Spiced (and Sugar Free) Banana Nut Muffins

SpicedBananaNutGood day, everyone! I hope you are having a nice week. I have been busy at work, including enjoying a fun project – estimating the economic impact due to the arrival of the royal baby. Analysts expect that this economic impact in the U.K. will be higher than those measured due to the royal wedding or the Queen’s diamond jubilee events because there are no public holidays scheduled, which closed financial markets and establishments, and reduced retail spending. It is estimated that the U.K. should see about a $400 million bump to the economy this summer. The largest boosts will be in industries related to food and drink as well as memorabilia. I know I did my part to stimulate the U.S. economy by buying refreshments for a Royal Baby (Sugar Free) Cupcake Party at my office this week!

In case you are inclined to host your own Royal Baby Tea in the near future – Newman’s Own sells a delicious Royal Tea in a variety of flavors. Scones are delicious and a good idea to include at a Tea – I have recipes online for Millet Raisin, Pear and Oat, and Banana Berry. Muffins can also be a nice addition to a party, and below is a recipe for Spiced Banana Walnut Muffins that I adapted from a July 2009 issue of Oprah Magazine. I substituted the sugar with maple syrup, added brown rice flour in order to reduce the gluten content, and removed the butter by adding canola oil. The result is a light and moist muffin with a unique combination of flavors. For additional spice, add another 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
3 very ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well; set aside.

Put flours, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl; set aside. Put maple syrup and oil into a second large bowl and mix until well combined. Add bananas, applesauce, zest, vanilla, and eggs to the syrup-oil mixture, and mix again until combined. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in three parts, stirring well after each addition; fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared tins; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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