Do You Know the Muffin (Wo)man?

Back when Peter and I lived in our first apartment together, we used to make banana bread or muffins every week. This was a serious process. During the weekdays, I would carefully hoard bananas to ensure they reached the peak of perfection for baking (i.e. black and stinky). It was not unknown for me to swat at hungry hands wandering toward my bananas (sorry, Peter).

But the reward was — oh! — so worth it. The rich scent of baking bread always reminds me of those weekend days in our tiny galley kitchen, maximum occupancy 1.5 persons. For us, there was nothing like a banana crumb muffin or a slice of banana bread in the morning. Accompanied by a tall glass of frothy milk, of course.

Fast forward six years. We’d moved someplace entirely new. My hands were itching to pull out an old recipe (actually, maybe they were itching for a hand to swat … where’d you get to, Peter?). The bananas were ripe. The muffin tins were sadly unused. The timing was perfect.

And so here we are, baking the most delicious muffins I’ve ever tasted. Rich and sweet with a peppery hit of cinnamon in the crumb topping. From our new home, to yours.

Ye Olde Favorite Banana Crumb Muffins

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 20 minutes

  Keywords: bake bread breakfast dessert low-sodium vegetarian

Ingredients (10 muffins)

  • 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur or Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed (the riper, the better!)
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Crumbly Topping

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray 10 muffin cups (or 24 mini muffin cups) with cooking spray, or line with muffin paper.

Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together mashed bananas, sugar, beaten egg, and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened (don’t overmix!). Spoon batter into muffin cups until they are each about 2/3 full.

In a small bowl, mix together light brown sugar, 2 tbsp flour, and cinnamon. Using your fingers or a fork, work softened butter through mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes (10 to 12 minutes for mini-muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Q: What do you cook/bake to remind you of times past?


  1. Hiya Jessie! Nice to see new posts at THIH, I had missed looking at your yummy food pictures! 🙂 Found my way to the comments section at last!

    This recipe sounds dead easy and fantastically delicious, a winning combination that I am sure to try! I like the idea of the mashed dates, though it may be that the muffins will end up being overwhelmingly sweet?

    I have a question though: normally when the recipe requires white sugar, I substitute for golden caster sugar (do you even have that over there or is it a British invention?), which is more aromatic and -I like to think- a tad bit healthier. Will it be ok to use golden or brown sugar in the muffin proper and not just the topping? I suppose I would need a smaller quantity.

    What do I cook that reminds me of times past… a custard thickened with corn starch that my mum used to make. It was (and is) the only way I will ever put milk in my food. I used to eat it while still warm and top it with cinnamon, and I still do that now. I even bring the Greek brand of flavoured corn flour with me everytime I visit home:

    1. Hey Christa! I love your comments, as always 🙂 I’ve never used golden caster sugar in a baking recipe, but I believe it’s a bit like plain brown sugar, only finer — do I have that right? It’s not common here, although nowadays you can get anything online. Texture-wise, it won’t make a difference, but you’re right that taste-wise, using the golden caster sugar will give the muffins more of a “rich” flavor. You can definitely use less in any bread-y type recipe. In fact, I often cut the number of sugar in baked goods recipes by about half because I don’t like things as sweet.

      That custard looks delish! What flavor did you like? My eye is gravitating toward the chocolate 🙂

      1. You’re gravitating towards the chocolate only because you can’t see the strawberry flavour in that picture! Normally strawberry flavour in foods is not very, um, strawberry-like, but in this one it tastes really good, like a warm, thick home-made smoothie! Banana is super good as well. And yeah, chocolate is yummy!

        Yes, caster sugar is a little finer than normal crystalline sugar which makes it really good for cake baking as it creams very well with butter. I also love the caramel flavour of golden or brown sugar. This will most probably be my next baking adventure, so I’ll let you know how it went! 🙂

  2. I like the streusel topping idea. I think that’s the best part!

    I have lots of dishes that remind me of my childhood, particularly potato doughnuts called patatutti that my nonna used to make.

  3. You are back – I haven’t opened the last two posts as mom has been very ill – but had to chime in to say Hi and welcome you back – I haven’t seen a post from you in ages, until just lately. I have missed up muchly and love the title and content here, Jesse!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear your mom isn’t well, Valerie 🙁 Best wishes to her and you and your whole family xx

  4. HI JESSIE!!! Seeing your comment on my blog was such a lovely surprise, first thing on my Sunday morning 🙂 So happy you’re back to posting. Sounds like you’re settling in nicely at your new location and home (Hi Peter, hope life’s good to you too!)

    Thank you for your warm words and concern – I am doing much better and chomping into more yoghurt biscuits (just made another batch this morning….. did I tell you I love biscuits? *wink*) with relish, as I write this.

    You’re banana crumb muffins sound super yummy and I love that they have whole wheat and a modest amount of sugar.

    When I feel nostalgic, one of my favourite fixes is my grandma’s cinnamon and clove scented chicken stew, eaten with rice. Feels like a favourite soft, warm blanket on a chilly day…

    1. Your yogurt biscuits make me weak in the knees 😉

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