One thing I always seem to have floating around my house is overripe bananas. I know I can freeze them and use them in smoothies, but I don’t love the overpowering flavor of bananas in smoothies. Especially when said bananas were super brown before making it to the fridge.
Sometimes I make Banana Split Breakfast Cheesecakes or Chocolate Banana Oat Bars or even Ricotta Cheese with Sautéed Bananas. And occasionally I will use one of those bananas to make a smoothie. But can be I honest here? I really don’t like the flavor of bananas in smoothies. I think that banana has a tendency to take over the entire smoothie and mask the other flavors, especially if it is super ripe, so I pretty much use bananas in my smoothies sparingly.
Without the doubt, the most frequent recipe I make when I have overripe bananas begging to be used is some type of banana bread or muffin. Everyone in my family loves these sweet, healthy treats and there are so many variations that we never get bored eating bananas bread.
There’s my Best Banana Bread Ever, Chocolate Banana Muffins, Banana Oatmeal Bread, Banana Sunbutter Muffins, Marble Banana Bread, and Banana Oat Muffins, just to name a few. This week I decided to add some cold brew coffee to my banana muffins, and while it might seem like an unconventional choice the results was a delicious, moist, mocha-infused muffin. (Just thought I should mention, a number of the recipes a linked to are from the way-back blog and so the photos are pretty crummy. I’m sorry about that, but the recipes are still ones we make regularly. Also, I am just now realizing that as often as I make banana-based breads, I haven’t shared too many of them on the blog. You should probably expect at least one banana bread recipe a month for the foreseeable future).
Beyond the endless variations there are a few other reasons that I, as the mom, really love banana bread. For one thing, these breads and muffins come together quickly – usually I just use two bowls, one to mash the bananas, to which I add the wet ingredients, and one to whisk together the dry ingredients. Muffins only take about 18 minutes to bake, and while banana bread does take about an hour, it is pretty hands off baking time.
I also love that I can so easily sneak healthy ingredients into banana breads. For one thing, the banana is naturally sweet so it doesn’t need much additional sweetener at all – I never add more than a 1/2 cup of sweetener to my banana baked goods. I also almost always use whole wheat flour – I think the slightly more dense texture is the perfect complement to the banana’s liquid properties. I also like to sprinkle in some wheat germ or flax seeds or oats or. . . . just to increase the nutritional profile of the recipe.
Finally, I use oils sparingly in these recipes – usually no more than 4 tablespoons of olive oil or butter, and often less. I find that the texture of the banana and some good Greek yogurt, or in this case ricotta cheese, doesn’t require much oil to stay light
To make the Magnificent Mocha Banana Muffins I started by preheating my oven to 375 degrees and then lined a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl I mashed up two overripe bananas (in my case they were very overripe), then I added two eggs, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of cold brew coffee, 4 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter, 1/2 cup if unsweetened applesauce and 1 cup of ricotta cheese and mixed well until the ingredients were well-blended.
In a large bowl, I whisked together whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then, switching to a hand mixer, I blended in the brown sugar. Then I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and used the mixer to blend just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
Using a 1/2 cup scoop I filled the muffins cups almost to the top, sprinkled the tops off each muffin with chocolate chips and baked at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until the muffins were golden brown and springy. After removing from the oven I let the muffins cool in the pan for about ten minutes before removing to the wire rack to cool completely.
We love to eat these muffins for snacks throughout the day, but they also make a great breakfast or even a light dessert. Muffins will keep stored in an airtight container for 3 days or the refrigerator for up to a week.
P.S.: Tell me – what’s your favorite way to use up overripe bananas?