Ok, so I've made Banana Muffins before... But, I wanted to make these a little more nutritious, so I put a little spin on my original muffin recipe (see April 3rd post). These ones have a little bit of shredded carrot (I like to sneak in some veggies in my sweets), and another special ingredient that makes these even yummier than the regular banana muffins! My husband and son think so too! :) Enjoy!
1 package (8 oz.) Cream Cheese or Neufchatel, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (or 1/4 cup agave nectar)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup shredded carrot (I like to squeeze out the excess liquid from the shredded carrots using paper towels)
Zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
2-1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat cream cheese, sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add banana, eggs, carrot, orange zest and orange juice; mix well.
Add combined dry ingredients; mix until moistened. Pour into greased and floured, or paper-cup lined muffin trays, about 2/3 full.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean (mine took about 30 min). Cool 5 minutes; remove muffins from tray. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve and enjoy! Makes about 16 to 20 muffins.
Note: If you would like to add nuts, you can stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts (or any chopped nut you prefer) after the dry ingredients have been mixed. If you would like to make this as a loaf of bread, pour mixture into greased and floured 9x5-inch loaf pan, and bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. You can also add 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal to the mixture for an extra boost of Omega 3! :)