With the French rentrée back-to-school this month, university applications underway and September being Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, I’m (enfin!) posting these Healthy Banana Oat Muffins to give us a naturally sweet and nutty morning boost this Autumn.
What’s the big deal about these muffins? Mon Dieu, they’re not even French.
Unlike our just-as-healthy Breakfast Oat Bran Muffins or Breakfast Oat Cookies, these have absolutely NO ADDED SUGAR in them. Instead they rely heavily on the natural fruit sugars using just an overripe banana and moist, dried fruits with a surprise brazil nut to add le crunch.
Why No Added Sugar Oat Muffins?
Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month
You could say I’ve been even more of a ‘Health Nut’ recently, ever since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in February. It all happened quite by accident: no visible lumps on the neck, no symptoms (no strange change in voice, coughing or trouble swallowing). Instead I saw a new GP last summer for something different since my usual doc was on holiday. He asked questions, then felt my neck and asked me to get a deep lump scanned. Two biopsies later, I was told I had cancer.
The following month saw a dizzying thyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy and 3 tumours removed. Recovery time is fast and my scar is hardly even noticeable. Even after radioactive iodine treatment with a few days of surreal quarantine this summer, it’s all good and, luckily, a cancer that’s easiest to treat with follow-up scans and blood tests every 6 months from now on.
So my unasked-for advice? SEE YOUR DOC if you suspect anything on your neck or just get a contrôle technique once in a while (an MOT is not just for the car). CHECK YOUR NECK!
Keeping Healthy with Not Too Much Sugar
If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth at breakfast, then I urge you to try these. As you know, I’m already extremely sensitive to too much sugar in cakes and French patisserie (too much sugar kills flavour) – and muffins are no exception. In this case, however, I wanted to try making them without any added sugar at all. Instead, they rely heavily on good quality dried fruits and a banana, making them moist and pleasantly naturally sweet.
As I mentioned in my previous post for sesame tuiles, adding some sesame seeds before baking adds a touch of calcium, if you’re looking for that extra boost (we all need calcium but particularly if you have problems or have lost your parathyroid glands).
Healthy Banana Oat Muffins Recipe (No Added Sugar)
Healthy breakfast muffins with no added sugar: just naturally sweetened with banana, moist dried fruits and brazil nuts.
- 1 very ripe banana large
- 100 g (3.5oz) porridge oats medium oats (or oatmeal)
- 100 g (3.5oz) wholemeal flour or mix with plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or pumpkin spice)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 75 g (3oz) dried apricots finely chopped (or prunes)
- 75 g (3oz) sultanas
- 75 ml (3 floz) sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
- 1 organic egg large
- 100 ml (3.5 floz) whole milk
- 9 brazil nuts (if extra large, cut in half)
- 1 tbsp oats for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F; Gas 6. Either grease a muffin tin or line with 9 paper muffin cases.
In a large bowl, mash the banana and gradually stir in the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda. Add the apricots and sultanas, coating in the flour mix. Mix in the oil, egg, and milk until the batter is smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin (or directly into silicone muffin moulds). Fill ¾ of the way up and push in a brazil nut into each muffin centre.
Sprinkle each top with a few porridge oats and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely for about 10 minutes before taking out of the tin.
Delicious served fresh and still warm from the oven, although once cool can be frozen in sealed packs to enjoy defrosted at any time in the next month.
As no sugar at all is added (not even honey or maple syrup), this recipe relies heavily on the banana and DRIED fruits to give it the natural sweetness for breakfast. If you substitute ingredients, ensure that it is just the dried fruits, such as dates, prunes, currants, dried cranberries or blueberries in place of the apricots.
I like to sprinkle sesame seeds on top with the oats before baking, for added calcium.