Banana-Bran Muffins

By the end of the week, any bananas left in the fruit bowl are past their prime—just right for these moist bran muffins. Add a handful of dark chocolate chips to entice children to enjoy a fiber-rich tre

 Ingredients2 large eggs⅔ cup packed light brown sugar1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2 medium)1 cup buttermilk, (see Ingredient notes)1 cup unprocessed wheat bran, (see Ingredient notes)¼ cup canola oil1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 cup whole-wheat flou¾ cup all-purpose flour1½ teaspoons baking powder½ teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon ground cinnamon¼ teaspoon salt½ cup chocolate chips, (optiona⅓ cup chopped walnuts, (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, oil and vanilla.Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, if using. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.Ingredient Notes: You can use buttermilk powder in place of fresh buttermilk. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.Unprocessed wheat bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernel, removed during milling. Also known as miller’s bran, it can be found in the baking section. Do not substitute bran cereal in this recipe.DIY Muffin Cups: Make your next batch of muffins or cupcakes the ultimate grab-and-go treat by lining your tin with muffin liners. No liners? No problem. Use 5-inch squares of parchment paper, coat each muffin cup with cooking spray, and push each square into the cups using a small can or bottle, pressing the paper up the sides. (It’s OK if some of the paper is sticking out over the rim.) Fill each cup as directed.

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

The deep flavors of molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg make these wholesome pumpkin cookies delicious without the addition of butter—and they lend themselves beautifully to the inclusion of whole-wheat flour. They are also the perfect texture for a sandwich cookie—fill them with a slightly sweetened cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients ⅔ cup whole-wheat pastry flour⅔ cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder½ teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon ground ginger¼ teaspoon ground allspice¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg2 large eggs¾ cup packed light brown sugar or ⅓ cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking (see Tips)¾ cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree¼ cup canola oil¼ cup dark molasses1 cup raisins

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 baking sheets with cooking spray.Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, brown sugar (or Splenda), pumpkin, oil and molasses in a second bowl until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients and raisins into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.Drop the batter by level tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1½ inches apart.

Bake the cookies until firm to the touch and lightly golden on top, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.Make Ahead Tip: Store cookies in an airtight container, with wax paper between the layers, for up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.Tips: Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains. Find it at large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

In the EatingWell Test Kitchen, sucralose is the only alternative sweetener we test with when we feel the option is appropriate. For nonbaking recipes, we use Splenda Granular (boxed, not in a packet). For baking, we use Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking, a mix of sugar and sucralose. It can be substituted in recipes ( ½ cup of the blend for each

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