Whole grain banana muffins are a type of pastry baked with soft bananas and a whole grain like wheat, oatmeal, rye, or spelt. These types of muffins can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, with meals or even as dessert. Though these muffins sometimes contain a lot of sugar, they do get some health benefits from the whole grain.
Many whole grain banana muffins are baked with whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Oat bran may also be used, either alone or in conjunction with the whole wheat flour. Whole-grain flour contains cereal germ and bran in addition to the endosperm that is found in refined grains such as white flour, and is generally considered to be healthier than refined flour.
Whole grains contain natural protein and carbohydrates. They also contain a fiber and other important nutrient components such as iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are an important addition to a healthy lifestyle. Studies show they help to lower the risk of certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
In addition to bananas, whole grain banana muffins usually contain sugar or other form of sweetener. A small amount of artificial sweeteners or honey may be used. Although the muffin resembles a cupcake in size and shape, it is generally not as sweet. It also usually doesn't have any icing or frosting on top, although it may have a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Crumbled toppings made with butter, sugar and flour can be used to complement the banana flavor.
Baking powder and baking soda may be added to raise the muffin, to make it light and fluffy instead of dense. Oil is usually added to whole grain banana muffins instead of the butter that may be used in other baked goods. Oil prevents gluten from forming in the flour, producing a moist and tender muffin. Eggs are included to hold all the ingredients together and keep the muffin from falling apart.
Milk or yogurt help to keep the whole wheat muffin from becoming too hard or dense. Pure maple syrup may also be added to produce a sweet, slightly nutty flavor and help keep the muffin moist. Pure maple syrup is not maple pancake syrup, which is a combination of pure maple syrup and other liquid ingredients.
Nuts are a natural complement to whole grain banana muffins and are often included in the recipe. Walnuts or pecans are a favorite. Sometimes chocolate chips may also be used instead of nuts. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla are other ingredients that are used to add layers of flavor to a plain whole grain banana muffins. The bananas should be soft, yellow or brown bananas, which are easy to mash.