Real sugar or sugar substitute?
For the most part, I stick with real sugar. (Or, to be more exact, I try to stick with LITTLE real sugar.) Although the lack of calories in sugar substitute is an extremely tempting lure, I cannot shake the feeling that sugar substitutes have some hidden consequences: cancer? paradoxical weight gain? growth of an extra toe? Maybe this concern is because I feel it is too good to be true, or maybe it is the lingering memories of my high school science fair project (that won me a trip to State Science Fair two years in a row and won me a fair amount of prize money) that I conducted in high school over the effects of monosodium glutamate. [YES, I AM A NERD. Always have been, always will be.]
True, MSG is different than sugar substitutes, but it seems to me to fall in the same category. I still remember the horrible effects it had on those poor little daphnia (water fleas) that were the subjects of my study. I will spare you the details. The details should not be included in the same post as food. After all, this post was originally intended to entice you to try your hand at baking some healthy and delicious cinnamon-y banana walnut oat muffins!
However, stevia does seem to be a bit more natural than aspartame, and [hopefully] therefore more safe. I bought a small box out of curiosity. I by no means intend to become a Stevia-Convert, but I decided I could dabble every once in awhile.
I decided to dabble with a trusty banana-oat-walnut-yogurt recipe. It includes so much banana that you can easily taste it, and even find some small pieces of banana in the muffins. I love it, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I also added some ginger in addition to the traditional cinnamon.
4 bananas, ripe
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 c walnuts, chopped
3/4 c non-fat plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 packets stevia
Servings: 22 muffins
Heat oven to 325oF. Sift together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and walnuts in a smaller bowl. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the yogurt, vanilla, eggs, and stevia to the mashed bananas and mix. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour evenly into greased or lined muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly after being inserted into the middle of the muffin. Enjoy!