Who would turn on the oven on the hottest day of summer? Yep, me! Call me crazy, fool or simply call it a food blogger thing...I was seriously craving for tender, sweet muffins and had a couple frozen bananas waiting for me in the freezer, so nothing couldn't stop me. Not even this heat wave.
Truth be told, I needed one (or were too?) of my sangria pops to cool down but today I woke up to these super big, fluffy and deliciously sweet muffins. This is such a great way to start your morning off right.
Muffins, pancakes and french toasts are my favorite breakfast foods and it was about time to try something more hearty, these are made with organic whole wheat flour and panela. For those who haven't heard about panela before, (panela in spanish, also known as rapadura in portuguese), it's unrefined whole cane sugar, it has more nutrients, vitamins and minerals and can be used as an alternative to refined white sugar. It's easy to find it at organic food stores or at the healthy section of your local supermarket; however, if you can't find it Sucanat is quite similar so you can use it too. These whole wheat muffins are also very fruity thanks to the addition of bananas, dried figs and dates. Yummy combination yet not as overwhelmingly sweet as some may think because panela has a more toasty flavor but if you like them on the less-sweet side I'm pretty sure they will taste as good using less sugar.
Now it's time to relax, enjoy a tall glass of my super refreshing watermelon gazpacho (will post the recipe on my Facebook page, btw) and see what's cooking in the blogosphere.
Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dates and Figs
(yield: 6 jumbo muffins)
250 g frozen banana slices (around 2 medium bananas), thawed.
1 cup almond meal.
1/4 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
3/4 cup soy milk.
1/2 cup panela (unrefined whole cane sugar).
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.
2 tablespoons potato starch.*
2 teaspoons baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt.
40 g (1/3 cup approx.) dates, chopped.
40 g (1/3 cup approx.) dried figs, chopped.
*Note: you can use cornstach instead of potato starch.
Mash banana well with a fork until smooth. Chop dried figs and dates into small chunks.
Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and line a jumbo muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the almond meal, oil, milk, panela and vanilla until smooth and no large lumps are visible.
Sift the flour in a separated medium mixing bowl and add in the potato starch, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chopped dates and figs, to make sure the fruit chunks are well distributed and don't stick together or sink to the bottom, toss them a bit with your hands.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until combined.
Fill cups to the top (don't worry, the batter is rather thick so they will rise beautifully and you'll have nice tall muffins, they won't overflow).
Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of panela or your preferred sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes approximately or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack and carefully remove them later so they cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.