Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins

A naturally sweetened whole grain muffin full of bananas, dates, and toasted pecans.  Guaranteed to give you a Personal Record if you eat one the morning before your first half marathon.

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
3 large ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/8 to 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Spice (or cinnamon/nutmeg combination)
1 cup finely chopped dates (the finer the better, this distributes the sweetness more evenly)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and a dry skillet over medium heat.  Toast pecans in skillet until fragrant, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Spray a 12-hole muffin tin or line with papers.
In a large bowl, thoroughly combine bananas, egg, oil and vanilla and buttermilk (start with 1/8 cup).  Dump dry ingredients on top and mix slightly.  If it looks really dry, add another 1/8 cup buttermilk.  Dump toasted pecans and dates into bowl and mix gently until just combined. 
Scoop** into prepared muffin pan.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack until completely cool.

**My scoop holds 3 Tablespoons (1 ½ ounces) by volume, though the muffin batter is mounded in the scoop so I'm pretty sure I'm putting a good 3 ½ to 4 Tablespoons into each muffin well.  The muffin wells in my regular muffin pans each hold 3 ounces by volume.

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins


Why did I change things up and start with the recipe?  Because, my subtitle for these muffins would be Marathon Muffins, and I'm not really sure if the majority of folks coming to check it out are interested in the back story.  So recipe first, writing second today.

Banana Date Pecan No Sugar Muffins


What did you do over the weekend?  Kick back, relax?  Me, I went for a stroll on a rainy Saturday morning.  A 13.1 mile stroll (plus a good half mile to/from the event itself).  Yes, I walked (no running, thanksverymuch) the USAF Half Marathon, and I'm here to tell you that these muffins enabled me to have my Personal Best Time.  Apparently all that dog walking and milk lugging over the past 6-7 months paid off.
I should probably point out that this was my first rodeo half marathon, so any time would be a Personal Record, but I'll credit the muffins anyway.
These banana pecan date muffins contain nothing besides the sweet ripe fruit to make them delicious.  The morning before the race/stroll I grabbed one, broke it in half, smeared peanut butter on half, and choked it down ate it.  [I was nervous, and the PB kinda glued my mouth shut.]  I'm not much of a breakfast eater the first few hours I'm awake, so I saved the second half of muffin.  It was delicious by the time I finally got back to the car.  And the next day the muffins were even better, as baked goods containing bananas and nuts often are.  Try this plain, with peanut butter, before walking a half marathon, as an after school snack.  It's up to you--but remember the Personal Record guarantee.  I stand behind it!

USAF Half Marathon Finisher
Yes, I have 2 bibs and 2 medals--the spouse walked his half marathon, bibless on a treadmill, in his exotic foreign locale and I wore his bib underneath mine so he'd get credit for his efforts. I was a second faster, though, under 3 and a quarter hours!  We earned those beers . . . that I drank for the both of us.

This recipe is shared with the Clever Chicks Blog HopWednesday Fresh Foods Link Up and What's Cookin' WednesdayWhat's In The BoxFood on Friday (twice) and From The Farm Blog Hop

22 comments:

  1. These look wonderful! Everyone is using dates these days.. I have got to get on the bandwagon, I am very curious about how they taste. Walking is actually better for you than running, not so hard on bones/joints. Good for you!

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    1. Sherri,
      Dates taste nearly like pure sugar to me, perhaps with a slight molasses hint? I've got a big bucket from Costco on the counter and we keep snagging one or two as we walk by.
      My joints feel completely fine post event. My muscles? Sore! But the joints they are attached to are doing great.
      Thanks!

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  2. YUM :) I love anything with dates!!! Thanks for sharing. I'm pinning to make these, because I'm looking for sugar-free recipes :)

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    1. Lisa,
      I admit my first sugar free muffin recipe was an oversight, but after I realized that it wasn't the end of the world to make a muffin without sugar, I decided to experiment. This is the first time I haven't used any sweetener of any kind (other than the fruit in it's natural form). It won't be the last, though!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. So very proud of you, Kir! And it brings tears to my eyes -- and a certain tough Marine’s as well -- that The Spouse did half while deployed while you did half while guarding the home front. THAT is partnership.

