Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
After making the Blueberry Banana muffins the other day, I was on a roll. Those were probably the best fat-free muffins I have ever made. But………….I wasn’t completely happy with the texture and so I want to play with the recipe a bit to try to improve it. Fat free = rubbery. Like I said, those weren’t really too bad. Steve thinks that they are fine and doesn’t know what I don’t like about them. But you could never pass them off on someone who isn’t dieting. For some reason, we seem to think that, just because we are on a diet, we have to be happy with anything that resembles baking, even if it tastes or feels kind of funny.
OK, so I was on a mission to improve on the recipe. I personally like some fat in cakes and muffins, since it improves both texture and taste. You don’t have to cut out all fat when you are eating healthy (translate: dieting). So, what I did was add back 1/4 cup of oil to the recipe. Most of my regular muffin recipes call for about 1/2 cup of oil or margarine. So, by using 1/4 cup, I cut the fat in half. I used a combination of mashed bananas and plain Greek yogurt to substitute for the oil I left out.
I also used Splenda Brown in place of regular brown sugar. Like fat, I don’t like to replace all the sugar with sugar substitutes. Again, about half Splenda and half sugar seems to turn out best. And something to note is that the company that makes Splenda has figured that out too. Their Splenda Brown is actually half real brown sugar and half Splenda. Again, a winning combination which reduced calories without sacrificing taste or texture. (I use Splenda Brown on my oatmeal too).
Now, in case you are not a fan of using sugar substitutes, that is OK. You can just use regular brown sugar. Yes, I have read lots of the articles about the evils of chemical sugar substitutes. I have read the pros and cons, and while there is some substance to the fears of those who are against their use, I think of myself as a scientist, and I have come to the conclusion that they aren’t all as bad as some would have us believe. Everything is made up of chemicals. Even us. Even real sugar. And real sugar is bad for us too, in so many ways. So, my approach to it is one of moderation. I don’t use a lot of sugar to begin with. I don’t like the old artificial sweeteners that leave a metallic taste on your tongue. Even Equal has so many questions surrounding its safety, I try to avoid it if I can. But I do like Splenda, as it is closest in chemical composition to real sugar, and it tastes good. So, I sometimes use small amounts in my recipes.
I digress. As I was saying, you don’t have to cut out all fat or all sugar from your diet to eat healthy. However, you DO have to watch how many of the darn things that you eat. That’s the problem with trying recipes – you have to have several tastes before you decide if it is good or not. Taste, very yummy! Texture? Excellent! Check and check But wait! I made 14 of the following Strawberry Chocolate Chip muffins, and by the time I decided to put them in the freezer so they didn’t tempt us, there were only 8 left. Hmmm………there are only 2 of us that live here. No, I didn’t take any over to the neighbors. Maybe we have a hungry house elf??
So, enjoy this recipe. I am not allowed to bake any more for the rest of the week. Weigh in is on Saturday. Sigh. I can hear them calling from the freezer…
These yummy muffins have been lightened up by using greek yogurt and mashed banana in place of half of the oil, and by using less sugar. Delicious right from the oven, and even better the next day.
Makes: 14 muffins or 30 mini muffins
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup Splenda Brown*, lightly packed
- 2 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 14 muffin tins with nonstick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in the white and brown sugars, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside. (Note: if you don’t want to use Splenda Brown, use 1/2 cup regular brown sugar)
In a separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add the yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly with a fork to incorporate all the egg.
Dump the diced strawberries and chocolate chips on top on the flour mixture. Then pour the wet ingredients on top. Gently fold it all together, using as few strokes as possible to mix. Batter will be very thick. Do not overmix the batter, or the muffins will be tough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from tins and place on racks to cool completely.
*You can use 1/2 cup brown sugar instead of the 1/4 cup Splenda Brown if you like. Splenda Brown has twice the sweetness of regular brown sugar, which is the reason you would use 1/4 cup Splenda Brown OR 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Here’s a great tip for a quick way to fill mini muffin tins: spoon the batter into a large cake decorating bag. No tip is needed. Use the bag to fill up a 24 count mini muffin tin. (This recipe makes about 30-36 mini muffins, so having a second pan is nice.) Give the pan a few taps on the counter to settle the batter, and bake for about 15 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the doneness after 10 minutes. Don’t bake any longer than needed. Thanks to thekitchenmagpie.com for this tip.