Banana Muffin Breakthrough!

First things first, I HATE baking.  Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate baked goods per say,  just any personal involvement in the act of baking.  Here is my beef with the whole thing: I can not stand how baking requires you to dirty multiple bowls, utensils, instruments & pans to generate an expensive and labour-intensive item that you feel guilty about eating anyway.  Sure they are tasty and pretty to look at, buy I would so much rather disgrace myself with an antipasto platter than a passion fruit pavlova (or apple pie depending where you are from).

However, faced with a surplus of seriously rotten bananas (and some fairly old milk) I was forced to devise a few sneaky techniques that may just help overcome my baking aversion.  It is early days yet but I am already leafing through some long-lost baking recipes that may – if able to be adapted – see the light of day in this household. (Particularly since if my kids don’t see them at home, they are highly unlikely to ever encounter such delicacies as Snickerdoodles or Boston Cream Pie in Scotland.)

rotten bananas

So, returning to the rotten bananas that required my attention.  I had a real dilemma as not only as I am averse to  wasting food, but I am also in possession of probably the best Banana Bread Recipe known to human-kind…known in our house as Laura Is Bananas Bread (Laura’s for short) after my sister who made this endlessly in our youth.

toolsl & tricks

Now, in my youth Banana Bread was always..bread, as in baked in a loaf pan.  It took a month of Sundays to cook and absolutely required the full treatment of greasing & flouring the tin (plus extending cooling on its side whilst still in pan ?) if you had any hope of averting disaster in the unmoulding process.  So, here are my tweaks & tricks: 1) remake as muffin for faster cooking time, easier clean up & portion control, 2)  do away with anything electrical for general bother and noise pollution, 3) only use ONE bowl & 4) optional use of hand-held sieve & ice cream scoop to speed things up ( but it can all be accomplished without these last two bits).

I need to take just a second to apologise for the dramatic decrease in photo quality for the images in this post.  A few nights ago I was out trying to photograph the annual Beltane Celebration in Edinburgh and dropped the lens to my snazzy camera.  It was cold, dark, hilly & crowded and I had to contend with a whole lot of this…


so you can see I was not just being careless with my things!  Fret not, a replacement part is in the post and future images will be more delectable I assure you.

Back to our streamlined baking.  As previously stated it is crucial to anyone feeling skittish toward baking that you only use ONE bowl for the project.  Get a big one and fling softened butter, sugar, bananas & vanilla together.  Smoosh, fold and mix until thoroughly combined.  If this takes more than 30 seconds or requires any real exertion the butter is just not soft enough, so you need to put the spoon down and go have a cup of coffee.

Wet mix combo

Now you just need to add two eggs and a half a cup of milk that is either sour & chunky because you are a bad housekeeper, or because you have added a wee glug of vinegar to curdle.  This is important to the overall flavour and texture so don’t skip this step!

Dry Ingredients

Now here is where  my serious lazy bones ingenuity kicks in, avoid using a second bowl by laying out a large piece of wax/greaseproof paper to save having to clean up either a bowl or your counter top.  Whack all the dry ingredients in the sieve together and shuggle until fine.  Pick up the whole piece of paper and happily dump it into the bowl with the wet ingredients.

cups & cleanup

Avoid even MORE prep and clean up by using paper baking cases in a muffin tin, and for the truly lazy use a self-cleaning ice cream scoop for speed and even portions.  Now you can see the bowl on the far right is all you have to clean up for the whole of the baking process! ( All three pieces can easily go into the dishwasher if you were so inclined.)  Additionally, if you are careful filling the muffin tins a simple wipe with a damp cloth post baking and they are cupboard ready friends.

Banana Muffin

And it has to be said, these really are absolutely delicious.  They are good on their own, topped, they freeze well and basically just rock.  In fact, at last count THREE separate people I have shared this recipe with,  turned around and started selling it as their own!  They however did not have to chance to benefit from this new aerodynamic strategy, so you will have one up on them:).  So the next time you have rotten bananas, curdled milk and very little time,  just remember something delicious could be right around the corner.

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend, Cinco de Mayo or Generic Sunday wherever you may call home!

Laura's Banana Muffins


  • 3/4 cup (175 g ) Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g ) Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (apprx 3 medium) Bananas, mashed (Best Rotten)
  • 2 medium Eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Milk (Best Soured)
  • 2 cups (500 g ) Flour All Purpose/Plain
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml) Salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Baking Soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C
  2. In a large bowl place butter, sugar, bananas, eggs & vanilla.
  3. Mash and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Curdle 1/2 cup of milk with a teaspoon of vinegar & add to wet mix.
  5. Place a large piece of wax/greaseproof paper on the counter top.
  6. In a large sieve place flour, salt & baking soda and sift onto wax/greaseproof paper.
  7. Mix dry ingredients into the wet mixture in bowl - mix thoroughly.
  8. Place paper cases into a baking tray and fill each no more than 3/4 of way to top.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown in top and a toothpick comes clean from muffins.
  10. Cool on a rack.
  11. Once cooled can be frozen and thawed for easy snacking.

