The secret to moist, naturally sweet tasting muffins is the addition of juice & bananas. :) This is a trick I learned from my paternal grandmother. (She usually chose OJ for hers.) And boy, could she bake!
3 c. oats
1 banana, sliced horizontally & then into quarters
1 c. pomegranate juice
1 c. fresh pomegranate seeds (roughly about 1-2 pomegranates)
1/2 c. pecans &/or walnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger (I personally like to use more ginger for some kick, but adjust accordingly to your own taste.)
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1-2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp orange (or lemon) zest (You can substitute dried lemon or orange peel if you don't have the citrus to make fresh zest.)
1 large egg
Directions: Prepare pomegranate: Score the fresh pomegranates & submerge them, one at a time, in a large bowl of water. Break open pomegranate underwater to free the seeds. The seed sacs (also called arils) will sink to the bottom of the bowl & the membrane will float to the top. Sieve & put the seeds in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup pomegranate seeds & set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining seeds for future use in another recipe.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss all ingredients, except for the pomegranate seeds, into a mixing bowl & mix on a low-speed until ingredients are thoroughly blended. Turn down the mixer speed to the lowest setting & then toss in pomegranate seeds. Mix only until the pomegranate seeds have distributed evenly, which should take less than a minute or so. Do not over-mix or mix on higher speeds as the softer fruits (i.e., pomegranate seeds) are likely to burst; this recipe tastes better when the arils of the pomegranate are consumed whole.
Pour mixture into greased pan, sheet-cake style pan, or bread loaf pan. Cook for 25-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
Chef's Notes: Depending on the thickness & height of your muffin mixture, & also your elevation level, the muffins may take more or less time to bake. To be on the safe side, continually check the oven while the mixture is baking to ensure your muffins/bars don't burn. Test occasionally with a toothpick or fork to see if it's ready; if the utensil comes out clean, i.e., without any ingredients stuck to it, you know it's probably ready. You can also cut into it with a knife to check its progress.
If you are using muffin pans, make sure to remove the muffins soon after cooking, so they don't stick to pan. (Believe me, I've made this mistake before; you don't want to have to employ a large catapult to heave out the ingredients, or be scraping out the pan until next Tuesday.)
Loaf or sheet cake pan users can make/cut up breakfast-bar-sized portions (i.e., that's about 2 oz. for a snack, or 4 oz. for breakfast).
When I make this recipe in large amounts, I usually bake it in a sheet cake pan, cut it up into bars, & just leave it in the frig (covered with plastic wrap or foil) to nibble on whenever breakfast or snack time rolls around.
Let me know how your version of this recipe turns out! Would love to hear what other ingredients you've tried using for muffins or banana-bread type recipes. I look forward to hearing your comments & suggestions! Thanks & Bon Appétit!