With the commencement festivities now concluded, it’s back to baking — doctor’s orders! We’re fast approaching that time of year when those just-purchased green bananas morph into mushy, brown blobs in the blink of an eye. As such, now is an excellent time to share some of my favorite banana-based baked goods. I know you’ll go bananas for them too!
Banana bread and banana muffins are prime ways to use your rapidly-ripening bananas, since they call for A LOT of banana (3 medium ones in this recipe!). Using very ripe bananas is critical for making good banana baked goods, so if your bananas aren’t quite there yet, make a half-batch of these Brown Butter Espresso Chip Cookies, and wait another day or two to do your banana baking. Don’t try to rush perfection; it doesn’t work.
A perfectly ripe banana for baking has a peel that is a deep, golden yellow, with as many freckles as a ginger in July. The peel should feel a bit dimpled when you brush it with your fingertips, and the banana should peel with next-to-no effort at all. The banana itself should positively exude sweet banana-y fumes. Swarming fruit flies are a good indication of a ripe banana, but sadly, they’re also an indication of a hole in one of your window screens.
These muffins are super tasty as plain old peanut butter banana muffins, BUT, they get EVEN BETTER when you stuff ’em with Nutella or creamy peanut butter AND top them with a peanut butter glaze (and some chopped salted peanuts). These muffins really are everything you ever wanted — not to exaggerate or anything like that. Really.
Freezing the blobs of Nutella (or PB) makes them easier to handle when plopping them in the batter before baking, plus, the freezing step keeps the filling from melting into the batter as it bakes.
One other good tip for making these muffins is measuring out your oil first, then measuring the peanut butter right in the same measuring cup. This way, the measured PB will just sliiide right into the mixing bowl, with no scraping needed!
If you choose not to stuff your muffins, this recipe should make 12 regular muffins, and while I say that I would not fault you at all for just making these as plain muffins, if I were in the kitchen with you as you made them, I would definitely strong-arm you into stuffing them. You will not regret it. Plus, adding the filling means that you’ll have extra muffin batter on your hands. Problem, you say? Not at all. Just pour the extra batter into a greased ramekin or two, swirl some Nutella into the top, bake, and serve warm with a dollop of vanilla fro yo on top.
Oh yeah, and the glaze really isn’t optional either.
~1/4 cup Nutella (or creamy peanut butter), for stuffing
Glaze (optional…kind of):
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 – 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of unsweetened almond milk, if needed
Crushed salted peanuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray, ensuring that all of the nooks and crannies get adequately oiled. You’ll likely have a smidge extra muffin batter, so have an oven-proof ramekin or two on hand to grease for the overflow batter. Drop 12 teaspoonfuls of Nutella (or creamy PB) onto a wax paper-lined plate, and freeze them while you prepare the muffin batter.
In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together the bananas with the sugar, stirring until liquefied and smooth; set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, butter, & peanut butter, until smooth. Whisk in rested banana-sugar mixture, espresso powder, & vanilla, then the eggs (some banana lumps are okay!). In a separate bowl, fluff together the flour, nutmeg, salt, & baking soda; gently fold dry ingredients into the wet, folding only until no flour streaks remain. Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop to deposit one dollop of batter into each well of the greased muffin tin. Gently shake the pan to settle the batter into an even layer. Place a frozen Nutella (or PB) blob over the very center of each batter plop, then top with an additional scant 1 1/2 tablespoon dollop of batter. Gently shake pan again. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are browned, domed, and tiny microcracks are visible in the middle of the tops (they should not look wet). Remove pan from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes before carefully removing muffins from pan to cool completely on wire racks.
Once muffins have cooled, whisk together the melted butter with the peanut butter and vanilla, until smooth. Whisk in 1/4 cup powdered sugar, adding a splash of milk or a smidge extra powdered sugar, if needed, to make glaze pourable. Spoon glaze over the tops of the muffins, and sprinkle immediately with the crushed peanuts.
These muffins hold up well for a few days, if stored in airtight containers at room temp.
Note: Place any surplus batter in a greased ramekin (or two, if you have a lot of extra — really depends on the size of your muffin tin); do not fill ramekins more than half-full. Swirl some Nutella or smooth peanut butter into the surface of the batter, and bake until domed, golden, and tiny microcracks appear in the surface. Allow to cool slightly before serving warm…ideally with a scoop of vanilla fro yo on top 😉