Last time I went to the store I bought too many bananas and didn't get around to eating them before they got too ripe. Instead of chucking them into the garbage, I found a recipe so that I could use them. The perfect time to use very ripe bananas actually is for baking, even if they have some brown spots. The moisture they have keeps your muffins, cake or bread from drying out and the sugar that has developed as they ripen adds natural sweetness to your baked goods.
These are Banana Crunch Muffins adapted from an Ina Garten recipe. I say "adapted" because I didn't have the granola that the recipe called for. What I did have in my pantry were some assorted flavors of instant oatmeal. I investigated and contemplated and decided that the "Cinnamon Roll" flavor would do best...Ina is probably having a heart attack right now at the thought of this! Coconuts, walnuts and cinnamon - great combination. Well, they turned out delicious and I thought that the oatmeal packet actually might have given it some more flavor.
The recipe lists that dried banana chips, chopped walnuts, granola, or coconut can be sprinkled on the tops of the muffins before baking. You can mix it up and add a mixture of all of them, or just some. I did not think that the dried banana chips would have softened up enough and been too "crunchy". I chose to do a mixture of coconut and chopped walnuts.
Banana Crunch Muffins
Ina Garten, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
1 banana, diced
1 cup diced walnuts
1 cup granola (or one packet of flavored oatmeal)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Dried banana chips, granola, chopped walnuts or shredded coconut to sprinkle on top of muffins before baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and blend. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour and butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't overmix.
Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola (this is where my substitution came in!) and coconut into the batter and mix until combined. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. If desired, top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola or coconut. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.