Thursday, February 5

Mini Muffins Are Huge.

ban cran mini muffins

Americans love all things mini. There are Mini Coopers, mini burgers, mini skirts, mini appliances, mini fragrances, and with the dismal economy, even mini-vacations (which is a euphemism for staying home and renting movies).

Next time you're at the supermarket, take note of how many mini items are available: There are mini water bottles, mini yogurts, mini candy bars, mini buns, and the list goes on. Good luck escaping the ubiquitous mini "100 calorie" snack packs.

So what makes mini so big? My theory is the cuteness factor. I mean, come on, can you get much cuter than a Mini Cooper? And no one would deny that a mini tartlette is cuter than a large one. And think about the first time you saw a mini lipstick tube. You probably said, "Oh, it's so cute!"

(Photo courtesy of autopictures on Flickr creative commons)

There's also a common belief that mini foods are better for you. With portion control built it, most people feel like they're consuming fewer calories and being healthier. Of course, as marketers and most of us already know, that doesn't always work so well.

The reality for many of us is that mini sized foods often translates to: Great! Now I can eat more of them! There was even a study published in The Journal of Consumer Research that showed people tend to consume more food that is packaged in mini sizes since they view it as diet food, and consume less food in traditional large packages because they're concerned about overeating.

ripe bananas 2

So today I've got some Low-Fat Banana, Cranberry, and Honey Mini Muffins, which really are cute and healthy (provided you don't eat six of them in one sitting).

This is also the third recipe in my series on how to use up ripe bananas. Check out the first and second recipes too: Mini Banana Bundt Cakes with Sticky Maple Syrup Glaze and Banana, Oatmeal, and Raisin Cookies. Plus I'll have a final banana recipe next week.

Here's to thinking big by going mini.

ban cran mini muffins pink

Low Fat Banana, Cranberry, and Honey Mini Muffins

Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 regular size muffins
Print recipe only here.

By using half whole wheat flour and mostly egg whites, the fat and cholesterol in these muffins is reduced, while the fiber is increased. Plus antioxidant-rich cranberries and high potassium bananas make these muffins subtly sweet and tangy.


Muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons Smart Balance butter substitute, melted
1 large egg and 4 egg whites
2 small very ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
the zest of one large orange (about 1-2 teaspoons)
1/3 cup (or up to 1/2 cup if you really like cranberry flavor) fresh or frozen, unthawed cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir well.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, vanilla, Smart Balance, and eggs; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the bananas and orange zest and lightly beat until blended (it's okay if it's a little bumpy from the bananas). Add to the flour mixture, mixing on medium-low speed until just combined. Avoid over mixing the batter as it will become heavy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cranberries and pecans.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. If using a mini muffin pan, then bake 13-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. If using a regular size muffin tin, then bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool. (Note: Mini muffin tins come in different sizes; if you have any empty muffin cups once you have poured all of the batter, then just fill them half-way with some water.)

You might also like:

Low-Fat Lemony Medjool Date and Pomegranate Scones




Ginger-y Cranberry Walnut Scones (Heart Healthy & Low Fat!)




Healthy Muffins





OK, these aren't low-fat, but they're worth the splurge:

Michelle's Banana and Nutella Cake
Peter's Banana Muffins with Greek Yogurt Topping and Toasted Coconut
Snooky Doodle's Banana Bread Cupcakes
My Crunchy Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chunk Muffins


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46 comments:

Kara said...

YUM! I have a bunch of fresh cranberries just waiting to be used - I just didn't know this is what they'd be used in. Can't wait to try it!

kellypea said...

This is making me think of the comments I hear people make about eating those bite-sized Snickers. ;)
I'm always on the look out for great muffin recipes and how to use those black bananas, so thanks for this one. It sounds yummy...

Culinarywannabe said...

They are really cute! :) I love mini things because I hate biting into something big and getting crumbs, icing, whathaveyou all over myself.

Nicisme said...

The great thing about mini is that you can have seconds without looking like a pig.
These muffins are adorable, and v. tasty too!

Maria said...

I love all of the flavors in these minis!

Happy cook said...

As it is mini i will have to have atleast 4 of them as they look so delicious.

sunita said...

I love minis too and yours look so adorable :-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Yes, exactly. Mini equal cute. That's what makes mini things so popular!

Your muffins are wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

ames said...

That's what mini-vacations are? I thought that was just called "the weekend" :) If it's a mini-induced cuteness, your voice has to go up a few decibels when you say "cute," which we shall denote with *'s

Ahem. Those honey muffins are sooooooooo *cute*!

Michelle said...

Funny, Americans do love mini things. And then we love supersized things. What about loving normal sized things...!

Chris said...

These look great! I will admit that I often succumb to the mini-means-more mantra (unintentional alliteration!); add in fresh cranberries and pecans and I would probably stop at 10
To maximize the crunchy surface area, I might sprinkle a touch of sugar on the top and cut the honey when I make these :)

Karen said...

So cute! :) I'm trying to imagine what cranberries and banana tastes like. Hmmm, can't do it... guess I'll have to toss some cranberries in next time I make banana bread!

Helene said...

Yes we love mini. They are so cute. Even mini-cupcakes. But it's hard to stop at one.

Cakespy said...

