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Wednesday 17 December 2014

Banana Gingerbread muffins or loaves with molasses, flax and chai seed- low fat, high fibre and you would have never guessed it recipe!

I have frozen banana gremlins in my freezer. I swear, every time I turn around to pull or put something into the freezer, they reproduce and I'm looking at a ridiculous amount of frozen ripe bananas.. just taunting me.  So, when I saw Kate of Framed Cooks had transformed them into gingerbread mini loaves, it was GAME ON! I subbed out a few ingredients, and added a few more ingredients, and behold, I have another recipe in my belt against the evil scourges of frozen banana gremlins!  Bonus? Its super moist, ridiculously tasty and amazing in time for the holidays (or anytime during the year), low fat, high fibre, sourcae of calcium (naturally from the molasses) and the fiancĂ© didn't even notice the healthiness at all as he stole the crisp muffin tops off a bunch of the muffins as they were cooling and left a swath of "topless" muffins lol!

First off, I'd like to share a little secret with you. I literally face palmed when I discovered it a few years ago and was gobsmacked I didn't think of it sooner.  We're usually told to shove our overripe nice and blackened (but not to the point of melting into a rotten goo stage) bananas whole and unpeeled into the freezer, so you can dig them out, slice, peel and discard the frozen peels for banana breads etc. The peel helps prevent freezer burn, and I usually toss it into a ziplock bag so I'm not fishing out random frozen bananas that would invaded my freezer nilly willy.  The downside - the amount of space it takes up.  Freezer space is prime real estate in my house!
Solution? Before you freeze the suckers, peel and smush them into a ziplock bag (removing all the air pockets). I am anal and scribble down the date, how many bananas and how many cups of bananas I put into each bag... because smooshed, peeled banans take up just a tinny fraction of the space its whole unpeeled version hogs up.  This large ziplock bag holds 2.5 huge bananas.. waaay easier to stack up these babies than bunches of frozen bananas. Now onto the recipe!

The batter is quite thick (chia seeds not only add in a bunch of fibre and protein, they also act as a thickener), so be prepared for a bit of an arm workout!  You can leave these babies plain, or simply dust the muffins with powdered sugar to make them look prettier... I used a quick paper cut out of a Christmas tree to add a festive touch - just work slowly with powdered sugar...don't douse yourself in clouds of sugar... multiple times... like me. I just don't learn :P Love love love how moist these turn out.. and I'm breathing in the wonderful scents of warm gingerbread mmmmm! Love natural "air fresheners".. right out of the oven.. this is my type of aromatherapy!! :D
And yes, this is my super awesome 24 cupcake/muffin/extra large cake carrier!
My fiancĂ©'s coworkers are going to get a yummy surprise!!
Banana Gingerbread muffins, cupcakes or miniloaves Adapted from Framed Cook's recipe here
Makes 12 cupcakes/muffins or 3 miniloaves
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/cup stick softened salted butter (can use 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 sour cream or plain/vanilla yogurt)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed (optional - gives it a punch of fibre)
2 teaspoons chia seed  (optional - gives it a punch of fibre and protein)
Powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375, and prep your pans .. either:
a) Grease or parchment paper linethree mini loaf pans (5x3x2 inches)
b) Grease or muffin paper line a muffin/cupcake pan
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, flax and chai seed.
3. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and molasses until well blended, then mix in mashed banana well. I used a whisk, but you can do this in a mixer too.
4. Dump in the dry ingredients and stir/mix until there are no more streaks of flour.
5. Divide batter among loaf pans or muffin tin and bake for:
a) for mini loaf pans: 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
b) for muffin/cupcake pans: 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to continue cooling on wire racks.
7. When completely cool, gently spoon powdered sugar into a wire mesh strainer, and shake the strainer over the loaves to garnish.

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