Happy Dance Muffins: The Browner the Banana the Better it Bakes

A muffin among friends

A muffin among friends

I buy a lot of bananas — way more than I could ever hope to eat. Sometimes it happens on accident (I buy some the same day my husband does) and other times it’s intentionally on a whim (damn you, Costco), but the outcome is still the same — a corner of my counter is constantly piled high with bananas in various stages of ripeness. The good news is that I am always happy when I have a few extra bunches hanging out.

One reason is because they are a healthy snack — nutritious, full of potassium and excellent in both my morning oatmeal and my after-work smoothie.

Another reason is because I love to make this cake:

Slice of heaven

Slice of Heaven — Upside Down Caramel Walnut Banana Cake

Clearly, these two reasons are at odds with each other.

And the first week of the new year, after I have finally polished off the last of the Christmas cookies, seemed like a terrible (albeit still tempting) time to make this cake. After all, while I was sitting at the bar on New Year’s Eve, waiting for my husband to get off work, he made this for me to snack on:

Foie Torchon, Roasted Pineapple, Pickled Raisins, Brown Sugar Sauce and Brioche. The Gilt Club NYE 2012

Foie Torchon, Roasted Pineapple, Pickled Raisins, Brown Sugar Sauce and Brioche. The Gilt Club NYE 2012

I practically inhaled it. It was one of the top five foie dishes of my life. And after ingesting such a hefty portion of fatted liver all by myself, I really couldn’t justify making something as decadent as a cake coated in caramel the very next day. Plus my co-workers might stone me — I feel like we are finally coming down from the continuous sugar high that was December.

And yet I have a freezer full of black bananas — ones that are even too ripe for me to use in a smoothie — just begging to be used up. I knew they would be best baked in something…but I was trying really hard to resist the siren call of butter, butter and butter.

After much contemplation, I decided to find a muffin recipe, preferably something sort of healthy though I was more interested in something that tasted good. I stumbled upon this recipe and it seemed the best of both worlds. I can be a little hesitant to try a random online recipe, but the reviews made this one seem pretty solid. I also (for once) had all of the ingredients!

Once they came out of the oven I let them cool for about…oh, maybe five minutes, before I cut one open to taste it.

Life inside a Banana Oat Muffin

Life inside a Banana Oat Muffin

And commence with the happy dance!

They were fabulous — super flavorful and very moist. The rolled oats added texture and made them filling without seeming dense and heavy. I actually loved them so much I didn’t even bring them into work to share. I decided to hoard them instead, after all the recipe only makes a dozen. Next time, I’ll double it so I can part with a few!

Close Up: Banana Oat Muffin

You can really see the oats in the close up

Plate Full of Goodness

Plate Full of Goodness

I did adapt the recipe slightly so here’s my own version:

Happy Dance Banana Oat Muffins

  • 3/4 cup A/P Flour
  • 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats (you could try instant if you’d like less chew)
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Power
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3/4 cup 1% Milk
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Very Ripe Mashed Bananas
  • 1 cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (optional)


  1. Combine flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined and fold in nuts if using. Do not over mix. Divide mixture into 12 greased muffin tins or do what I did and use a silicone baking tray.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes.
Banana Oat Muffin


13 thoughts on “Happy Dance Muffins: The Browner the Banana the Better it Bakes

  1. funnily enough, the similarities never end–just published a post for Minnesota Soybean’s blog on a healthy (bread) recipe that used overripe bananas. Cracks me up–first the ham bone, then marshmallows, now healthy banana baking recipes. What will you be making this weekend? (We have dinner reservations at Strip Club–high-end steak house, NOT questionable dining/dance establishment, so no cooking here. Hey–you should put Strip Club on your client list list! Sounds bad, but you know what I mean. You sell animal proteins, they buy animal proteins. Simple as that:-))

    • I love the disclaimer you gave about the Strip Club. Strangely enough Portland is very well-known for its numerous *ahem* dancing establishments and one is actually famous for its steaks. The owners also own a ranch in Eastern Oregon and so you can get a $6 ribeye with all the fixings…and it actually is pretty tasty. I swear, I go just for dinner (though I always skip the trip to the salad bar…eek!).

  2. Ha ha! I am the same way with bananas! My husband calls them science experiments by the time I am ready to cook with them. I like them completely brown on the outside. And by the way the upside down cake looks AMAZING! Definitely going to have to give that a try. I love anything banana, except banana candy. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Oh man — make the banana cake!! It will knock your socks off. I promise. Every time I make it I have to resist the urge to hoard it. It’s SO good. I also pretty much love anything banana…including candy. Give me some banana Laffy Taffy and I am a happy girl! =)

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