As a child who spent way too much time playing with her dollhouse, a love of all things mini and cute is part of me for life. And now, I'm adding these sweet muffins to the list of things I love!

Peter G said...

LOL! I could easily eat 6 of these!...love the flavour combination Susan.

The Italian Dish said...

You make the healthiest muffins! I've bookmarked this one. Can't wait to make it.

The Food Hunter said...

Those look so cute. Thanks for sharing a low fat recipe. I can use it right about now.

Manggy said...

Hah! Guilty as charged! At least for dessert... Mini-meals thankfully stay that way for me ;) And, because they look so delightfully moreish, I can't promise I'll keep my portion of those muffins down to only six! :P

Corey said...

You have to listen to Jim Gaffigan's bit on mini-muffins. Then I think you will understand the popularity of the mini-muffin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Im9Le9Vy2o

Snooky doodle said...

mini is always cute . these are ideal as a nice small treat problem is how many of these I will gobble in one sitting :) ups! thanks for sharing this yummy recipe .

Simona said...

Such an interesting perspective, Susan. I was reminded by the time I parked my Ford Festiva (a mini car, I guess), next to a Cadillac, twice as long plus some more. The driver, a nice elderly lady, got off her car, looked at mine and exclaimed: "How..., how..., how cute!" Your mini-muffins look great.

elly said...

These sound delicious, and of course they are incredibly cute. Of course we Americans also like to Supersize things...I think we just like food in any way/shape/form/size :)

Cookie said...

One of the best investments I've ever made was buying myself a Mini Muffin Pan from Target! I'm pretty sure I use it about twice as much as I use my normal-sized muffin pan. Your mini muffins are SO cute and how can you go wrong with cranberries pecans? I LOVE the fact that you used fresh/frozen cranberries instead of the dried ones cuz I can NEVER find any good recipes using those!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Now how could I eat just six of those lil' beauties?

heidileon said...

I support all mini stuff since I'm also a "mini" size person (1.58 mts):-)

Anyway, your muffins are BIG in flavor and nutrients!

Ashley said...

These look wonderful!!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love mini muffins -- they are the ultimate in portion control. I use my mini pans for both sweet muffins and mini quiches.

Arfi Binsted said...

How do you know bananas low fat or not? Can you tell from the variety? I think mini muffins are big hehehe

Pip said...

It's true, all mini stuff is cute, and muffins are of course one of those things! These look simply delicious, and... I love cranberries!

BB said...

Haha... I'm for mini skirts and dresses :))

Oh my! These muffins seem so tempting! I love fruity/chunky muffins and cakes. And cranberries are great in this recipe.

Unfortunatelly we don't have fresh cranberries here in Turkey (I guess...) But I'll try this soon (when I lose some weight lol)

Rosie said...

They look wonderful and I'd love to eat two or even three of them *blush* greedy me!!

Rosie x

duodishes said...

You are right. If it's smaller, we want more. We're not ashamed to say so! Thanks for some of the healthier substitutes though. :)

janetfaye said...

Your muffins sound and look delicious!

I don't know why but I love mini-muffins and cupcakes.

Maris said...

These sound really good! I think I have all of the ingredients for these but I don't have mini muffin tins. I'm sure they'd work just as well though if I made regular sized muffins!

Abby said...

And mini cupcakes! I make those and like them best because I can't handle a bunch of sweetness, but one bite is just right.

Those muffins are so cute. I love the dark pink color!

linda said...

I'm a big mini lover, would love some of those little muffins with my tea :)

Lori Lynn said...

Gosh, they are cute! Susan, you are the muffin queen!
LL

Michelle said...

I can so relate to the "mini" culture. When I went on a diet I got bags of mini chocolates with the thought of having 1 a day. Knowing what I'm like I asked my husband to hide the bags from me before I scoff everything down at once. So during happy hour I get my choc every day, but it is so darned small! Is this it?!?! Grrrr....want more.

LeslieVeg said...

These look so good! Thanks for the recipe. I love mini anything! Makes me feel kinds virtuous!
Leslie
LeslieVeg@msn.com

Debbie said...

Hi Susan, Have been visiting your blog for quite a while and it's great..I've passed on an award to you!!! Debbie

Talita said...

So cute these muffins! The flavor of all this ingredients together sounds delicious!

Jude said...

I like mini food stuff because I can somehow trick myself into thinking that I'm eating less.
In reality I'm probably eating more because they're easier to pop in your mouth.

Jeanne said...

Oh, these look too adorable, and yes, how do you turn down a mini anything?? I have some adorable little mini silicone cupcake cases and these would be a great way to christen them :) I also made muffins with cranberries and pecans recently, but they didn't even pretend to be low fat:
http://www.cooksister.com/2009/01/cranberry-orange-and-pecan-muffins-for-wtsim.html

LyB said...

Love the idea of bananas and cranberries together. I would probably eat six or more of these in one sitting, they look just so darn cute and delicious! :)

Max mickle said...

Wow!! that seems to be a great recipe.I love muffins. I will definitely bake a batch this weekend.

ANU said...

My First time here....

These beautiful and healthy muffins brought me here...you have an awesome space and lovely recipes...

Going to make this recipe right now....:-)

do visit my space too...if time permits...
http://anuzhealthykitchen.blogspot.com/

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