It is almost Valentine’s Day! This past weekend, my daughters and I sat down and wrote out some fun Valentine’s cards for the sweet students at their respective schools. The wintry weather also inspired us to do some baking!
Cooking with kids is such a great experience – not only does it create yummy and healthy food to be consumed, but it engages children and allows them to get hands-on with their grub. Yes, it’s messy, and my toddler has dropped an egg or two at times, but the pros far outweigh the cons and we get some mommy bonding time in the process.
We got out our wooden spoons and mixing bowls out and made some muffins that I like to call “You Melt My Heart” Whole Wheat Maple Banana Flax Muffins, a slightly modified version of my mother’s classic banana muffin recipe. We added mini chocolate chips to ours - a little Valentine’s Day treat.
These yummy muffins pair the sweet flavor of mashed bananas with pure maple syrup and a touch of brown sugar. The whole wheat flour and flax add fiber and omega-3s and the oil makes them moist and not too heavy. Team one up with a glass of milk or a cup of hot tea and these muffins make a superb snowy afternoon snack!
The good thing about these banana muffins is that they contain no butter (a saturated fat), but rather sunflower oil, which is an unsaturated fat and better for your heart health (plus the oil makes the muffins moist and prevents the development of gluten in the flour!). They also contain milled flax seeds which are a rich source of micro-nutrients, dietary fibre, manganese, vitamin B1 and the essential fatty acid known as omega-3. I always try to add flax to my baking for some extra health benefits. And the kids hardly notice!
“You Melt My Heart” Maple Banana Flax Whole Wheat Muffins Recipe
- 2 cups (260 grams) whole wheat flour (you can use all purpose flour too)
- 1/2 cup ground or milled flaxseed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/ 2 cups (360 ml) mashed banana (about 3 large brown/ripe bananas)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (preferably Canadian Grade eh!)
- 1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- OPTIONAL: 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped OR mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the centre of the oven
- Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or you can use butter to line them instead
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground flax and ground cinnamon (optional: chocolate chips, nuts)
- In another large bowl, combine the wet ingredients: mashed bananas, lightly beaten eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, milk, oil and vanilla extract
- With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients (a little bit at a time) just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky.
- The important thing is not to over mix the batter. If you stir it until smooth, it will be over mixed and the batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and fill just to the top of each tin
- Bake for about 15 minutes for mini muffins or about 18 -20 minutes for regular size. Use a cake tester or toothpick and insert in the centre of muffin. If the tester/toothpick comes out clean, your muffins are done! Place cooked muffins on a wire rack or plate to cool for a few minutes
- Makes about 14 regular sized muffins or 24 minis. ENJOY!