Pantry friendly baking recipes are always good to have on hand, and these incredibly flexible pumpkin banana muffins are a prime example. They can be tweaked in a variety of ways depending on what you have on hand, they’re super easy, and they’re definitely delicious (not to mention fairly healthy too—but your kids won’t know that).
I am a good planner, but my mental pantry inventory is flawed. To that end, I regularly discover extreme surpluses of certain items because I haven’t the faintest recollection that I already have more than is necessary, and I keep bringing more home.
This happened to me recently when I was assessing the pantry situation and stocking up during pandemic preparations. Turns out, I’m set for canned pumpkin for a while. Then the grocery delivery arrived with four pounds of bananas instead of four single fruits. Pumpkin banana muffins to the rescue! I originally developed this recipe to encourage my fruit- and vegetable-averse child to consume any amount of this food group in any form. Much to my delight, he happily devours these.
These muffins are infinitely flexible:
- Use whole wheat, white whole wheat, or all-purpose white flour.
- Want more spice? Substitute pumpkin pie spice for cinnamon.
- Use pumpkin, smashed ripe bananas, applesauce, or whatever leftover fruit puree packets your kids suddenly refuse to eat.
- Don’t like chocolate (we are probably not friends but OK)? Skip it.
- Add nuts if you wish.
- Add coconut if you’re feeling tropical.
- Use up your whole pantry. It’s your muffin party.
There’s not much sugar in the batter, but I like to top them with a little cinnamon and sugar mixture, which forms a crunchy-sweet crust. If you use applesauce, you can reduce the sugar a little more if you wish.
Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour (whole-wheat or all-purpose white flour are also fine)
- 2/3 cup sugar (coconut or white sugar); ½ c additional white sugar for topping
- 2/3 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, divided
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, and/or applesauce (or any combination to total 1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (mini chips work best for mini muffins, optional but recommended)
- ½ cup chopped nuts and/or unsweetened coconut, toasted (optional)
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line muffin pan with paper cupcake cups and lightly mist papers with cooking spray. Combine flour, flax, baking soda, baking powder, 2 tablespoons cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
- In a separate bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to ½ cup white sugar and stir to combine. If using nuts or coconut, toast them in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until golden and fragrant. Chop and put aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, beating until well-blended. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly before adding the next one. Beat in fruit puree and vanilla, scraping down the sides with a spatula to make sure it’s all combined.
- Add flour mixture to the butter/fruit batter, stirring with a spatula until no visible flour remains. Don’t overmix! Add chocolate chips (and nuts and or coconut if you prefer) and stir to combine. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon, fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with a little of the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake mini muffins for 15 minutes, regular muffins for 20 minutes or until puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack, but they are great to eat slightly warm.
- Once cool, store in a sealed container for 1-2 days at room temperature. Freeze for up to a month.
OXO Good Grips Small Scoop, $14 from Sur La Table
For perfectly portioned mini muffins.
Wilton Ultra Bake Professional 24 Cup Nonstick Mini Muffin Pan, $8.99 from Target
Bake all kinds of bite-sized treats.
Another Use for Your Mini Muffin Pan
Header image by Chowhound