Banana Walnut Muffins
I may be the only person who buys bananas with the intention of letting them turn brown and squishy. To me, a banana is nothing more than the jumping off point for moist, nutty loaves of banana bread. Heaping piles of banana muffins. Sweet roasted banana cakes. This whole wheat banana muffin is a portable, travel-sized companion that packs all the punch of it’s larger banana bread alter-ego.
Whole wheat flour works perfectly with banana breads and muffins. It basically acts like a shot in the arm to the already nutty flavor. This recipe is especially moist thanks to the use of yogurt in the place of milk. The toasted walnuts create a sweet level of depth to this unbelievably simple recipe. These muffins are so easy to make that you’ll probably end up trying to speed up the ripening process so that your bananas go bad faster (Hint: Put them in a paper bag with an apple. Does the trick every time.).
Muffins, in general, are ridiculously easy to make. Two bowls. No mixers. Bake. Eat. Pretty simple, right? A word of caution … in order to achieve a light, fluffy muffin (rather than a dense, brick-like object more suitable for throwing than eating) you want to avoid over-mixing the batter. Just stir the wet ingredients into the dry. That’s it. No more. You will likely still see some streaks of flour in the batter. This is ok! You want your muffins to rise, don’t you? Ok, so stop mixing!
If you want to keep this recipe as low-sugar as possible, feel free to substitute Splenda for the sugar and use agave nectar instead of the maple syrup. The yogurt is the key to keeping the muffins moist. I used lowfat plain yogurt because that’s what I keep around the house, but you could try it with regular or low fat, if you are so inclined. This is a recipe that is begging for experimentation!
Banana Walnut Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
4 cups white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar*
1 tsp salt
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
2 cups (approx. 2 medium) bananas, very ripe and smashed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 TBL unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin or use cupcake/muffin liners.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the walnuts and the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and baking powder). Reserve the remaining 1/3 cup walnuts for the tops of the muffins.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, maple syrup/agave nectar and melted butter. Mix in the bananas.
- In the bowl of dry ingredients, use a spatula or wooden spoon to create a large hole or well in the center. Pour the wet ingredients into the hole.
- Stir and fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stop mixing as soon as the dry ingredients are completely moistened. Be careful not to overmix. It is ok to have some streaks of flour running through the batter. The batter will be thick and a bit lumpy.
- Using two spoons or a large ice cream scoop, fill the muffin tins with the batter. Fill up to the top if you want large, coffee shop-style muffins, otherwise fill the tins only 3/4 full. Top with the reserved walnuts.
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from tin.
- Serve immediately or store for up to 3-4 days. Serve warmed or at room temperature.
Loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything