Can you have too many banana muffin recipes?…Are there enough hours in the day?
I love banana muffins, and baking with bananas. The possibilities seem endless when it comes to the combinations of ingredients and different flavours you can try and experiment with. There are times like today when I swing toward healthier ideas, and others when I am all to ready to make something more indulgent.
Today’s muffins incorporate a hugely popular ingredient that seems to be all the rage at the moment- quinoa! I had only ever used this ingredient in savoury dishes and so I was intrigued by the use of it in baked goods. You’re going to cook the quinoa just like you normally would before mixing it into the muffin batter, because you don’t want to end up with little quinoa pellets all through your muffins.
The dates get taken up a notch by simmering them in rum- why use regular dates when you can use rum-soaked ones! It takes only 10 minutes to whip up some of these tasty nuggets, and they really do add a nice touch of sweetness to the muffins.
There is no added sugar in these muffins, instead you’re going to use agave syrup to sweeten them up. Ripe bananas have a lot of natural sweetness so you don’t need to add too much. You could also try using honey instead if you’d rather, or you don’t have any agave syrup on hand.
The result is a muffin that is denser than a regular muffin, but packed with loads of nutrition and protein from the quinoa, and filled with flavour from the added cinnamon, rum-soaked dates, and sweet ripe bananas.
Banana Quinoa Muffins with Rum-Soaked Dates
1/2 cup dates, chopped
2 Tbsp each of water and dark rum
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk (I used almond, but cow or soy would also work)
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
For the Dates: Place dates, 2 Tbsp water, and 2 Tbsp rum in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
For the Quinoa: Place quinoa and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Fluff with a spoon or fork, and then allow to cool completely.
Preheat your oven to 35o degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.
Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat together the oil, agave, and egg until thoroughly blended. Stir in the mashed bananas and mix well to combine.
Add the flour mixture and stir well to blend. When it is half-way mixed in add your dates so they get get slightly coated with flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin. Gently fold in the cooked quinoa until fully incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin, dividing evenly, and then place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Muffins will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Yield: 1 dozen