Banana & Pecan Muffins
If I told my younger self that I would eat bananas someday, she would think I’m being a bit crazy. I used to absolutely HATE bananas. Just the thought of having to touch one, or even worse, open one and be subject to its smell, would make me gag. Although I’m not quite at the point where I can unwrap a banana and eat it just as it is, I am a big fan of including this magnificent fruit in many different recipes. I love mashing banana and adding it to a hot bowl of oats, along with cinnamon, vanilla, and nuts. Bananas make smoothies super creamy, and they add moisture and natural sweetness to baked products, so they are the perfect ingredient to include in muffins, cookies, or breakfast flapjacks (my recipe for the last item on that list should be on its way to the blog soon).
Banana bread is one of my favorite things to bake. Making it in a muffin form is pretty great for helping with portion control :) My tummy doesn’t like wheat very much, so pretty much all of the foods I bake have to be wheat-free. This recipe makes use of coconut flour, which can be quite a tricky substitute to use as it absorbs up to four times as much water as regular flour, but after a bit of experimenting, I managed to get the ratio correct for these muffins. These are the best afternoon snack, especially when topped with a teaspoon of nut butter or tahini (which is basically sesame seed 'butter') and accompanied by a nice cup of tea.
Bananas are nature’s most amazing packaged fruit. Bananas don't actually grow on trees, but on plants that are actually classified as the world's largest herb. Bananas are generally picked when they are still green and begin to ripen during transportation, storage, and when on display in the shops. When purchasing bananas, base your choice on when you intend to consume them. Green bananas will take longer to ripen than those that are yellow. Bananas should be allowed to ripen at room temperature, as putting them in the fridge can halt the ripening process entirely. Should you wish to speed up the ripening process, add bananas to a paper bag along with an apple, and allow to sit for a day or two.
Bananas are a great source of potassium, which is essential for proper nerve and muscle function, which includes cardiac muscle function . Potassium also plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure . One medium-sized banana contains approximately 3 g of fibre, which plays an important role in regulating and maintaining regular bowel function, preventing constipation, and helping you feel fuller for longer . Make sure to eat ripe bananas though, as unripe bananas contain ‘resistant’ starch, which can’t be digested in the body properly and often ends up being fermented by bacteria in the colon, resulting in gas and bloating .
Bananas are a great energy-boosting food. They contain carbohydrates in the form of fast-releasing sugars that your body is able to use for energy, making them especially beneficial as a pre- or post-workout snack . Having mentioned this, I can’t fail to mention that although they are a great source of potassium, energy, fibre, and more, bananas are not the best choice for some people, including those with insulin resistance or diabetes. Because of the fact that bananas contain quite a significant amount of natural sugars and carbohydrates in the absence of fats and proteins, they are able to quickly spike blood sugar levels, and thus have a high glycaemic index . If you are a diabetic, struggle with insulin sensitivity, or have trouble managing your blood sugar levels, it might be a better idea to stay away from bananas, but if you are an active, otherwise healthy individual, don’t be afraid to add them to your diet. For a whole lot more banana info, check out this page. For some really random facts about bananas, check out this website :)
Coconut flour is a great gluten-free, low-carbohydrate flour that can be used in many different baked goods. Not only is it high in fibre, good healthy fats, and protein, but it is relatively low in total calories and has a low glycaemic index . It also gives baked products a subtle ‘coconutty’ taste, which adds a yummy dimension to their taste. How is it made? Well coconut flour is simply dried, ground coconut meat (that’s the white stuff attached to the inside of a coconut’s hard outer shell). Why exactly is coconut flour such so tricky to work with, often ending up in a very dry product? As mentioned earlier, coconut flour absorbs a whole lot of liquid, and it does this because of its very high fibre content. Here’s a bit of a comparison between coconut flour and typical refined white flour to put the nutrient profile of coconut flour into perspective .
2 Tbsp coconut flour
5 g fat
8 g carbohydrates (all from fibre)
1 g sugar
4 g protein
2 Tbsp refined white flour
0 g fat
5 g carbohydrates (0 from fibre)
0 g sugar
1 g protein
As you can see, coconut flour has a lot to offer. It is high in nutrients, high in fibre, and is very unlikely to cause any digestive or autoimmune responses like many other grain flours . If you’re interested in reading up about the benefits of coconut in relation to health promotion and disease prevention take some time to read this study.
Makes 12 muffins
Total time: 1h 30min
400 g (very) ripe bananas
6 large eggs
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla paste/extract/powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup chia seeds (see notes)
Set your oven to preheat on 160 degrees C (150 degrees C for a fan-forced oven).
Place the bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecan nuts, coconut oil, and baking powder in your food processor or blender. Blend until well combined.
Add the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through by hand. Allow the mixture to rest for at least 15 minutes to allow the coconut flour and chia seeds to absorb moisture.
Lightly oil a muffin pan that can make 12 muffins and line with baking paper Divide the muffin batter between the muffin tins, top with some chopped pecan nuts, and place in the oven.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out of the centre clean. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. Store in the fridge (not at ambient temperature) for up to 1 week.
The 1/4 cup chia seeds can be replaced with 1/8 cup chia seeds and 1/8 cup ground flaxseeds to decrease the overall cost of the recipe.
I generally use a silicone muffin 'pan' that is lightly oiled so that I don't need to use baking paper in each of the muffin holes.
If the muffins are over-browning but are not yet cooked through, cover with tinfoil and continue baking.
 Clasen L, Kramer P, McWhirter A, editors. Food's That Harm, Foods That Heal. 2nd ed. South Africa: Heritage Publishers (Pty) Limited, 2000. 400 p.
 Axe J. Banana Nutrition, Benefits, Concerns & Recipes [Internet]. [cited 31 Aug 2016]. Available from: https://draxe.com/banana-nutrition/
 Axe J. Coconut Flour Nutrition, Benefits & How to Use it! [Internet]. [cited 31 Aug 2016]. Available from: https://draxe.com/coconut-flour-nutrition/
 Hill M. Coconut Flour Crepe-cakes [Internet]. 2013 [cited 31 Aug 2016]. Available from: http://nutritionstripped.com/coconut-flour-crepe-cakes/