These banana streusel muffins evoke flavors of banana bread with the added health benefits of whole wheat flour and less sugar. I’m obsessed with banana bread. When a warm loaf (obligatorily studded with walnuts and chocolate chips) emerges from the oven I’ll happily risk burning the roof of my mouth to ‘test’ a slice as soon as humanly possible. Even though I use wholesome ingredients to bake my banana bread, my waistline can do without the extra sugar I consume since I clearly don’t understand the proper portion size of the baked ambrosia.
The banana bread dance in my house is always the same. I bake a loaf, test a slice when it’s hot from the oven, come back an hour later when the chocolate has set up to test another slice, and so on. Before I know it, I’m presenting Kenny with the pitiful remains of what once was an entire loaf of banana bread. To reign in my consumption without having to sacrifice my beloved treat, I developed these banana bread muffins so the batter is responsibly pre-portioned into individual delights.
With portion sizes in check, I made a few other tweaks to increase the figure-friendly stats of banana bread. First, I use whole wheat flour for added fiber, protein, and a delicious slight nuttiness. White sugar is replaced with brown sugar because the extra flavor complexity from molasses means we can reduce the amount of total sugar we add (less than 1 cup!). I also use very ripe bananas since their natural fruit sugars offset any flavor disruptions from the use of less processed sugar. Lastly, I brown the butter so a smaller quantity thoroughly flavors the batter.
I hope you enjoy the calorie saving methods I used to develop these banana streusel muffins and bake some as soon as you can! Pile these babies high on a cake stand for a lovely breakfast presentation or just keep the baked muffins in the freezer for when a sweet tooth strikes. As long as you use paper cupcake wrappers, you can microwave the frozen muffins individually for 20-30 seconds for a warm coffee companion.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
4 very ripe bananas
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¾ Cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 Cups chocolate chips (I prefer to use Trader Joe’s dark chocolate chips but you can use any semi sweet chips you have)
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 count muffin tin with cupcake paper or grease the pan with canola oil.
Place the butter in a small frying pan or saucepan, melt over medium low heat. Once the butter melts, swirl the pan until the butter browns and smells nutty (be careful not to burn the butter). Transfer the browned butter to a small bowl or measuring cup so that it stops browning and cools.
While the butter is cooling, make the streusel.
Make the streusel by combining the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the butter to the rest of the streusel ingredients, use your finger tips or a fork to mash the ingredients together until they resemble wet sand. Place the streusel in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the muffin batter. (If you’re likely to forget about the streusel in the fridge leave yourself a little sticky note reminder!)
Place the ripe bananas in the bowl of a standing mixer.
With the whisk attachment in place, whip the bananas until they are completely mashed, 30-60 seconds.
Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the bananas. Run the mixer on medium speed until the ingredients are fully combined.
Add the cooled, browned butter to the batter. Whisk until combined, 30 seconds.
Sprinkle the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder over the batter. Beat until it’s just mixed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the chocolate chips and fold the chips into the batter with a rubber spatula.
Distribute the batter evenly into the muffin tins (Hint: I use a large ice cream scooper to distribute muffin batter evenly).
Top each muffin with some of the streusel.
Place the muffins in the oven.
Bake until the muffins puff up and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature.
This recipe can also be made with ripe, frozen bananas. If you have ripe bananas on hand, simply remove the peel and freeze the bananas in a gallon sized zip lock back. Defrost the bananas in a bowl at room temperature for 20-30 minutes and use them in this recipe as written. You might need to increase the baking time by 5 minutes or so to compensate for any extra moisture from the bananas.