We compared Krusteaz banana nut muffin mix to its home made counterpart for this week’s Scratch vs. Store bought post.
Banana Nut Muffins
1 1/2 c. flour ($.12 using King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat bought on sale at Thanksgiving)
1/2 c. crushed bran cereal (free with a coupon/sale combo)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt (I’m calling the powder, soda, and salt $.05, but it’s probably less)
1 t. pumpkin pie spice ($.14)
3 mashed bananas ($.06 – I bought 100 overripe bananas for $2.00 last November and froze them for banana bread. We’re stocked for banana muffins for a long while!)
1 t. vanilla ($.21 – organic and fair trade, bought from Frontier Wholesale; also where I bought my pumpkin pie spice)
1 egg ($.17)
1/4 c. milk ($.05)
1/4 c. brown sugar ($.04 – bought on sale at Thanksgiving)
1/2 c. applesauce ($.12 – bought at Grocery Outlet)
1/2 c. walnuts ($.50 – bought on sale at Thanksgiving)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients, including sugar, in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing as little as needed to combine.
For mini-muffins, bake 12-14 minutes. For regular muffins, bake 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
The Cost Breakdown:
Krusteaz Banana Nut Muffin Mix regularly costs $3.99, and includes 2 eggs ($.34) and 1/4 c. oil ($.16) for a total cost of $4.49 for 12 servings, or $.37 per serving. I bought the muffin mix on sale for $2.49. With the eggs and oil, that makes each serving $.25.
The total cost of the home made version was $1.46, or $.12 per serving. If I used full price bananas, it would be $.16 per serving.
The Taste Test:
Krusteaz muffins had an unappealing dry, mealy texture that turned gummy while being chewed. We found it odd to have them so dry and so gummy. Pieces of walnut were present, but not abundant, and not especially flavorful. They are sweet but have an artificial flavor, like the sweetness in Diet Coke. They smell sweet, but not like banana. Mr. Penny thought it had a “white-flour cakiness.” Overall, they were not well received by any of the adult tasters.
The home made muffins, by contrast, were quite moist and had a strong banana flavor without being overly sweet. The larger pieces of walnuts gave a nice crunch and added a distinct walnut flavor. Chunks of real banana were “like a bonus prize” says my taste-testing friend.
The Krusteaz muffins were done before turning golden brown, and had I left them in until they browned, they would have been inedibly dry. The home made muffins were golden on top, and the addition of bran cereal and whole wheat flour made them darker throughout – the color of banana bread, rather than the Krusteaz pale yellow.
Peanut (our 4 year old) liked the Krusteaz better, because the yellow looks like banana and “because I love them!” He doesn’t have a discerning palette, though, and they were ready first.
The Time Factor:
Home made muffins took under ten minute to mix together, including defrosting frozen bananas, pulling out and putting away ingredients. For the huge flavor difference, it’s worth the few extra minutes to mix it yourself.
Ingredients for Krusteaz Banana Nut Muffins: Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Walnut, Dried Banana, Food Starch-Modified, Arabic Gum, Leaving (Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Canola or Soybean Oil, Salt, Emulsifier (Propylene Glycol Monoester, Mono-Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Beta Carotene (Color). (Added egg and oil)
Fat: 3.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 2 grams
Ingredients for homemade banana nut muffins: banana, whole wheat flour, All-Bran cereal, walnuts, applesauce, eggs, milk, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, salt.
Fat: 4 grams
Protein: 4 grams
The home made version is healthier, and made with all real food ingredients. It’s a winner here, too.
Scratch vs. Storebought winner:
Without a doubt, home made wins! It’s more flavorful, healthier, and cheaper. What more could you ask for?
(Special thanks to taste-tester B., who managed to eat a few Krusteaz muffins for comparison without complaint. He left some of the good ones for us to eat later, even though he wanted to spirit them out under his jacket.)
Are there any products you’re curious to see tested? Post Scratch vs. Store Bought requests in the comments!