Banana Yogurt Muffins and Little Banana Bread Loaf
How many banana bread and banana recipes does one person need? If you’re like me, more than thirty.
I don’t think it’s possible to have too many because there’s always a banana about to over-ripen.
I didn’t have a recipe for banana muffins and it was high time to post one. Well, I do have one for Banana Nut Muffins (vegan, gluten-free) but it’s from 2009 and life, cooking skills, and photography skills have changed dramatically since then and I was overdue for an update. Truthfully, most of my banana bread recipes can be made as muffins rather than loaves but I normally just bake loaves.
One reason I don’t make many muffins or cupcakes is because I find them to fussy to deal with. I’d rather bake a whole loaf of bread or a whole cake, than individual muffins or cupcakes. Filling up the liners, trying to not drip batter all over the pan, and then decorating each individually is time-consuming and tedious. I like to slap it all in a big pan and be done, but I made an exception for these. I made them before I even knew it was National Banana Bread Day on February 23.
The beauty of the recipe is that it goes from ingredients-in-pantry to muffin-in-mouth in 30 minutes and your house smells ridiculously amazing for the rest of the day. Something about banana bread baking is just so comforting and is a sure-fire way to get the family racing into the kitchen. The batter is made in one bowl, by hand, which saves on dishes. I try not to spend my weekend mornings doing baking dishes.
And because I baked sprinkles right in, I didn’t have to worry about glazing, frosting, or decorating them, another time-saver. Although muffins don’t technically need to be decorated, cupcakes definitely do. No one wants a bald cupcake and even with muffins, usually they’re a little dry or boring and need a glaze to jazz them up.
Muffins are prone to dryness, which is a total deal-breaker, but I assure you these aren’t dry at all. Bananas do such a fabulous job of keeping batter moist and soft, and I also used Greek yogurt, another workhorse in the tenderizing and moistening department.
To make the muffins, add two-and-one-half bananas to a large mixing bowl. I used three bananas total; mashed 2 1/2 and the remaining half-banana is reserved, sliced and later garnishes the top of the little loaf before baking. I made 1 dozen muffins and a little loaf since I had a bit more batter than I had muffin pans or patience.
Mash bananas with a fork, and then an egg, sugars, yogurt, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and whisk it all together. I used the new banana Low-Fat Chobani Greek Yogurt. I think they made it just so people could bake banana bread with it. It’s good on it’s own, but it’s tailor-made and perfect for baking. It helped boost the banana flavor of the muffins, but use what you can find.
Sour cream will work and if using it, consider adding an extra tablespoon or two of granulated sugar since the yogurt is sweetened. When you crack the seal on your yogurt or sour cream, if it has separated into a solid with water on top, pour off the water before adding the solid to the batter. That pure, thick, creamy yogurt or sour cream is what you’re really after.
I used oil rather than butter because nothing says soft and moist like an oil-based muffin, bread, or cake. I was going to add butter a bit of butter for flavor, but decided to omit it in an effort to keep things relatively healthy and it wasn’t missed at all.
Add the dry ingredients and fold them in until just combined, making sure to not overmix so you don’t create tough, rubbery muffins. The less you mix, the less you develop the gluten, which translates to softer and more delicate muffins. They’re not light and airy; the bananas, yogurt, and oil keep them dense, but they are soft, fluffy, and not tough in the least.
Pour the batter into a lined 12-cup muffin pan, filling each cup three-quarters full. The old rule of thumb about filling two-thirds full creates short, squat, and skimpy-looking muffins. For bigger, puffier, bakery-style muffins with a bigger muffin top, fill the cavity three-quarters full. If you overfill slightly, the worst that can happen is the batter rises while baking and the overage rests and bakes on the muffin pan. Hello muffin top.
Don’t you just want to rip that little mushroom cap right off? I created Muffin Top Bread so I could have a whole loaf that tastes like muffin tops so that I don’t have to dismember muffins.
I put a pinch of sprinkles in the center of each muffin before baking, which helps dress up the muffins so they don’t look bald and bare after baking. They also add a tiny bit of texture and sweetness, and if you have kids, eyes will light up. It’s a scant teaspoon well spent.
