Monday 21 September 2015

Pistachio, Honey and Banana Muffins (sugar free!!)

It seems to me that everyone is trying to cut down on their sugar intake this year and I'm not surprised after watching the recent 'Jamie's Sugar Rush' programme. It's shocking how much sugar is added to our store bought foods - most of the time without us even knowing! ( Sorry didn't intend to use that much sibilance there, must be the english language student within me.) Anyway, my tastebuds and no doubt yours too are now accustomed to foods that are packed full of sugar and so of course we are naturally going to miss it if it's taken away.

I'm suddenly a lot more aware of how much sugar I'm consuming on a daily basis and I feel although I'm not planning to lose any weight, it can surely only be a good thing for my teeth, skin and overall health if I cut it down every now and then (well at least try where I can...)

As a (mostly) dessert blogger it can be a struggle for me to do this. I LOVE cake. And as we all know cake needs sugar. That means in order to make it sugar free we need a replacement. There's now lots of alternatives out there but I've never really been drawn to those mysterious sweetener substitutes... Stevia being one - you get the gist. I know that honey will have natural sugars but hey ho it still contains antimicrobial properties and causes less of an increase in the blood glucose levels. I'll have some of that please! 

The banana is also there to give the muffins their natural sweetness and I thought the pistachios would be a good edition to give it some crunch plus they have some great health benefits too (high amount of protein, fibre and heart friendly). What's there not to love?!

I enjoy the warm, citrusy spice that you get from cardamom which goes nicely alongside the banana's creamy sweetness but you can omit it if you prefer. I recommend using a strong pure natural honey because it saves you using too much and the quantities below match just this. Oh and by the way...if your banana is not very ripe then their natural sweetness will not be as strong. And it's bloody hard to mash them up too. 

Just a heads up, the muffins are really moist, contributed by the honey and banana. You can leave out the frosting which is simply cream cheese flavoured with yes, you guessed it. More honey. But I think the muffins go really nice with it. Just saying. Well I would since it's my recipe. If you don't have pistachios you could replace them with walnuts or brazil nuts. 

These muffins are perfect for breakfast and the banana will help to boost your metabolism and provide you with energy for the day ahead. 

Sugar  Free  Pistachio,  Honey  and  Banana  Muffins 


275g plain  flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ ground nutmeg
¼ ground ginger
4 cardamon pods
2 large ripe bananas
55g butter
110g honey
1 egg
240ml milk
50g pistachios

For the frosting:
150g full fat cream cheese
2 tsp honey
40g pistachios to decorate


Preheat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F / gas 4. Line a 12 hole standard muffin tray with paper cases. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, ginger and crushed seeds from the cardamom pods together. 

In another bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy and then add to this mashed bananas, honey and egg. Mix well and then pour in the milk. Mix again until well blended.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Chop the pistachios into small pieces and add to the mix, then with a wooden spoon or spatula mix until all is just incorporated. The banana and pistachio can often leave little lumps which is fine. 

Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and when a skewer is inserted comes out clean. 

While the muffins are cooling on a wire rack it's time to make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy then add the honey, you may want to add a little at a time so you can adjust the sweetness, also depending on how strong the honey is in strength. I prefer 2 tsp. Beat the honey into the cream cheese until thoroughly blended and keep in the fridge until using. 

Chop the pistachios for decoration and then once the muffins are cold spread a little frosting over each and sprinkle over some chopped pistachios. 

The muffins freeze well without the frosting on! 

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