A dozen healthier-than-usual banana muffins made with oats, Greek-style yogurt and two types of chocolate.
For the longest time, I’ve been dreaming about high-top muffins. You know the ones – those pretty muffins with tall, rounded domes sitting on bakery shelves.
While I haven’t been ‘unhappy’ with my muffin domes in the past, I’ve frequently wished those domes were just a little higher. Maybe I’m obsessive, or a perfectionist, or some kind of crazy muffin lady. Whatever the reason, for the last few months I had one goal: higher muffin domes. And dagnabit, I was going to get them.
First, I tried filling the muffin pans to the top, instead of three-quarters of the way up. Close, but no cigar. The muffins were taller, yes, but those domes weren’t quite as high as I was hoping.
After consulting everybody’s favorite friend, Google, I figured out what I was missing: extreme heat. To get those muffins tops to really rise, you need to crank up the oven.
This isn’t surprising, given that you need a high oven temperature to make popovers (or Yorkshire puddings) rise. And it’s crucial to preheat your skillet/pan before making pancakes because a cold skillet will yield flat, sad pancakes.
In summary, heat is good. But, be careful, because – as I soon discovered – too much heat is a dangerous thing.
Some recipes out there call for baking muffins at 400°F (200°C) – or even 425°F (220°C) – until cooked through. But it soon became clear that this wasn’t going to work for me, unless I wanted a batch of very burnt muffins.
Instead, what worked for me was a trick I’ve seen in a few places on the web: bake the muffins at 425°F (220°C) for 5 minutes, and then turn down the heat to the usual 350°F (180°C). The initial burst of heat encourages the muffins to rise, and turning down the temperature allows the muffins to cook through without burning.
This may seem obvious, but don’t open the oven door when you turn down the heat. Otherwise your precious muffins will deflate (or collapse) and it will be nothing short of disastrous.
While these muffins obviously aren’t as perfectly shaped as the ones sitting in the bakery window, they certainly rise and create domes that are far from flat.
So, now I’ve said (well, written) far too much about baking the muffins, I guess I should quickly mention something about what’s in them! Well, unlike those muffins in the bakery, these ones are made without butter or a ton of oil. The Greek-style yogurt (i.e. thick yogurt) and mashed bananas add plenty of moisture, so we can get away with only adding one tablespoon of oil.
And, since it’s me, there are also some oats in these muffins. The quick-cooking oats (sometimes just called ‘quick oats’) add texture and a little extra goodness to these baked goods.
But before we get too carried away with the whole ‘healthier’ muffin idea, let’s not forget about the best part: the chocolate. Here we’re using a mixture of dark and white chocolate chips to keep things interesting.
After all, if there’s one thing I want more than high-domed muffins, it’s chocolate for breakfast.
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) canola oil
- 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250g) mashed banana
- ½ cup (120g) Greek-style yogurt
- ¼ cup (60mL) milk
- 1 ½ cups (195g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (45g) quick-cooking oats
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (45g) dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (45g) white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking oil spray. Alternatively, line the holes with muffin papers, and lightly spray the papers with cooking oil spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the brown sugar, canola oil, blackstrap molasses and vanilla extract. Mix in the mashed banana, yogurt and milk.
- Add the flour, quick-cooking oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the dark and white chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pan, filling the holes most of the way up. If desired, sprinkle some extra chocolate chips over the tops of the uncooked muffins.
- Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 5 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake for a further 10 – 12 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
- Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack. Store in an airtight container.
1 cup mashed banana is approximately equal to 2 large, very ripe bananas