After filling the dozen liners, I had enough batter for probably 6 more muffins but I was muffin’ed out. I reached for my trusty 8-by-4-inch baking pan and poured in the remaining batter. I sliced the reserved half banana into thin rounds, placed them on the surface, and sprinkled away.
I baked the muffins at 350F for 20 minutes, and the loaf for 30 minutes, rotating pans once midway through baking. When done, the muffin tops and surface of the loaf should be set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted will come out clean.
I served Strawberry Butter with them and it stellar. Strawberries, bananas, and sprinkles are a winning trifecta.
The muffins are about as sweet as regular banana bread and make for a healthier breakfast option. One cup of sugar spread over 12 muffins and a loaf of bread isn’t excessive in the least, and coupled with the yogurt, they’re on the healthier side. I’m sure you could veganize them by substituting a flax egg and using a soy-based yogurt. I’m sure you could use applesauce, whole wheat flour, and all sorts of other things to make them lighter, lower, healthier, and so forth. But I’d rather not. I loved them just as they were.
My husband loves muffins and isn’t really a cookie guy. What a shame. He loved these. They’re soft, tender, moist, and fluffy; thanks to the softening and moistening powers of yogurt and bananas. The crumb was dense and well-formed, so much so that when ripped in half, the halves wanted to stay hinged and I had to lightly tug to separate them, a true testament to the moistness.
I love the taste and sensation of little sprinkles in my teeth, especially in between a few chunkier bites of banana. I always mash my bananas with a fork and don’t over-mash so they stay a little chunkier and retain some texture.
The little loaf baked up adorably and I used it as the bread for mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why not.
I can never have too many recipes for banana bread. Or banana anything.
Banana Yogurt Muffins and Little Banana Bread Loaf
These muffins are so moist, tender and soft, thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt. The batter is make in one bowl, by hand, in mere minutes and the muffins go from idea to mixing bowl to oven to mouth all in under 30 minutes. Because there’s sprinkles baked right in, no need to bother with a glaze. The batter makes enough for 12 standard muffins plus 1 small 8×4 loaf, or bake as about 18 muffins. I like baking the extra batter as a loaf because it’s easy to wrap it up and freeze for a rainy day.
1 to 1 1/4 cups mashed banana (3 medium/large ripe bananas)
1 large egg
6 ounces Greek yogurt (I used Lowfat banana Chobani, sour cream may be substituted))
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
about 1/4 cup sprinkles, divided; optional but recommended
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a 12-count muffin pan with liners or spray with floured cooking spray; set aside. Recipe make about 18 muffins so either prepare a second muffin pan or spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash 2 1/2 of the 3 bananas, reserving half of one banana for garnishing the little loaf. Add the egg, yogurt (if using sour cream, add an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar to compensate because the yogurt is sweetened), oil, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, and whisk to incorporate. Mixture will be lumpy because of the banana chunks.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined; don’t overmix or bread will be tough. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each of the 12 wells to three-quarters full (fill past the old two-thirds full rule to create domed and fuller muffins). Add 1 scant teaspoon (a generous pinch) of sprinkles to the center of each muffin. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until tops of muffins are set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Muffin tops should feel springy to the touch when done. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes before removing.
- With the remaining batter, either pour into prepared loaf pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula; or make more muffins (I’d guess about 6 more). With the reserved half banana, slice into thin rounds, about 1/8th-inch thick, and lay the slices on the top surface of the bread. Liberally shake sprinkles over the top. Bake for about 28 to 30 minutes, or until tops is set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comest clean. Top of bread should feel springy to the touch when done. Allow muffins to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing.
- Muffins will keep in airtight container (or for the bread wrap it in plasticwrap and place inside a large ziplock) for up to 5 days, although are best enjoyed sooner rather than later. Consider freezing extra muffins or the loaf if you’re not going to consume within a week. Optionally serve muffins or bread with Strawberry Butter
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Do you have a favorite easy muffin or cupcake recipe? Or favorite banana bread recipe?
Feel free to leave links to your favorites.
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