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    1. Aww, Alanna you are sweet! It made my friend Debbie laugh, a lot, to picture me holding his bib out behind me as I crossed the finish line (you know, so I was first ;) I'd like to think he'd want it that way.
      Thanks!

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  4. I am in awe of your half-marathon success! Go, Kirsten! Good for you for you for doing it! I think the longest I have even walked has been about 6 miles. Not sure I want to do any more. :) And yay for a muffin recipe with no extra sugar. Bananas and dates are so sweet. And in a way, so are pecans. Yum!
    Sarah

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    1. Sarah,
      Shucks, I'm in awe of the folks who 1) ran the thing, and 2) ran double the distance for a full marathon! I was worried about being able to do the distance, so a few weeks earlier I did what I'm calling the HouseSpouseTriHalfMarathon. I started a load of laundry, walked the dog 5 miles, came home/dropped off dog/flipped laundry, walked 6 miles, came home/flipped laundry/picked up dog, walked a mile to the grocery store, bought a gallon of milk, and walked the 13th mile home with a gallon of milk and a dog. I figured if I could survive that, then merely walking, all by myself, was doable.
      And it was! In the past few days, though, I think I've only walked 3 miles in a row.
      Thanks!

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  5. Congratulations on your half marathon!! And that is so sweet that your hubby walked it on a treadmill too, since he couldn't be there in person. Love it! These muffins look great. Anything banana baked good is certain to be terrific, and I'm sure the addition of dates is great. I love baking with dates, though I do not just eat them straight up.

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    1. Julie,
      Thanks! I was glad that, due to the time difference, he was at work while I was walking. I was able to send him photos and updates during the event.
      I've been so slack this week that their are more bananas perfect for baking--time to get busy!

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  6. Congratulations on your first half marathon - that is awesome! And these muffins look SO good - so glad they brought you a personal best time. =)

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  7. Muffins first. Story second. I am all thrown off, and I'm extremely excited for your first half marathon. Congratulations!! You did awesome and I absolutely hold the muffin responsible...well that and your evening dog walks lugging a gallon of milk. Those certainly didn't hurt.
    The muffins sound really good and I have just a tiny bit of buttermilk left in the fridge so I now I just need to let some bananas ripen.

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    1. Meghan,
      If you have a tiny bit of buttermilk and no bananas, may I recommend Lydia's Roasted Green Beans and Potatoes with Creamy Sesame Dressing? Here's the link. http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2013/09/recipe-for-roasted-green-beans-and-potatoes-with-creamy-sesame-dressing.html It's delicious--and I made a beet and barley salad with the extra dressing which is also pretty tasty.

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  8. Ooh, yum! I just bought a whole bunch of pecans, I LOVE the banana pecan combination. I should make this!

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    1. Cathleen,
      Lucky you! I never seem to have enough nuts in my life.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. Yummy muffins and WAY TO GO ON THE HALF MARATHON! Does it count as a full one if you wore two bibs??

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  10. Yummy muffins and WAY TO GO ON THE HALF MARATHON! Does it count as a full one if you wore two bibs??

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    1. Sharlea,
      Oh, I wish it would count! I can't imagine walking for more than 6 hours in one swoop, so I suppose 2 bibs is the closest I'll get to a full.
      Thanks!

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  11. My hero! I am always on the lookout for muffin recipes without the added sugar. And with the addition of bananas and dates, I am sure these muffins were deliciously sweet :)

    Thanks for sharing and linking up!

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    1. Heather,
      I'm thinking I should go crazy and make super sweet dessert muffins, but then my kids would think I'd been abducted by aliens and replaced by some strange sugar-using mom, so perhaps I should stick with what I know.
      Thanks for hosting!

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  12. I've just discovered your blog and really love it. Beautiful photos and delicious looking recipes.

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