Recipe Review: Banana Maple-Walnut Muffins

So if you are lucky enough to have a copy of the lovely Earthbound Farms Organic Cookbook on your shelf, I trust you are consulting it regularly (if not often). I got a copy from my sister’s boyfriend last Christmas. I think he picked it because it has the word “organic” in the title, and if tags existed in real life, my family would probably say mine are “organic”, “cooking”, “mother”, “kitchen”, “from scratch”, and “nutty relative who likes to do things the hard way”. Still, it was a perfect gift. I love it more with each recipe we try. While I prefer to buy my organic and fresh produce locally (as opposed to Earthbound’s “Industrial organic” operation), I do like the company, and this is a pretty good cookbook. The recipes are delicious, well-balanced, and a refreshing look at healthy eating. I can’t think of any of the dishes that would require a trip to the Tofu Tower or the Strange Grains Grocery for ingredients. (Not so with my Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cookbook, which is an excellent compendium but sometimes too tofu-and-kefir for my family’s tastes).

While we’ve tried several Earthbound recipes lately, the most recent was the Banana Maple-Walnut Muffins. I’m not sure who decided to insert the hyphen between Maple and Walnut (as in, why couldn’t they be called “Banana-Maple Walnut Muffins”, or even “Banana-Maple-Walnut Muffins”. Or maybe we could have given the comma a chance to shine and call them “Banana, Maple and Walnut Muffins”. I don’t know.) The only iffy ingredient was the whole wheat pastry flour, which often pops up in recipes trying to be “healthy” but still looking for the texture of that silky, ultra-processed white stuff. Our Really Big Grocery Store does not carry whole wheat pastry flour. They do have a number of other unusual grain flours, but not this basic whole-grain staple. More’s the pity. So I suppose you could “cheat” and substitute all-purpose flour, which I would have done had I not recently been to a Whole Foods recently and purchased some.

Off the subject, slightly: I really hate it when people try a recipe, change some or all of the ingredients, and then review the results. You didn’t make the recipe. You altered it, and then made the revision. That is not an accurate review of the recipe. That doesn’t mean that your alteration (and comments) aren’t useful. But please don’t make a recipe with your own creative license and then try to tell me that the recipe didn’t work. That’s totally unfair, and completely annoying.

Therefore, I can proudly tell you that I made this recipe truly and honestly as it was written, and tasted it, and called it Good.

Quite good.

However, since I did not alter it and make it mine in any way, I don’t think copyright integrity would allow me to post the entire recipe here on my wee little blog. I imagine that the author would prefer you bought her cookbook, or perhaps checked it out at your library, rather than grab the recipe for free here. But I’ll share it with you individually, if you ask me nicely.

Suffice it to say that this is a good recipe. I love the subtle sweetness of these muffins. They are a little denser than I’m used to because of the whole grain flour, but it’s not unpleasant. The walnuts give it a lovely crunch. The bananas- particularly if you mash them coarsely with a fork- give it a yummy flavor and pockets of smooth texture between the grain and nuts. The maple syrup is a beautiful compliment to the other flavors, although with a bottle of real maple syrup going for $10 or more, these muffins can be quite expensive to make. Still, as an occasional treat, I’d make them again. DH even liked them, though he’s not a fan of nuts and would have eaten them more readily without them. The kids were surprisingly cool towards them, but that almost certainly has something to do with the fact that we also baked chocolate chip cookies the very same day. It’s hard to compete with homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Next time, I’ll make these all by themselves. And if I’m still the only one enjoying them, I say: More for me!

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