Let me start by saying my expectations for banana nut muffins are very high. I have always said my mom makes THE best banana muffins in the world. The. World. They are so moist they practically melt in your mouth, and she always makes them into mini muffins which makes them even more delectable. Yum. There aren’t any pieces of nuts. I guess she grinds them pretty fine so you still get the flavor of the nuts, but with the capability of warm melty-ness in your mouth. So you get the picture. I’m in love with them. For that reason, I’ve never attempted banana nut muffins. If perfection has already been attained, why try to top it? Well, I don’t know her ingredients, but I’m guessing she uses white flour. That calls for an attempt at “healthier” banana nut muffins on my part.
At this time I don’t even have all-purpose flour in my house. I used the last of what I had and haven’t bought more. If it’s here I’ll just be tempted to use it. If it’s not adding any nutritional benefit to my life, I don’t need to be using it in my cooking. I eat enough white breads and such when eating out or at other people’s houses. I can skip it at home. So I went on the hunt for a whole wheat banana nut muffin, but really was not looking forward to the flavor and consistency of a whole wheat muffin. I looked at a dozen or so recipes online and finally decided to just create my own. I stumbled upon one recipe that used half whole wheat flour and half oats (ground in a food processor). I knew this was my ticket to a lighter, fluffier muffin. Enter Lisa’s Banana Nut Muffin.
I also knew I wanted to use yogurt in my muffin, and I decided on brown sugar instead of honey or maple syrup, because I’m low on both of the latter ingredients. And while a natural sugar is better for you, in the end sugar is sugar is sugar. I did use less than most recipes called for, and my muffin didn’t suffer in sweetness at all. Perhaps, due to my bananas. I had pretty much completely brown bananas – not spotted brown – like almost black. I peeled them and stuck them in the freezer earlier in the week. This morning I took them out and let them thaw on my cutting board in their Ziploc bag. When I put them in my mixing bowl I included the liquid that was in the sandwich bag from defrosting. I figure there’s lots of flavor and sweetness in the liquid that I don’t want to pour down the drain. A few other things I added for nutritional benefit but are totally optional: Flaxseed Meal and Nutritional Yeast. Those 2 things are good for you, but also, they supposedly (along with the oats) help increase milk supply. So I guess you could call these lactation muffins haha. Don’t worry. You won’t start lactating if you eat these ;) Side note: There is an old wives tale that you can increase your milk supply by drinking beer, hence the brewer’s yeast that most lactation cookies call for. Enough with the bunny trails…
The verdict is in: These muffins are holy dang good. And I told you the bar was set high by my momma’s muffins. These are so moist and light and fluffy with a sugary crust on top. If you’ve read about my Spelt Pumpkin Muffins, you know how I feel about toppings on a muffin :) Josh tried them and said, “Wow! These are really good. You should put this recipe on your blog. Especially, since it’s your own.” I said, “Yep, I’m already writing the post.” :)
I believe you could make these gluten-free as well. I used 1 cup of oats and half a cup of whole wheat flour. I’m guessing you could use all gluten-free oats. Someone let me know if there are any other ingredients that would affect the gluten-free deal. I don’t know too much about it. You could also probably buy an oat flour instead of grinding them yourself.
Banana Nut Muffin Recipe makes 12 muffins
1 c oats
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 T flaxseed meal (optional)
1 T nutritional yeast (extremely optional)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas (and their juice if using defrosted bananas)
1 large egg
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c plain whole milk yogurt
2 t vanilla extract
Turbinado or raw sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put just the oats in a food processor and turn on for 1-2 minutes until they reach the consistency of flour.
3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the food processor (except nuts). Pulse a few times to mix all dry ingredients.
4. In a stand mixer add 2 bananas and their liquid from thawing. Stir on low to medium speed for about 1 minute until broken down. (It might look like there are still some lumps. That’s OK).
5. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix on low to medium speed. (I mixed after adding each ingredient)
6. Add dry ingredients, including nuts, to the wet ingredients and stir on low speed, but stop before flour is fully incorporated. You don’t want to over mix whole wheat flour (it becomes dense) so finish mixing with a spatula. It just helps to get it started in the mixer.
7. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray – I dislike muffins that stick to the liners. It means less muffin gets into my belly. (I used coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s).
8. Spoon batter into muffin tin about 2/3 full and top with a liberal sprinkle of turbinado sugar.
9. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean when inserted.
10. Allow muffins to cool as long as you can stand it before devouring them.