I eat a lot of muffins. Because I get up so early during the week, I need a portable breakfast. Muffins are my go-to breakfast. There are plenty of other quick and simple starts I enjoy, but these are really the only ones that I turn to Monday through Friday. My favorites are my mini-chocolate chip muffins. Good as they are, I occasionally need a little variety.
Banana nut muffins are one of my regular alternates. First of all, I always have too-ripe bananas on hand. I'm one of those people that loves bananas provided they're within that 12 hour window of perfect ripeness. After that, I won't touch them. This is a great way to use those past their prime bananas. I also like how substantial these are. The whole grains and nuts really pack a great morning nutritional punch, and - most importantly - they taste really good!
They're super easy to make, too! Mix together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Notice that the batter may look somewhat curdled. That's fine. In fact, if you let it sit, the honey may separate out a bit. Just give it a stir before adding the dry ingredients.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate, small bowl. Chop up some walnuts and toss into the dry ingredients. Stir to mix and then add, alternating in batches with the smashed bananas, to the wet mixture.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line standard sized muffin tins with papers. This recipe makes an uneven number of muffins. Someday, when I have time, I may try to standardize it, but currently, it makes about 17 muffins. Be sure not to fill the cups too full.
To help them look great and to add a nice sweet crunch, I sprinkle two things on top: some old fashioned oats and some turbinado sugar. I especially like the turbinado sugar because it holds its shape and crunch not only through baking but through freezing, if you go that route.
If you're not familiar with turbinado sugar, it is a coarse grained, minimally processed sugar that has a tan color and more complex flavor than table sugar. You can find it on the baking aisle of nearly any grocery store and it keeps forever in an air tight container.
Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes or until they are puffed and golden. Remove from the oven, remove from the pans, and let cool on a rack. If you are going to bag them up to put in the freezer, make sure they are completely cooled before doing so. Frozen muffins can be thawed in the microwave. In mine, it takes about 40 seconds to thaw out two of them.
Banana Nut Muffins
Yield: 17 standard sized muffins
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 TBS old fashioned oats (optional)
2 TBS turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together the first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Do not worry if it looks a bit curdled; it does not need to be perfectly smooth. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together the flours, baking power, salt, and wheat germ. Stir to mix, adding the walnuts. In another small bowl, mash the ripe bananas until they are well pureed.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and bananas to the wet mixture. Do not over mix. Divide batter evenly between 17 standard, paper lined muffin cups. Sprinkle each with a small amount of turbinado sugar and old fashioned oats. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until the muffins are puffed and lightly golden. A toothpick or cake tester should come out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Cool completely on wire racks.
Ingredient Notes: I get my wheat germ at the bulk food store for much, much less than it costs at the grocery store. However, I then need to toast the wheat germ myself, which I do in a dry saute pan over medium heat. Simply stir occasionally until the germ has a nice toasty smell and has obtained a nice golden color. As for the bananas, you can use bananas way past when you might think you should. I've even used bananas after the flesh is completely brown and has a slightly fermented smell.