The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Choco-Cran-Ban Muffins

HOWDY friends!  Just popping in to share another yummy recipe I came across recently.  This one was originally posted by Abby over at Manila Spoon.  She’s got a great blog that I love to follow, and when I saw this one, I knew I had to try it.  (Can’t imagine why I never thought of combining cranberries and banana bread…and the chocolate chips just put it over the top!)

I made a batch a couple of weekends ago to share with a group of hungry guys and gals out working cattle on our place.  They all gave them a “thumbs up”, so I thought I’d share the recipe.

I’m sharing my adaptation here, but please stop by to check out Abby’s original version (as well as all the other yummy recipes she’s posted) and tell her Faithy sent you.

You should smell these!!
Choco-Cran-Ban Muffins

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp Smart Sugar (or whatever type of sugar you prefer)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (the original recipe called for 2 cups A/P flour, but as usual, I am substituting some whole wheat flour for part of it)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can use all regular A/P flour if you prefer, but I like the taste & nutritional boost you get from using part whole wheat flour - feel free to play with the amounts of each until you find your preference)

2 tsp. low-sodium baking powder (feel free to use regular baking powder if you don’t have any of this stuff, but I really like it…it’s a GREAT way to decrease the amount of sodium in your baking without a noticeable difference in taste)

1/4 tsp. salt (I always use half the sodium called for in my baking recipes, without any noticeable difference in flavor)

1/2 cup HEB Real Egg (or 2 regular eggs, lightly beaten)

1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt, but you could also use sour cream if you don’t have any)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla (you can leave this out if you don’t have any, but it adds a nice flavor)

1/2 cup banana, mashed (about 1 1/2 bananas - I used 2 bananas but I think it was a bit too much)

1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional (for you northerners…walnuts would be fine too)  :-) 

Preheat oven to 400 F°.

Mix all dry ingredients, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and yogurt on low speed, just until combined, then add the oil & vanilla.  Once that is mixed in, add the banana and continue to beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth (without any large lumps of banana).

Adjust the speed to low and then slowly add the flour mixture.  I add it with a 1/2-cup measure, so it isn’t too much at once.  (If you dump it all in at once, your kitchen will have a nice light dusting of flour!)  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula after each addition of flour mixture.

Once everything is combined, remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in cranberries, chocolate chips and pecans (if you’re using those) by hand.  (I have one family member - who for some unknown reason doesn’t like chocolate - so I scooped out a few muffins for her before stirring in the chocolate chips.  You can do this with the cranberries or pecans too if someone doesn’t like those.  I’m sure you could substitute raisins or dried blueberries for the cranberries too if you prefer those.)

Fill muffin cups (sprayed with cooking spray) about 2/3 full.  (My large cookie scoop works perfectly for this!)  Bake at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes or until muffins pass a “toothpick test”.

Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before transferring from muffin tin to a wire rack to cool completely. The muffins may feel soft when you lift them up but don't worry they will firm up as they cool down.

Abby is right, the combination of sweet and tart flavors has a nice balance, and these muffins stay nice & moist even after they’ve cooled and set out for a while. 
NOTE:  The recipe is supposed to make 12 regular-sized muffins but I had enough batter left for an additional dozen mini muffins.  (BEWARE:  The mini ones are addictive…so easy to pop in your mouth and enjoy…)

I really hope you’ll try these delicious muffins, and then come back and let me know what you think.  I’d really like to hear about any adaptations you may try, as I’m always looking for new ideas. 

Oh yeah…don’t forget to stop by Manila Spoon and thank Abby for this great recipe!

Have a beautiful day my friends…and be sure and spend some time with your family this weekend.  You’ll be glad you did!



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