We are now well into September and the kids, or maybe you, are settled back into school. I have a teen-ager and he is growing like crazy, which means he is hungry most of the time. He also plays a lot of soccer and is often rushing from school to training so he need some quick, healthy, easy to consume and sustaining snacks. He loves muffins, but those often just lead to a carbohydrate crash. I decided to experiment with muffins that include whey protein powder. After several batches, we landed on a version that satisfies, sustains and tastes good!
Baking with protein powder is a bit tricky. It tends to lead to dry, dense, rubbery baked goods. But with a few rules, you can make some tasty treats that will also sustain!
- Do not replace more than ¼ of the volume of flour with protein powder. Replace more than ¼ of flour in a baking recipe and you will likely end up with a puck-like baked good!
- Baking with protein powder requires more moisture. In this recipe I use mashed bananas and Greek yogurt. Applesauce and pumpkin puree will also work, but will change the flavour.
- It takes a little bit of work to hydrate the protein powder, so it should be mixed in with the wet ingredients.
- Because protein powder is denser than usual baking flours, you will likely need to increase the chemical leaveners (baking powder, baking soda) in your recipe. I usually start by adding 50% more baking powder. If your recipe calls for baking powder AND soda, add these two amounts together and add 50% more of baking powder. Baking soda requires an acid to be present to be activated, so adding more soda without adding more acid will not increase your leavening power. This is why we use baking powder, because it only requires moisture to be activated. For example, if your recipe calls for ½ tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of baking powder, you would add ¾ tsp of baking soda (this is 50% of the total leavening 1½ tsp).
- If you are baking a recipe that calls for protein powder, DO NOT replace whey-based protein powder with a vegetable-based protein powder and vise-versa. Different sources of protein absorb liquid differently and set differently when baked. My recipe uses Whey based protein powder.
I have not done a nutritional analysis of these muffins, but the original recipe that I started with had about 20g of protein per muffin. None of the modifications I have done would decrease the protein. In fact I use Greek yogurt to add moisture, so if anything, I have increased the protein levels in the muffins. These are not low-fat or low-calorie, but that is not something I am worried about for my active teen-ager. What they are is a wholesome, sustaining and easy to eat snack for my growing boy! To make them even healthier, substitute the chocolate chips with an equal volume of fresh or frozen berries. You could also make them even more hearty by adding 50g (about ½ cup) of toasted, chopped nuts.
Banana Chocolate-Chip Protein Muffins
Makes 8 muffins
175 g (2/3 cup) over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 medium bananas)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
112 g (½ cup) canola oil
140 g (½ cup) Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla-flavoured
100 g (½ cup) brown sugar, lightly packed
50 g (½ cup) whey protein-powder, plain or vanilla-flavoured
180 g (1½ cup) whole-wheat flour
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
156 g (½ cup) chocolate chips
60 g (½ cup) nuts, toasted, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 8 cups of a muffin tin with paper-liners. In a large bowl whisk together bananas, egg, oil, yogurt, sugar and protein power until well combined. Add whole-wheat flour and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon until almost combined. Add the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, and continue mixing until ingredients are just combined.
Divide batter among lined muffin tip cups and bake until set, approximately, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Store in air-tight container at room temperature or freeze for longer storage.