Banana Muffins Recipe

February 4, 2010 6 Comments

Banana Muffins Recipe


The Muffin Man

Back in merry ole England in the 19th century there existed a street peddler known as the Muffin Man.  Forever immortalized in the nursery rhyme of the same name, the Muffin Men plodded the streets of London with a tray of muffins, often carried on their heads.  To alert the public to their presence they rang a bell, much like the neighborhood ice cream trucks of the modern day.

It is estimated that there were as many as 3,000 muffin men clanging their way through the English capitol.  Apparently this caused quite a ruckus as the public complained, spurring a Parliamentary interdiction in 1840 limiting the use of the bell.  Supposedly this had little effect and the peal of the undaunted muffin men continued to reverberate through the city.

When I think of muffins I can’t help but recall the episode of Seinfeld entitled “The Muffin Tops.”  Elaine, who only relishes the muffin tops, suggests a harebrained scheme to open a muffin shop that only sells the tops.  Her ex-boss Mr. Lippman decides to run with it and does just that.  However, something goes wrong as the muffin tops are insipid.  He consults Elaine who discovers that he is only baking the tops.

The “secret” to the top’s flavor is baking the entire muffin and then breaking off the stumps.  This succeeds but now Lippman is left with hoards of muffin stumps. They try to donate them to the homeless but they rebuff their measly leftovers.

With no other options they turn to the gluttonous and conniving Newman.  In a spoof of Harvey Keitel’s character in the movie “Pulp Fiction,” (Keitel played a “cleaner,” an underworld figure who repairs botched situations), Newman arrives with a large cache of milk and proceeds to consume the staggering stockpile of muffin stumps.

A muffin is a type of quick bread, i.e., a bread which receives its leavening from a chemical, usually baking powder and/or soda, as opposed to yeast.  Yeast breads must also be kneaded and rested; steps unnecessary with quick breads.

Other classical quick breads include pancakes, cornbread, and biscuits.  The word muffin derives from one or two possible sources:  the French word “moufflet,” which refers to soft bread and the German word “muffe,” meaning cake.

Interestingly, what the Seinfeld clan and most people in the US refer to as a muffin is an American transformation.  The original muffins of England were a yeast-based bread, more analogous to a traditional bread than a cake.  The popular brand Thomas’ English Muffins® are truer to their seminal namesake than what Newman gorged himself on.

American muffins, as stated, are more cake-like.  But unlike a finely textured, standard cake, muffins have a denser consistency.  This results from hand stirring the ingredients as opposed to ardently whipping the butter, sugar, and remaining elements in an electric mixer. This latter, cake-making technique is known as the “creaming method.”

Muffins also tend to be less sweet than a regular cake.  A gazillion variations exist employing a myriad of flavoring agents such as fruits, nuts, grains, chocolate, and combinations thereof.  Homemade muffins, devoid of any chemical preservatives go stale rather quickly so eat’em up and/or give some to the neighbors.


Banana Muffins Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Banana Muffins Recipe


For the Batter

1¾ cups all purpose flour

2½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup sugar

2 large or 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed

¼ cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1¼ teaspoons banana extract

Vegetable spray, as needed

For the Streusel

1/3 cup light brown sugar

5-6 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

How To Prepare At Home

Preheat oven to 425° F.

For the Batter:

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg and sugar until it lightens and becomes a little fluffy. Stir in the mashed bananas, buttermilk, butter, vegetable oil and banana extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. They do not need to be thoroughly combined; some lumpiness is desirable.

Spray a standard 12-muffin pan with vegetable spray. Fill the muffin pan with the batter. Do not fill to the brim.

For the Streusel:

Mix the ingredients for the streusel topping together with a fork until a crumbly texture is achieved. A little extra flour may be needed.

Sprinkle one heaping tablespoon of the topping over the top of each muffin.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until the muffins are done, rotating the pan once. They should be springy to the touch.

Last modified on Tue 15 July 2014 10:40 am

Comments (6)

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  1. Monique says:

    This sounds sooooooooooo good. I’m gonna try it soon!

  2. bonnie says:

    I’m going to make this to go along with my Easter breakfast………..

    Sounds good. -RG

  3. Carol Byerley says:

    Egg/sausage casserole refrigerated overnight for convenience. Add the baking powder at night or wait until morning before baking?

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi Chef Mark,

    I would just like to say, your Banana Bread recipe is AWESOME! I had been looking for an easy to remember and to make Banana Bread that was moist and this is it. I have made this recipe about 4 or 5 times within the last month or so, I made it for my mom who lives in Las Vegas, and I California, my son came to visit and took the bread back to my mom and she called to tell me that the bread was Delicious and had eaten 3 pieces of it before putting it up and going to bed, she wants me to make her a two more one to eat off of and one to freeze, again thanks for posting and letting others bake your masterpiece.

    I am an aspiring Chef, I have just graduated from The Institute of Technology in a Culinary program in Modesto, Ca. It was great. I am thinking about registering st Penn Foster an online school in a course for catering, have you heard of them? Thanks, again for the recipe.
    Sandra T.

    Hi Sandra, I will be sure to pass on your compliments to Chef Mark although I’m sure he will enjoy reading them on this blog. I would enjoy speaking with you about your experiences at the Institute of Technology’s culinary program and will contact you directly. As for Penn Foster, I don’t know much about their program but will do some research and see what I can find out. – RG

  5. Cooking Dinner For Two says:

    I like the helpful info you supply to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and test once more right here frequently. I am slightly certain I’ll be told many new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the following!

  6. Denise says:

    Muffins are a staple in life – tasty as a biscuit but easier. Moist, flavorful, and filling. Not to mention the creativity! I like the addition of buttermilk to this recipe, which I haven’t done with a banana muffin before. Inspired!

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