Tag Archives: muffins

Banana butterscotch muffins with a healthier twist


One of my favourite recipes is banana butterscotch muffins from Nigella Express. I don’t make it often because Dash doesn’t like banana, but if I’m bringing a treat along somewhere, it’s a handy one.

I wanted to bake some of these for the nursery school open house on Saturday, but I thought it would be nice to make the recipe a little healthier, considering all those delightful teeny toddley people who would no doubt be cruising by the food table and swiping everything they could grab before a parent stopped admiring the classroom decorations and noticed.

So I used brown sugar instead of white and reduced the quantity, because the butterscotch chips give plenty of sweetness. I added oatmeal too. I didn’t dare tweak the recipe further since I was baking against the clock and for an audience (I mean, the results would be eaten by an audience; I wasn’t actually baking in front of a live studio audience), but I have suggestions for next time…

Mabel dishing out the muffins


This is the recipe as I made it this time:

3 ripe bananas (if your bananas are not very ripe, 30 seconds in the microwave will soften them up nicely)
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1.5 cups (150g) AP (white) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking (bread) soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup (50g) oatmeal (old-fashioned, not quick)
1/2 cup (75g) butterscotch chips

1. Mash the bananas with the brown sugar and set aside.

2. Stir together the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Beat the eggs with the oil in a measuring jug.

4. Add the egg and oil mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to moisten.

5. Add the mashed bananas (and sugar) and mix well. (Not too well. Lumps are fine, so long as the flour is all mixed in.) It’s quite a wet mixture.

6. Mix in the butterscotch chips.

7. Spoon into well-greased muffin tins. I made mini muffins, the better to be grabbed by little hands, and the mixture made 24 minis plus 3 regular-sized ones for taste testing. If you use paper cases, the oatmeal often sticks, so even though greasing is a pain it’s better for the final product.

8. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 15 minutes for mini muffins or 20 for regular-sized ones.

9. Cool a little and remove carefully from the tin so as not to leave bits behind. If you can take them out of the tin before they’re totally cooled, the bottoms will be as deliciously crunchy as the tops.

Muffins on cooling rack

They’re a little bumpy-looking, but that’s the artisanal touch, y’know.

Other healthy things you could try:

  • Substitute plain yogurt for one (or both) of the eggs.
  • Use part wholemeal flour instead of all AP flour.
  • Substitute applesauce for part or all of the vegetable oil.

They all disappeared in record time, so I think I can safely say this particular version passed the adult-and-toddler taste test.

Apricot breakfast muffins

I like to make breakfast muffins. I whip up a batch containing something relatively healthy, thus guaranteeing that nobody else will want to eat them, and then I stick them all in a ziploc bag in the freezer. In the morning I can pull one out and 20 seconds in the microwave later I’ve got something nice to eat with my coffee.

In the summer I made a batch of somewhat aggressively healthy zucchini-and-almond ones; more recently I was eating my old faithful (delicious) oatmeal streusel muffins; but today I pulled a bag of dried apricots off the shelf, looked up a basic recipe, and messed with it to good effect.

Apricot muffin

This is how my version looked:

  • 1 cup (160g) chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup (120ml) boiling water
  • 1 cup (100g) wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 cup (75g) AP (white) flour
  • 1/4 cup (25g) wheatgerm
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (75g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (120ml) (in its liquid state)
  • a splash of orange juice (or some orange zest)
  • 1 cup (240ml) natural yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (25g) chopped walnuts

Turn the oven to 400 F (200 C). Put the apricots, roughly chopped, into a small bowl and cover with the boiling water while you get on with everything else.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, wheatgerm, baking soda and salt. (You don’t have to have wheatgerm, and you can probably use all wholewheat flour if you want to.) I like to use a balloon whisk for this, but a spoon will work too.

Measure the sugar into a smaller bowl and mix with the egg, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Add the oil (you can use vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut) and the yogurt, as well as the orange juice or zest if you have it, and mix well.

Now mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones, but don’t overmix. Lumps are fine. Drain the apricots and add them, along with the walnuts and chocolate chips. Obviously, at this point the mix-ins are totally up to you, but this seemed like a good combination.

Scoop 12-15 muffins into waiting muffin cases (or greased muffin tins) and bake for 15 minutes.

Muffins in freezer bag

Oops, I just had one for my elevenses as well.


Adding this post to Simply Homemade’s breakfast linky. Go check out some other great healthy breakfast ideas.