Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

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As a child, I remember my grandmother’s freezer being full of bananas. To my wee eyes, it seemed like there were dozens of them, a never-ending supply. One day, I discovered for myself that a thawed banana bears very little resemblance to a fresh banana, and I asked her why she kept them all. With a pair of sharp scissors, she snipped the end from the limp, black banana and squeezed it into a bowl like a tube of toothpaste, and we made banana bread. That was when I learned that nothing ever went to waste in her kitchen. Even bananas that I thought should be destined for the trash could be salvaged and used later. Ever since, my own freezer has become a gathering place for bananas past their prime, waiting to be baked into something delicious.

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Every so often, though, my husband sorts through the freezer and curses the number of frozen bananas I have hanging around. We buy bananas almost every week for the kids, and usually there’s a straggler or two that didn’t get eaten and is starting to get spotty and soft, so into the freezer it goes! It only takes a few weeks and I end up with an over-supply of frozen bananas and it’s time to do some baking.

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Enter the banana muffin. I prefer to make muffins over loaves for the kids, it’s just easier to portion out for them. When I’m feeling like Super Mom, I’ll even make mini muffins for them. I swear, my kids will eat anything in muffin form (just like their mom!). I found this recipe while searching for a reasonably healthy whole wheat recipe that would use a lot of bananas – most recipes use 2 or 3, but this one uses 5, maybe 6 if your bananas are on the small side. The result is a deliciously moist muffin, which can be hard to find in a whole wheat recipe. A batch of these muffins barely lasts 24 hours in my house – as soon as they’re out of the oven, my husband and kids are lining up in the kitchen to get one.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

(adapted from Food Doodles)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mashed over-ripe (or previously frozen) banana (about 5 bananas)
1/2 cup pecans

Prep a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (or grease), and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together flour, oats, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together honey, butter, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Stir in mashed banana.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Fold in pecans. Divide batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with oats.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, ~15-18 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins

Nutritional Info (per muffin): 244 calories, 30g carbs, 13g fat, 5g protein, 4g fiber.

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