I have what is close to a slightly unhealthy obsession with reading food blogs and researching recipes. I suppose it is because I am often reluctant to stick rigidly to a recipe, whether it be that I don’t have the ingredients for it, such as Xanthan Gum or Apple Butter (The UK lacks apple butter, and it costs an absolute bomb online, so the idea still of butter from apples mystifies me), or the combinations are boring or samey. I must have read through about 50 ‘revolutionary’ choc chip cookie and brownie recipes, but I’m afraid none of them really stood out to me. My motto? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Therefore, there is very little that will persuade me to abandon from my staple brownie recipe, no matter how fudgy they are claimed to be!
Mixing up a recipe has to be one of the most fun parts of baking for me. For example, why not mix up an ordinary millionaire’s shortbread by adding some crushed cardamom, or lemon and rosemary (a genuinely nice combo if done right, I promise) to the shortbread, a few granules of sea salt to add some zing to the caramel, or transform the whole recipe into something new, like banoffee or even S’More millionaire’s shortbread! (You can tell I just came up with that idea as I was writing this, that’s how much I think about these things.) You can totally judge me for mixing up a timeless classic, but sometimes I just need to break free from the cliches of baking.
My favourite part of the tweaking process is when I have the essentials in the cupboard, I’m feeling a little spontaneous, and I haven’t planned it out at all. I often go to the cupboard to grab my baking powder and I move my spices out of the way to get it out, before double taking and grabbing all the spices instead, and that’s what happened when I made these!
This is another healthy recipe today, as my fixation this month is baking healthier recipes. The summer months are just on the horizon and I’m beginning to think of the bikini at the back of my wardrobe, but I’m not sure I can live a life without a bit of cake. So cake for breakfast? Heaven. A good way to cut out fat is to use applesauce, natural yoghurt or mashed bananas instead of butter, and the oats are a good way to add some fibre and texture, while keeping me full all morning.
So, I’ll cut to the chase. My breakfast muffin choice? Banana and gingerbread. I eat one heated up with some peanut butter and a cup of tea or coffee, but they are great for the days when I am running late for lectures and I need to eat on the go! Surprisingly, these lasted 4 days in my house, which proves how filling these muffins actually are.
I have a big appetite in the morning, which normally only a huge bowl of porridge can satisfy, yet 1-2 of these were perfect. They are some of the easiest muffins to make too, you only need one bowl, and if you had enough time, say at the weekend, you could very easily bake these up in the morning. I found that these got better after 1 day though, as they got more sticky and stodgy as they sat on my countertop.
To make them even stickier (albeit a tiny bit more indulgent), I pricked the tops of these lightly with a fork when they came out of the overn and drizzled a teaspoon of maple syrup on top. This made them even more moist, but not too sweet! Imagine just taking a bite, to a gooey, oaty mouthful of cake and dried fruit. Mmmmmm..
I digress. Here’s my recipe (I just juggled about with my standard cake recipe to get the proportions right)
- 200g plain flour
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- 2 egg whites
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 4 tbsp apple sauce (I used chunky, so that you get gorgeous pieces of apple throughout these muffins too)
- Approx. ⅔ cup rolled oats (I tend to just do this by eye, if your mixture is slightly thick, maybe use less)
- 75g mixed dried fruit (I used a mix of sultanas, golden raisins, black raisins and cranberries, but dried blueberries would work really well too)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (plus an optional 12 tsp to drizzle on top)
Just throw all the ingredients in one bowl in the order that they are here, (making sure the bananas are mashed seperately first though), then chuck them in a greased muffin tin. I would have normally used muffin cases, as they save me the mess, but the lack of fat in these makes them stick, and then they are very hard to eat! Bake these at 180C or Gas Mk 4 for 15-25 minutes until golden, and a skewer or fork comes out clean. Best to keep an eye on these after 15 minutes, as if you overcook them, the lack of butter means that they can become quite dry!
I hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did, I’d love to know what you think of these if you get round to trying this recipe, or would like some variation ideas (They’re practically coming out of my ears)
Love Sian xxx