Comments (16)

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  1. Margy says:

    I am with you sister – baking stinks. Too Fussy and you really have to follow the rules. UMMMM not for us. I spent the day happily slow roasting a pig shoulder to make my first pulled pork. made a side of asian slaw. delish XO

  2. Susan M says:

    I have to admit – I LIKE baking – and hate roasts because there is all that ‘juggling’ of time with roast potatoes and veg and yorkshire pudding and gravy etc oh and don’t forget to carve the meat AND keep it all hot! *shudder* lol!!!

    I love making muffins ! Banana especially – but I use the deeper muffin paper cases that you can buy from most supermarkets in the UK. Means you get one of those more typical shaped muffins that we Brits associate with the USA!

    BTW – if you DO feel like baking a ‘loaf’ shape – and want to avoid all that greasing/dusting with flour etc … Look in Lakeland. You can buy paper cases that fit loaf tins doing away with all that work !

    I must try your recipe!!

    • Jean says:

      My next experience is to make Stick Toffee Pudding Muffins! Just trying to decide if toffee should go inside as goo or on top maybe a bit whipped. Any suggestions? After that it is on to Banoffee Pie Muffins – how exciting is my life?!

      • Lianne Wehnert says:

        I make a sticky toffee loaf which has a toffee frosting made with evaporated milk and dark brown sugar. The frosting really tastes like toffee and there is always lots of surplus to eat from the bowl (surely the whole point in baking!)

        • Susan M says:

          And … you are just going to leave us with that and NO recipe ??? That is cruel !!! lol!! Please Lianne do give us the recipe !!

          • Lianne says:

            I am being a bit naughty because it is a Delia recipe and I got it from a supplement in the Mail on Sunday. I will have a look online and see if I can find it.

          • Lianne says:

            110g stoned dates
            50g pecan nuts
            110g spreadable butter
            50g black treacle
            175g golden syrup
            150ml milk
            2 large eggs
            225g plain flour
            1 level teaspoon mixed spice
            2 level teaspoons ground ginger
            1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

            For the icing

            4 tablespoons evaporated milk
            3 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar
            50g butter
            150g golden icing sugar

            Kitchen kit

            a 2lb loaf tin, lined with a 2lb traditional loaf-tin liner

            Pre-heat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2.
            First place the tins of black treacle and golden syrup (without lids) in a saucepan of barely simmering water to warm it and make it easier to measure. Next prepare the dates and pecans. The nuts should be chopped fairly small and the dates should be chopped into equally small pieces.
            Now to make the cake mixture: place the butter, black treacle and syrup in a large saucepan and melt them together over a gentle heat. Remove the mixture from the heat, let it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the milk.
            Now beat the eggs and add those to the syrup mixture as well. Next sift the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and gradually whisk the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit, until you have a smooth batter. Then lightly stir in the pecans and about two thirds of the dates, and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Now lightly drop the rest of the dates on the top, pushing them gently in with a skewer. I find adding this amount of dates last of all gives a better distribution of fruit as the mixture is a fairly slack one.
            Place the cake on a lower shelf so that the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven and bake it for 1½ hours to 1 hour 50 minutes, by which time it will have a very rounded, slightly cracked top. Cool it in the tin for about half an hour before turning it out.
            To make the icing: in a small saucepan melt together the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter, then simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. After that, tip it into a bowl and leave it to cool. Then sift in the golden icing sugar and whisk everything together till smooth. Finally, using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top of the cooled cake. Keep the cake in a tin in its liner – and it does seem to improve if kept for a couple of days before eating.

            Case notes

            Visit for 2lb traditional loaf liners, parchment cake-tin base liners, mini parchment roll for the sides of tins, 18cm liners for parkin, parchment-lined foil and general kitchenware.

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          • Jean says:

            Can not wait to try these, thanks for posting!

  3. jess says:

    baking gets a bum rap!!! but this is great, love your innovations…

  4. Susan M says:

    @ Jean – I would go for inside – but be careful about serving them warm as the toffee might hold the heat and you don’t want any burned mouthes !!! They sound delicious though …

    I just made some Orange with dried Cranberry Muffins and they were scrumptious !!! [No fresh cranberries in Portugal sadly .. 🙁 ]

  5. Ken McGuire says:

    Hi, nice article. I really like it!

  6. Jane says:

    Excellent site you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find
    quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

  7. Kelly & Calum says:

    Dear Auntie Jean,

    We made these this morning and Calum thinks they are the BEST Muffins EVER!

    Thankyou for the recipe, looking forward to our beach day soon!

    Kelly & Calum

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