Nicole Criss takes inspiration from James Beard to create the perfect Banana Nut Muffin recipe.
By Nicole Criss
For years I’ve been searching for a banana bread recipe I could turn to time and again. Something I could make without ceremony, rely on like an old friend. I never seemed to come across one I remained faithful to. Finally I reached for a cookbook I’ve had all my life, James Beard’s Beard on Bread. It’s funny how sometimes the answers we seek are right there in front of us.
My copy of Beard’s book was my mother’s and it’s very well worn. The pages are stiff from spatter, marked here and there with her notes and the binding is coming apart. Beard made his as a loaf but I love to bake individual goodies that are easy to wrap up and take as a mobile snack. Whenever I am baking on a whim and I have no room-temperature butter, I use coconut oil. The muffins came out moist and light, puffed up nicely and had just the right amount of sweetness. I like them plain or spread with peanut or almond butter as a more filling snack. I’m confident I’ve finally found a recipe I can call a “keeper.”
- 2 cups (198 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (114 grams) butter or (105 grams) coconut oil
- 1 cup (190 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (about 2) mashed very ripe bananas
- ⅓ cup (75 ml) milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
- ½ cup (60 grams) chopped pecans or walnuts
- Combine the flour with the soda and salt.
- Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the eggs and the bananas and blend thoroughly.
- Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit.
- Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Blend well after each addition.
- Stir in the nuts.
- Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan or 12 muffin cups.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour if baking a loaf or about 25 minutes for muffins.