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Banana Nut Muffins

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These banana nut muffins are tender and fluffy with big banana flavor. They’re the ideal partner for your morning cup of coffee and a great way to get your family’s day started!

There’s a certain type of Mom that I want to be. But I’m just not. I really want to be that Mom, the one who’s in the kitchen before everyone else is awake, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (ok, I may be a bit bushy-tailed, granted), with a big smile on my face and a hot breakfast on the stove.

But I’m just not. I’m a bit, ahem, tetchy, we’ll say, in the morning. And it’s dangerous to try and cook when your eyes are still closed. Things get cut and burned that way. So what’s a girl to do when she wants to be that Mom and still avoid harming herself or anyone else?

A girl makes muffins.

Muffins are the key, folks. They’re the whole secret. I can spend 10 minutes the night before, pop the pan in the oven in the morning (see, no open flames!), and let them go while I do all of the other morning things. Then my sons get muffins and I get their endless adoration. And everyone is happy.

All things banana are beloved in my house. My one son will, I kid you not, lobby his father and brother to never eat the last 3 bananas. When we get close to the minimum for banana muffins or banana bread, he goes around telling the others, “don’t eat the bananas!” Thus guaranteeing a supply of overripe bananas for me and victory for him.

Why These Banana Nut Muffins?

Banana nut muffins are a favorite here. They do really taste like bananas. This isn’t like carrot cake or zucchini bread, you’re going to taste banana. And the nuts give both texture and flavor here. In order to ramp up that nutty flavor, the recipe calls for both toasting the chopped nuts and for browning the butter used for the batter. In addition to great flavor, these muffins have a nice crunch on the top from a sprinkle of coarse sugar and a tender, fluffy texture.

These muffins come together very quickly. It’s only a couple of steps, and you don’t need a mixer. In fact, I’m going to argue that you’re better off without one! Muffins are a quick bread. The worst thing you can do to them is overmix the batter, and that is very easy to do with a mixer. Also, I really like to leave the bananas a bit chunky when I mash them instead of going all the way to a smooth consistency. I like the little pieces of banana in the muffins.

If you’re a fan of bananas, give these Banana Nut Muffins a try!

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter – Unsalted butter, please. We are going to brown the butter in this recipe. When you brown butter, the milk solids it contains toast in the butterfat and develop a rich, nutty flavor. That extra flavor boost will amplify the flavor from your chopped nuts and help balance it against the banana.
  • Nuts – Yes, you can absolutely leave the nuts out and just make banana muffins. If you have an allergy to nuts or don’t have any in the pantry or just prefer to not include nuts in your muffins, feel free. The recipe will work just fine without them. The type of nuts is up to you. Walnuts and pecans are both traditional, macadamias are fantastic, even cashews are great in these. I typically avoid almonds for these muffins, but that’s primarily because I don’t really like almonds. If you do, have at it! We are going to toast the chopped nuts in a dry pan, also to boost the nutty flavor they bring to the muffins.
  • Bananas – 3-4 very ripe to slightly overripe bananas. You want to see some spotting and browning on the peel and the fruit should be soft. You don’t want the peel to be black and the banana to be liquefying. There are lines.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour is ideal for these muffins. Cake flour is too soft on its own and you won’t get enough structure. Bread flour has too much structure and they won’t be tender.
  • Spices – The recipe calls for cinnamon and nutmeg. You don’t have to use them if you don’t like them. You can add or substitute in mace for nutmeg, or a pinch of cardamom, whatever you like best is good.
  • Sugar – I went with all brown sugar in this recipe because I like the additional depth of flavor brown sugar brings to the table.
  • Egg – 1 egg provides enough protein and binding to provide good structure and texture to the muffins. Please make sure your egg is room temperature because it makes it easier to mix into the other wet ingredients.
banana nut muffins closeup

How to Make Banana Nut Muffins

  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Prepare your muffin pan – Either spray your pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. You can use either a standard muffin pan for 12 muffins, or a jumbo pan for 6 muffins. The recipe includes baking times for both sizes.

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Brown the butter – Cut the butter up into pieces and melt it over low heat. All of the water in the butter will boil off, and then watch carefully as the milk solids (the white bits at the bottom) toast and turn golden brown. Set aside and let the butter cool slightly.
  • Toast the chopped nuts – Place the chopped nuts in a dry pan and cook, keeping an eye on them, until they start to glisten as the oil is released and the nuts get fragrant. Toasted does not mean browned here! The nuts should pick up little to no color at all. This process bears watching because nuts go from toasted to burned in about as long as it takes to send a text. Why yes, I AM looking at you…
  • Mash the bananas – I really do recommend doing this with a potato masher instead of a mixer. It’s easy, it takes only a minute or two, and you’ll get a nicer texture to the muffins with little bits of banana throughout. A stand mixer will do it faster, but too much of a good thing can happen in there. You aren’t aiming for baby food.
Mashed Bananas

Mix the Batter

  • Dry Ingredients – In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • Wet ingredients – In a separate bowl, combine mashed banana, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, milk, and browned butter. Whisk together thoroughly.
  • Combine wet & dry – Add the dry ingredients and toasted nuts to the wet ingredients. Fold them together just until combined. Yes, I said fold! Overmixing is the enemy of good muffins. Combine the ingredients just until there are no pockets of dry ingredients left. It should be a little lumpy looking. If it looks like cake batter, things have gone badly. The muffins are going to be tough because you’ve developed too much gluten with all of that exercise you gave your spoon and they’re not going to get that nice domed top.
banana nut muffin batter

Bake

  • Fill pans – Scoop batter into muffin tins until each cup is 3/4 full.
  • Top with coarse sugar – If desired, give your muffins a little sprinkle of coarse sugar. It will provide a nice crunch to the top of your muffin, some contrast to that tender, fluffy interior. Not necessary, just a bit more interesting.
banana nut muffin batter panned
  • Bake – 375F for 18-20 minutes for regular size muffins or 28-30 minutes for jumbo, bakery-style muffins. A toothpick will come out clean when they are fully baked.
  • Cool – Leave muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Or not, and just eat them. That’s what we do here. I never get to “cool completely on a wire rack.” I have teenagers and they don’t have that kind of time.

If you are looking for more great breakfast ideas, take a look at our French Toast Muffins with Bacon!

Banana Nut Muffins

Course: Breads, Breakfast, Quick BreadsCuisine: American
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

These banana nut muffins are tender and fluffy with big banana flavor. They’re the ideal partner for your morning cup of coffee and a great way to get your family’s day started!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamias, etc.)

  • 3-4 bananas

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

  • 1 egg, room temperature

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 tbsp milk

  • Coarse sugar for topping, optional

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Prepare muffin tin with nonstick spray or cupcake liners, set aside.
  • Cut butter into pieces and place in a pan over low heat until the butter melts. Allow the butter to foam and continue to cook. Once the foam subsides, cook until milk solids toast and turn golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Place chopped nuts in a dry pan and toast until the nuts start to glisten and become fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher until soft and only small bits of banana remain intact.
  • Add brown sugar, egg, vanilla, milk, and browned butter to mashed banana and mix thoroughly.
  • Add dry ingredients and toasted nuts to wet ingredients and fold together until just combined. Batter should not be smooth. Be careful to avoid overmixing.
  • Fill prepared muffin pan cups 3/4 full and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
  • Place pan in oven and bake, 18-20 minutes for regular-sized muffins or 28-30 minutes for jumbo muffins. A toothpick will come out clean when muffins are fully baked.
  • Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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