If you’re a TV watcher, you’ve probably noticed that there is a Nutella commercial that comes on all.the.time. It’s possible that I have selective hearing/memory for Nutella, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, in the commercial, a mom discusses how difficult it is to get her kids to eat breakfast. Fortunately, (Ta-daa) there’s a solution! Her kiddos happily eat Nutella spread on “multigrain” toast (it’s apparently very important that it’s multigrain), so it basically fixes all her breakfast woes. This makes me laugh every time. Like these sugar-hungry children, I too love Nutella, but allow me to state the obvious, “Dude, you’re feeding your kids chocolate for breakfast, of COURSE they’re eating it!” I mean come on…duh.
This weekend when I saw the commercial, my sarcastic side continued its mockery, yet the much more dominant, Nutella-obsessed side got to thinking that maybe this lady was onto something. Maybe not everything with Nutella needs to be a ridiculous dessert (although there is NOTHING wrong with that). Perhaps a semi-healthy treat can just have a touch of Nutella to make it something special. Channeling Barney Stinson, my mind slowly-yet-proudly stood up and decisively said, “Challenge Accepted.”
Whole Wheat Nutella-Swirled Banana Muffins
Adapted from “Janet’s Rich Banana Bread” on AllRecipes.com
Makes 2 dozen muffins
- 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (I’m sure vanilla would be fine)
- 1/2 cup Nutella, melted in microwave
Combine the flour, baking soda, wheat germ, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the bananas, oil, and sugars until well combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla.
Gradually add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.
Fold in the yogurt.
Heat up the Nutella in the microwave in 30-second increments until it’s a bit runnier than usual. I did about three rounds of nuking. This will make swirling easier.
Add one large spoonful of batter into each muffin liner. Top with a dab (around a teaspoon) of Nutella.
Top with another spoonful of batter so that the cups are 3/4 full. Swirl with a knife to incorporate the Nutella. You want to stir enough to see a little swirl on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are a bit golden and a knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Light, cakey, just enough banana, and a dab of Nutella throughout. Nom.
Do these muffins qualify as health food? Heavens no, don’t be silly. Let’s call them a “better-for-you sweet,” because that sounds more honest. They’re full of fiber from whole wheat flour and wheat germ, which are both conveniently undetectable in taste or texture. The muffins are light, soft, and sweet, without any funky “this must be fibrous” flavor. It’s like a banana chocolate chip muffin on steroids. Nutella steroids.
I’m not going to say that Nutella should be a breakfast staple, but I AM going to tell you that it makes a great mid-afternoon snack…like maybe if you’re waiting for muffins to bake through and you have a spoonful of it just STARING at you. Or something.
While it doesn’t qualify as a health food in my book*, Nutella doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing, crazy amazing/ridiculous dessert (although it SHOULD be sometimes). It can add a perfect deliciousness to, well, just about anything. Even spread on “multigrain” toast, a la Nutella commercial, but why be so boring?
*Note/Admission: I’m not above having a grilled Nutella and almond butter sandwich for dinner. Now that IS health food, for sure. Totally. I do [usually] have it on multigrain toast, you know.