Monday, December 19, 2011

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins Recipe

Top these muffins with Red Hots candies for a festive touch.
Confessional. I'm not much of a pastry-gal/baker. I don't have the bread gene either. Unlike most of the women in my family, I'm no expert at the art of making swoon-worthy cinnamon buns, sweet potato pies or Sally Lunn bread. It's just not in my being. Plus, I don't like to bake. As much as I wish I could summon some sort of deep-seated joy when whipping up a batch of glittery Christmas cookies, instead my cooking heart is filled with dread at the thought of covering myself in flour and silver dragees all afternoon. Show me a 6-pound pork butt and then we'll talk.

Like most people, however, I love having baked goods in the house, but let's face it, buying your cakes, pies and cookies from the store is neither cost-effective or nearly as tasty, so on those rare occasions that I decide to pony up and do a little baking, I'm doing so in order to save a couple of ducats and exercise complete control over my ingredients. Did you know that a single slice of a Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake contains 490 calories? That's one hell of a fatty snack to go with that Eggnog Latte (which clocks in at another 460 calories FYI).

My husband simply loves muffins (and Starbucks goodies) so I have been trying to do my part and make more of the coffee treats he would normally buy out at home, so lucky me when this morning I came across a recipe for Banana Yogurt Muffins on and I noticed that I happened to have a couple of half-rotten bananas lying around along with a container of Fage 2 percent yogurt. Not only do I like banana anything, but what really appealed to me about this recipe was the idea that most of the fat (in the form of vegetable oil) was replaced with yogurt and mushy overripe bananas. Plus, and most importantly in my non-baking book, the recipe is super easy.

In true recipe writer form, I made a couple of changes to the original and added ground ginger, sunflower seeds, vanilla bean paste, and I upped the amount of milk and subbed in the Greek yogurt for the non-fat vanilla yogurt. I also, topped the muffins with a couple of Red Hots candies, because heck, it's Christmas. For more on cooking with Red Hots, check on this piece I wrote for NPR a few years back. Finally, I lowered the cooking temp.

All in all, the muffins turned out pretty good. Not the best muffin I've ever sank my teeth into, but they definitely did the job as a healthier alternative to the grease bombs that can be purchased at the store, and they pair pretty well with a hot cup of coffee.

Greek Yogurt Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Slice open these muffins and top with a pat of butter while still warm for added decadence.


1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
5-ounces 2 percent Greek yogurt (or nonfat)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup 2 percent milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain sunflower seeds (unsalted)
Red Hots candies, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, egg, vanilla paste, milk (adding more if mixture is too dry), and vegetable oil. Add in bananas and sunflower seeds and mix well.

Drop batter by spoonfuls into a muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray and lined with foil baking cups. Top each muffin with a couple of Red Hots.

Bake muffins in the center rack of oven for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: these are great for freezing in Ziplock bags.

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  1. Vanilla bean paste? Hmm..looks a lot less expensive than buying the whole bean. Does it pack the same punch versus scrapping the bean itself? Might have to try this for my next batch of creme brulee.


  2. Hey Tim,

    I really love the vanilla bean paste, but I have to say, it doesn't pack quite the punch of a real bean, but it does come pretty close. Plus, you get all the little seeds for show unlike extract :) I'm a huge fan of the bean paste for general cooking. It contains no alcohol and lasts forever. You can buy it Sur La Table BTW


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