Sugar. It’s a major buzzword these days because so many of us eat too much of it. Generally speaking, I’m a healthy eater, yet I’m guilty of consuming more than the 25 gram/6 teaspoon daily limit recommended for women. (The lucky guys among us are afforded 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons per day.) So a sweet-tasting recipe with no sugar (and that includes honey, maple syrup, stevia, agave, etc., but not the six or seven chocolate chips I dotted on top) definitely catches my eye.
Luckily, there is a distinction between added sugars and sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. For example, you don’t have to count the naturally occurring sugars in the banana you eat every morning or dairy products like milk and unsweetened yogurt toward your added sugar total. In that vein, the following recipe relies on whole dates for sweetness, and they work beautifully.
I’ve made these muffins many times with lots of variations and, yes, in the pictured batch, I topped them with a modest amount of chocolate chips. Not sugar-free, I know. But I always fall back on what my mom taught me: everything in moderation. I also find that just a few chocolate chips on top－where you can see them and really taste them－go further than a larger quantity stirred it. And it’s often just enough to win over a skeptical child–or adult!
Two other big wins for these muffins include the short list of ingredients and the speedy prep. Pinch of Yum’s original recipe calls for just five ingredients, and the resulting muffins taste really good. But I have found that one extra ingredient－one with some fat in it－creates a better texture.
Fat-free baked goods tend to be rubbery, for lack of a better description, and healthy fats help our bodies absorb important vitamins and minerals anyway. I have made this recipe with a variety of nut butters and full fat yogurt, all with great results. Full fat sour cream can be used, too. (My favorite is the version with double cream yogurt, straight out of the oven. Nut butters produce slightly denser muffins, which are still delicious.)
The blender prep is a breeze and offers an added mess-free benefit. After blending, simply pour the batter into the greased cups. No dripping all over the muffin pan!
The short list of ingredients can be mixed in a nanosecond (ok…maybe a minute or two!) in the blender and then poured into the waiting muffin tin. The ingredient list is short and can be customized in a variety of ways. Healthy and delicious!
Yield: 10-12 muffins
- 2 large eggs
- 3 over-ripe bananas (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups mashed or 10-12 ounces)
- 3/4 cup pitted whole dates* (95-100 grams or 3.3-3.5 ounces once pitted)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups (180 grams) old-fashioned oats
- Optional but recommended: 1/4 cup sour cream or full fat Greek Yogurt (I like Stonyfield’s new Double Cream) OR 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
- Other options: chocolate chips (I just dot a few on top before baking); a pinch oats for sprinkling on each muffin before baking; shredded coconut; raisins; chopped nuts, etc.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a muffin tin.
In the order listed, add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender (could use food processor) and blend until smooth, scraping down the blender sides as needed. If you’d like to add raisins, nuts, or other mix-ins, stir them in after the batter has been blended smooth.1>
Pour the batter into the muffin cups. (You should have enough for 10-12 standard size muffins—the pictured muffins are from a batch of 10.) Top with chocolate chips or a sprinkle of oats if desired.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through the center. (Check on the early side so as not to over-bake.) Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack. Cool completely and store muffins, well wrapped, in the fridge for 3-4 days for maximum freshness.
- *Medjool or other soft dates work best in this recipe. If you need to soften the dates a bit, soak them in some warm water and then drain before putting in the blender.
- Also, when preparing with the basic 5 ingredients, I’ve added 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for a little extra flavor.
Hi. I am wondering if I can use this for a bake sale. They are collecting the baked stuff on a Thurs or Friday and selling it on a Sat. or Sunday. Would this be OK not refrigerated for 2 days max. for this bake sale if I don’t include the yogurt, or would it not be fresh enough? If you don’t think that this is good for the bake sale, do you happen to know of anything else that’s healthy and easy to make that I can do?
Thank you SO much!
The muffins would likely be fine if kept out of the refrigerator for a day or two, even with one of the optional ingredients. The following recipe offers another healthy option, and I have let these sit at room temp for few days. Hhttps://fountainavenuekitchen.com/heart-and-soul-paleo-muffins/. I have a few others if needed!
Thank you so much! You are making a big difference. You are helping my elderly relative stay healthy and now make healthy things for other people to buy at a bake sale! If it is really easy for you to send other healthy options, please do, but if it’s a bother at all, we can do the raisin bread muffins (she wants to make them as mini muffins!) for the sale, now that we know that they won’t go bad. I really appreciate your help. I need to learn how to make healthy desserts FAST, and this recipe has really helped.
Hi. If you leave out the dates, will it still be sweet enough from the bananas?
I haven’t tried without the dates. My concern is that, beyond the sweetness, you would start to lose some structure and the muffins might not turn out as well. The recipe may require some adjustments, so it would be a test.
Thank you. I am just trying to have this with as little sugar as possible for someone who has sugar as a concern. I used raisins instead of dates, but do you have any other ideas for less sugar? I really appreciate your time. This recipe is helping someone a lot.
If you give me some ideas of other things you’d like to make (banana or zucchini bread, for example), I may be able to steer you towards some additional recipes. It’s so thoughtful of you to help!
Hi. Can you please tell me if you can add 1/4 cup greek yogurt AND 1/4 cup almond butter? I am trying to increase the protein as much as possible for someone who is elderly. Can you think of anything else protein wise that would taste good to add, and how much?
Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
I haven’t added both, but I am relatively sure the muffins won’t be a flop if you do. You may need to bake them an extra few minutes, and the texture may not be exactly the same, but I think it’s worth a try. You could also try adding a scoop of protein powder. If you do try, I’d love to know how you make out!
I grease the muffin tin with coconut oil. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a high fat plain yogurt in a small size, and instead of plain I have bought vanilla yogurt with good results. This is one of my favorite recipes.
Thank you for your feedback, Molly, and I’m delighted these are a favorite. I find the yogurt selection varies so much from store to store here, but I can often find plain Fage whole milk yogurt in a small size. Vanilla would likely add a hint of extra flavor though!
These look yummy! I love the ingredients used and can’t wait to make them!
Wonderful! Hope you enjoy!
Love, love, love these! The fact that these muffins taste great with no sugar is going to make these a weekly occurrence in our house. I made them with the sour cream that I had on hand (full fat as recommended) and look forward to trying the various options. But the sour cream version was wonderful!
I’m so happy these will be a regular in your house. Thanks for the great comment!
I’m so making these babies, right up my street xoxo
Yay, Beverley! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Can u use coconut flour
Instead of oats
Coconut flour isn’t proportionately interchangeable with oats, Jo, so I wouldn’t use it here. If I were to experiment with another flour, I’d probably start with almond flour, maybe mixed with a very small amount of coconut flour. Since I haven’t tried I don’t want to steer you wrong, but here’s a recipe with coconut flour that I’ve made many times and really like: https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/coconut-banana-bread-breakfast-cakes/