Healthy muffins to use up those brown-spotted bananas.
With so much talk about pumpkin this and pumpkin that, you might think pumpkin is my favorite flavor (nope) and fall my favorite season (definitely not). What really gets my mouth watering, though, is the scent of banana bread in the oven.
It’s a childhood thing; just as I love The Joy of Cooking’s pumpkin cookies because they came out of my mother’s yellow-daisy cookie jar when I was little, I love banana bread because it was one thing my mom would bake as I was growing up. I never had the kind of mother who stayed home and timed her baked goods to emerge from the oven as soon as her passel of kids came stomping through the front door with their backpacks and lunchboxes. And thank goodness for that. I had a mom who taught me that women should work, that a mother can have her own life alongside her daughter’s, that a father can pick up his little girl from school as well as a mother can.
When I was young enough to actually want to wake up at 6 a.m. watch cartoons before school, my mother left my breakfast – cereal and two pieces of jam-covered toast that I would prioritize by which was “the lumpiest and bumpiest” – at the top of the basement stairs. (She would also call “Here, Mousie Mousie!” But that’s another story altogether.) By the time I was a teenager, my dad had taken over most of the kitchen duties, grilling shrimp and programming the rice maker to make the meals required by my post-anorexia-hospitalization meal plan.
But among the things my mom baked when my father was away and it was just the two of us at home was banana bread (and tuna rice casserole). There is absolutely nothing like opening the door and getting hit with a wall of warm, banana-scented air. There is absolutely nothing like the little dark flecks in a pale loaf of banana bread.
So you’re probably expecting a banana bread recipe, right? Sorry to disappoint. But these muffins are a sort of healthier version of the bread (which isn’t too unhealthy to begin with), with wheat bran and whole wheat flour. They’re not the banana bread of my childhood, but then, I’m not a child anymore either. Someday I’ll dig up my mother’s old banana bread recipe – or share one of the approximately six hundred I’ve saved on Pinterest – but first, here are my go-to banana muffins that no one seems to be able to turn down.