Behold! The Golden Muffin! Glowing in the morning sun! Ever-ready to bring fiber, flavour and sustenance to the masses. Standard-bearer for the forces of breakfast, fighting against the apathy of sickeningly sweet pop tarts, diet colas in the car on the way to work, and the greasy, cold, post-meeting doughnut. I hail thee as my snack saviour, picking me up at ten in the morning or three in the afternoon, perfect plain or toasted, warm or cold. Thanks to thee, Golden Muffin, I can blithely turn my back on those tarted up monster cupcakes in the break-room, and enjoy a tastier treat by far: a sweet, but flavorful muffin packed full of banana and spices, candied ginger and dates. Who needs Au Bon Pain with you around? Today I take a stand and say "not I!".
5 Spice Muffins (with dates, crystallized ginger and bananas)
This recipe makes 11 muffins-not quite the round number I was looking for but that is how many it makes. Each one is about 167 calories, or 1839 calories for the whole recipe. There is no added sugar in the ingredients list because the dates and the candied ginger, which is cooked in a sugar syrup, add more than enough sweetness to the muffins.
1-3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (may substitute all purpose flour)
1-1/2 tsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola, sunflower or grape seed oil
1/4 cup egg white (about one large egg white)
1/2 cup 1% or other low fat/fat free milk
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2-1/2 ounces or about 1/3 cup of finely chopped dates (I like medjool dates best because they are more moist)
1 ounce of candied ginger, finely chopped (a heaping 1/4 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a muffin tin. Mash the bananas and add the egg white, oil, milk and chopped dates.
2. Stir together the flour, soda, baking powder and spices and salt in a bowl. Add the finely chopped candied (also called crystallized) ginger and stir so the flour coats and separates each piece. You will notice that there is NO SUGAR in this recipe. This is not a typo. The crystallized ginger, the bananas and the dates add more than enough sweetness to these muffins, making extra sugar unnecessary.
3. Stir the wet mixture into the dry and mix swiftly to combine. Don't over mix, just make sure that everything is just blended together and then fill each tin 2/3 full of batter. Bake for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the muffins during the last 10 minutes, as they may be ready sooner in your oven.
4. Let the muffins cool completely before storing in a Ziploc bag with a sheet of paper towel. Make sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing it and the muffins will keep fine this way for several days. After that, move the Ziploc to the freezer where they can be stored for several months.