I gotta say, I love healthy foods that don’t taste healthy at all. I wanted a to-go version of the fruit and nut oatmeal I’ve been having every morning. Something that was healthy, packed with fiber and Vitamin C, but still super tasty. This time of year, it was a no-brainer to add a whole lot of cranberries to the mix. Not only are they in peak season, but they’re filled with antioxidants and vitamins. And what goes with cranberries? Cinnamon. And orange. And maybe some walnuts. These muffins have a banana base, as well as olive oil to replace any butter. I also used whole wheat pastry flour and fiber rich flax seed. This recipe makes 12 muffins, and I have a feeling that between breakfast, work out snacks, and guilt free ingredients, these will go FAST.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with paper muffin liners. Set aside. Prep your dry ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, oats, baking powder, flax seeds, and cinnamon. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour at the ready, sub for whole wheat flour, running it through a fine sifter once or twice.
In a separate larger bowl, beat the mashed banana, egg, oil, vanilla, and sugar with a wire whisk. Be sure and use very ripe bananas. Ripe bananas are easier to mash, sweeter, and much more aromatic. I’ve learned a lot lately about the health benefits of bananas, which is why it sneaks its way into so many of my recipes (like this Pineapple Mango Smoothie). Helen over at Well Being Secrets gives a thorough breakdown of the nutrition in bananas, as well as 24 different health benefits. She also shares some tricks like how to properly store them and easier ways to incorporate bananas into recipes. Check out her impressive and thorough Health Benefits of Bananas page and learn something new.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk together until just combined. You don’t want to over mix.
Using a spatula, gently fold in the fresh cranberries and walnuts. The walnuts are optional, of course, if you don’t have nut lovers in your house, but I like the slight crunch it gives these muffins.
For some zestiness, grate in about 1/4 teaspoon of orange peel. Give the batter a quick stir and it’s ready to go.
Using a spoon or large cookie dough scoop, fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean. Immediately remove the muffins from the pan and transfer to wire wrack. Let them cool down completely before removing the paper to avoid sticking.
The orange and the cinnamon and the bursting cranberries- everything smells sooo good.
Store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Transfer to the fridge to store up to 1 week after that.