Brown-Butter Banana Muffins, 3 ways + frosting!

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Perhaps if you follow me on instagram  you may have noticed that I have been doing more cake baking lately. While I really enjoy making cakes and working my creativity muscles in the frosting department, I can’t forget about the simple but heartwarming recipes that brought me here.

I’ve been hoarding over-ripe bananas in my freezer for what feels like forever, so I put them to good use this past weekend whilst snowed in, in between Friends episodes. Instead of just making one kind, I decided to challenge myself a bit and divide a recipe into three to make BANANA MUFFINS/CUPCAKES 3 WAYS, including 3 awesome frostings to dollop on top. Of course, these are muffins, so if you wish to fore-go the frosting, they will still be good. But, we all know that buttercream makes everything better, yes?

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Okay, so. I’m going to give you the recipe in order to make one 12 muffin batch of each kind of muffin, however:
+++If you wish to make a small batch (4) of each, like I did:
-remove 3/4 cup minus 2 tbsp of the Basic dry ingredients (after mixing together) and add 2 tbsp cacao powder and an extra 1/4 tsp of salt; this will be your Chocolate Banana muffin mix.
-Mix all of your wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and use 1/3 of the mixture for the Chocolate mix that you set aside – this is the completed mix (to make this easier, I literally used a 1/3 measuring cup and dumped one cup full of wet ingredients into the chocolate mixture, and two into the basic mixture, until the wet ingredients was all used up).
-After the Basic Banana batter is mixed, spoon out your 4 Basic muffins and add 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts (or other nut) to the remaining mix – this is the completed Hazelnut Banana mix.+++

Additional note: I’ve made these brown-butter banana muffins VEGAN before. Simply substitute 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water, whisked) and earth balance for the butter – earth balance will brown, too!

Brown Butter Banana Bread Muffins 3 Ways
with frosting

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Basic Banana

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light spelt flour (or a mix of hard wholewheat & a/p)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond buttermilk (slightly less than 1 cup milk (can use dairy) + 1tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup browned butter
  • 2 1/2 large bananas, over ripe
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup

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Hazelnut Banana

  • Use recipe above and add 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or nut of your choice

Sesame Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter (I used pre-salted, if you’re using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ~ 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3-4 tsp tahini (ground sesame paste) or other nut butter

Vanilla-Hazelnut Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter (I used pre-salted, if you’re using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ~ 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 tsp hazelnut extract

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Chocolate Banana

  • 1 1/2 cups minus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups minus 3 tablespoons spelt flour
  • 6 tbsp cacao or good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond buttermilk (slightly less than 1 cup milk (can use dairy) + 1tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup browned butter
  • 2 1/2 large bananas, over ripe
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup

Bourbon-Vanilla Mascarpone Frosting

  • 6 tbsp butter (I used pre-salted, if you’re using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 9 tbsp mascarpone
  • 2.5-3 cups icing sugar, to desired consistency
  • 3 tsp bourbon-vanilla (can sub 1/2 regular vanilla extract & 1/2 bourbon or other whiskey)

For muffins:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a standard muffin pan with butter or coconut oil.

2. In a small sauce pan, melt 1/3 cup butter over medium heat and reduce to low to brown. The butter with sizzle and froth, but eventually subside, this shouldn’t take any more than 10 minutes. Once the froth has subsided, keep a close eye on the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until it begins to smell nutty and turn golden. The butter won’t be brown at this point. Transfer the butter to a clean glass dish to cool and continue to brown. Make sure to get all of the darker bits that collect at the bottom of the pan – they’re delicious!

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients (up to and including cane sugar) and set aside.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar and eggs until homogenous. Once the browned butter has cooled slightly, slowly stream into the eggs while whisking to avoid cooking the eggs. Mash in over-ripe bananas, vanilla, maple syrup and almond buttermilk.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined – if making the hazelnut muffins, add the chopped hazelnuts now – and divide the batter evenly in muffin tin. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until firm and springy when poked on their peak, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6. Allow muffins to cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes and then to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

For frostings:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand if you’re feeling energized, beat butter (and coconut oil if making a buttercream) until slightly softened and beginning to stick to the sides of the bowl.
If making mascarpone, beat in the mascarpone now until homogenous.
Next add in your extracts/vanilla bean paste or sesame tahini, followed by icing sugar. Mascarpone frosting is complete. For buttercream, you may need to stream in 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream to reach desired consistency.
Frost muffins once they’re cool, garnish with chopped hazelnuts, sesame seeds, etc.

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These muffins, when frosted, keep best in an airtight container in the refrigerator, brought to room temperature before eating for best texture.
If you decide not to frost your muffins, they can be kept in an airtight container for several days at room temperature.

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4 thoughts on “Brown-Butter Banana Muffins, 3 ways + frosting!

  1. Ahhh I LOVE banana bread, so banana bread three ways is even better!!! Do you read Imma Eat That by any chance? She did a fabulous three layer banana bread loaf that kind of reminds me of these. Anyway, beautiful photos!!

    1. Triple layer banana bread!?!?! That does sound delightful. I’ve never heard of it, but I’ll check it out. Who DOESN’T love banana bread?!
      Thank you ❤

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