old bananas

New life for old bananas, part 1

18 August 2010

Rorschach test: do you see nasty old bananas, or do you see possibility? Guess what chinese grandma sees?

I love old bananas, because they call out “BAKE ME!” There’s pretty much nothing I love better than a good baked treat. Put that together with a compulsive desire not to let anything go to waste, and a bunch of old bananas becomes a must-bake situation.

The last thing I did before going away for the weekend was to stick this bunch of very ripe bananas in the fridge. I knew the only takers they would attract while I was away would be fruit flies. So I decided to save them for a better fate upon my return (in case you didn’t know, bananas in the fridge turn brown but stop ripening). This morning my six old bananas became 36 banana-chocolate chip muffins (12 regular, 24 mini) and one jumbo loaf of banana bread – upon which my four children descended like fruit flies on overripe bananas. 

I’ll start here with the banana-chocolate chip muffins:

My great friend Nancy turned me on to this recipe, which is originally from allrecipes.com (I love allrecipes.com – awesome volume of user reviews and every recipe you can imagine). Nancy made me these muffins after the birth of my third child (I think it was the third?) and I’ve been making them ever since. Nancy’s version substitutes flaxseed meal for some of the oil (I know it sounds weird to substitute a solid for a liquid, but amazingly it works), and I use butter instead of oil because I like it.

This recipe should only take 10 minutes to put together, but today it took me at least twice as long due to unsolicited help from my four-year-old (no one wanting to get a task done quickly would solicit help from a four-year-old). But he loves to bake, and I am hopeful that my patience today will someday be rewarded in home-baked goods that I didn’t have to bake myself. Look for little hands in the pictures.

Starting with the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and soda):

Adding flaxseed meal, which by the way if you’ve never purchased it looks something like this:

Now the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, yogurt, vanilla) in a separate bowl. I can take this action picture because I never measure my vanilla:

Onto the bananas, looking better on the inside than they did on the outside:

Mash with fork:

Until nice and squishy:

Now add mashed banana, wet ingredients and chocolate chips to dry ingredients. Don’t overmix (muffins don’t take kindly to too much beating):

I like to use a small ice cream scoop to fill my muffin tins:

This recipe makes exactly 12 medium and 24 mini muffins, which is perfect because these are the only tins I have:

And I use my convection oven and bake them all at the same time because I’m impatient:

When the kitchen starts smelling delicious, they’re almost ready. Watch for nice browned tops, and feel for springy surfaces. I give them just a couple of minutes to cool, then pop them out with a chopstick (so as not to scratch my pans):

Not a bad reincarnation for tired old bananas. Quick picture before the kids eat them all:

Here’s my version of the recipe with the flaxseed variation included. But you can also see the original recipe here, if like me you enjoy reading the recipe reviews: allrecipes.com recipe.

Banana chocolate chip muffins
Light textured and delicious muffins – sweet banana moistness with a chocolate bite.


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup is enough if you have very ripe bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted (FLAXSEED VARIATION – substitute 3/4 cup flaxseed meal for 1/4 cup of the butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed banana (~3 bananas)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt (if using flaxseed variation, add flaxseed to dry ingredients).
  3. In another bowl mix melted butter, egg, plain yogurt and vanilla.
  4. Mash bananas and add to butter-egg-yogurt mixture.
  5. Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
  6. Fill muffin tins (greased or lined with muffin cups) 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cook times will vary depending on how full you like your muffins – approximately 15 minutes for mini muffins or 25 minutes for regular muffins.

Makes approximately 16 muffins.


  • It seems strange to substitute a solid (flaxseed meal) for a liquid (butter), but it works. The flaxseed substitution is 3 T flaxseed meal = 1 T butter/oil. So in this case we took out 4 T (1/4 c) butter and added 12 T (3/4 c) flaxseed meal.
  • My friend Nancy uses olive oil instead of butter, and she cuts the sugar to 1/3 cup.
  • This recipe is also great with dried fruit and/or nuts instead of chocolate chips.
  • I fill my muffin tins 2/3 full, like we used to before everything became super-sized. With the kids, it’s handier to have smaller portions, and I with this recipe I make exactly 12 regular sized and 24 mini muffins.

Here’s the link for printing:

Banana chocolate chip muffin recipe for printing

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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