like a factory for school snacks OR the dead easy muffin recipe that people always ask for and that are always surprised by. It is my go to muffin recipe and is hands down my little daughter’s favourite. She would happily eat only these muffins and broccoli for the rest of her life (and yesterday, ate 4 after school and only steamed broccoli for dinner – I could not make this up!!).
I like this recipe because it is delicious, simple, freezes well and is great for school snacks. The original recipe was a favourite in my moms and babies group nearly 10 years ago. Someone would make a loaf (it was originally a banana bread recipe) each week and we would devour it over coffee, sometimes a glass of wine, and chat about our babies, obsessing over everything they were doing or not doing. Since then, I have decided to change the loaf into mini muffins (formerly known as regular sized muffins when I was a child) and played around with the ingredients to increase the fruit and vegetable content and reduce the sugar. I do not align myself with any of the pro or anti-sugar camps but I do think it has little nutritional value but does taste great. My kids can only eat so much and would prefer that sugar not displace good healthy food so I will reduce it without compromising the end product. The original recipe calls for a cup of sugar which makes this “healthy” loaf or muffins so sweet and much more like cake. I find that if I have especially sweet sweet potatoes or squash, that I can reduce it about 1/3 of cup or leave it out entirely. There are also chocolate chips so even if the bready part of the muffins isn’t sweet, the chocolate is.
After much rambling, the recipe:
1 large sweet potato OR 2 cups of butternut squash. Roasting your own potato or squash is really worth the effort but if you don’t want to, you can use canned puree. In a pinch, if you cannot find a can of pureed unsweetened sweet potato or squash, you can use a big jar of baby food. Commercial baby food isn’t so tasty but it works if you have to have some muffins!
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4 or 5 mashed, ripe bananas
2 eggs (or egg substitute – I use 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed w 6 Tbsp warm water if I don’t have eggs on hand or don’t feel like using eggs)
1/3 cup grape seed oil (melted butter also works here – one of my kids cannot have dairy, so I stick w oil)
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar but this is entirely optional. The bananas and sweet potatoes can be so sweet that I leave this out entirely.
1 cup of chocolate chips plus a few to sprinkle on top.
Step 1 – Set oven to 400 degrees. Roast the sweet potato (prick skin w a fork, put on a cookie sheet, takes about 45 mins, or longer – I do this and often just store in the fridge until I am ready to use) or squash (toss in a bit of oil and roast until soft – 20 mins or so if the squash is cubed). In both cases, mash the potato or squash w a fork and set aside to cool. You should be left with about 1 1/2 cups of puree. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Step 2 – combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix w a whisk. Set aside.
Step 3 – break eggs (or set up flax eggs) in another bowl and give them a quick whisk to break the yolks and combine w the whites. Add the potato or squash puree, mashed bananas, oil and sugar (if using).
Step 4 – Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter is really thick, but if it seems like concrete, add a bit of water to loosen it up. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to distribute.
Step 5 – you can make either a loaf or muffins with this recipe. If you want to make a loaf, scoop the batter into a prepared loaf pan. If making muffins, count on getting about a dozen regular muffins or 2 dozen mini muffins out of the recipe. Grease/line w paper liners the pan of your choice. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on the tops of the loaf or muffins
Step 6 – Bake loaf for about 50 mins. Bake muffins for about 30 mins and mini muffins for about 20 mins. Muffins should have golden tops. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife in the centre of the loaf (or into a muffin the middle of the pan) to confirm doneness – it should come out clean. These freeze really well – I dump them into big ziplock bags and keep them in the freezer. I pull them out frozen and pack them for the kids for snacks and they are apparently thawed by the time they eat them. Enjoy!!