A Tale of Two Muffins

My pants are a little tight lately which is the result of: a) one of my bad habits and b.) the lapse of one of my good habits. The good habit that has fallen by the wayside is Pilates. I love Pilates and have religiously attended a class three mornings each week for the past year and a half. It has really made me feel better about myself  – ie, stronger, taller, etc. Until about a month ago when I somehow hurt my shoulder (How, I don’t know. Old age is all I can come up with). I ignored it for a few weeks until it was so painful I finally faced the fact that I was going to have to take some time off to rest it, then reassess and see if I needed some medical attention.

Well, I am in week two of “rest” and my shoulder feels better – hooray – but pants are tight – oh no. Exacerbated by my bad habits: enter baking, stage left. My baking has been out of control during this so-called “rest.” Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, brownie pudding, banana bread, home made chocolate pudding, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – you name it, I’ve made it, and eaten it, over the last two weeks.

Here is where I get to the part about the two muffins. One of my family’s favorites that I make on a sometimes weekly basis is chocolate chip banana bread. I recently converted the recipe to muffins which the kids like even more. I am the only regular banana eater in the house (besides my dog – he can hear me peeling a banana from the opposite end of the house and comes running) but keep buying them every week because my kids request the banana bread. The recipe is really more like banana cake – and delicious – but not that good for you – as all good baked goods seem to be.

So today, in my tight pants, I was trying to make a change and whipped up a new muffin recipe I printed out from this great blog I recently stumbled upon, Joy the Baker ( Great recipes and beautiful photos. I baked a batch of her oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins which sounded delicious on paper – oatmeal, blueberries, applesauce, whole wheat flour and a small amount of brown sugar – I would feel better about myself downing two of these at 4 o’clock in the afternoon when I would usually be making my way through two (ok, four) cookies.

Well I made them, and they are gorgeous, but not hitting the spot the way the sugar and oil- laden banana muffin classics do. I’m not sure if it’s the whole wheat flour or the baking powder. Whenever I use baking powder, I can always taste it in the finished product – does this happen to anyone else? Anyway, I am going to keep the muffins – a good breakfast on the run with a piece of fruit – and they should freeze well. Still tasty, but I think I’ll keep going back to the old fattening chocolate chip banana stand bys. And I need to go back to Pilates.

Here are the recipes:

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (modified from everyday Food, Feb. 2006 issue)

1/4 c. veg oil

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 med. mashed ripe bananas (1 cup)

3/4 c. chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease and flour (I use the Baker’s Joy spray). In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in oil, eggs and bananas. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

2. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean – 30 – 40 minutes (could take longer depending on your oven – start checking at 30 min.).

 Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins (courtesy of

1 1/4 c. whole wheat four

1 1/4 c. oats

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1c. unsweetened applesauce

1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk (note: I didn’t have any so substituted – added 1/2 tbs. lemon juice to 1/2 c. milk, let sit for 5 minutes and then used)

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 tbs. canola oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 c. blueberries – fresh or frozen

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease and flour (I use the Baker’s Joy spray). In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist.  Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

2. Bake 16 – 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (note: I had to bake mine for at least 25 minutes).

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