Whole wheat chai banana muffins are a delicious and easy to bake breakfast or brunch treat. They’re even freezer friendly so you can grab and go anytime!
I was going to start this post telling you how I made these muffins after forgetting to separate a bunch of bananas after bringing them home from the store, causing them to ripen at once and requiring me to use them. But then I remembered a more interesting story that still baffles me. Last year, we went on a day trip to the National Harbor with friends and there was a “farmer’s market” set up in the middle of the pedestrian area. Cool, right? Only a stand that had a sign about “local produce” was selling bananas. BANANAS. In Virginia… in August… bless.
Clearly, I can’t shop for bananas in Virginia the same way again. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the growing zones for bananas, bananas require a tropical climate, which is not gardening zone 4 in the mid-Atlantic. The fact I can tell you which gardening zone I live in now is a big deal for me, we should celebrate by making chai banana muffins. 😉
The idea for these muffins came along in a roundabout way one day after I had been poking around my friend Whitney’s blog (Whitbit’s Kitchen). I was looking for an Indian recipe to make, but I got distracted and found myself in the dessert section looking at cakes. Her banana caramel cake and a vanilla chai cake sort of blended together and became chai banana muffins for me, and this recipe, which is my adaptation of this Taste of Home recipe.
I don’t know what took me so long to make this flavor combination. I love chai and have used it before in dessert recipes like this one and this one, but I hadn’t combined it with banana before, and I like it! So does everyone else in the house and a few neighbors with whom I shared treats. 🙂
The chai banana muffins aren’t super sweet, and the chai flavor is subtle, blending perfectly with the banana. I added a bit of pecans to one batch and almonds to another for a bit more protein and healthy fats, but you can omit the nuts or even replace with chocolate chips for a bit of variety.
I baked the cupcakes in stand alone chevron baking cups. After sharing with friends, I was still left with plenty for my family, and I decided to freeze them as little miss adored the flavor and called them “cupcakes”. If a whole wheat chai banana muffin is a ready stand-in for a cupcake, I approve. We just enjoyed the last of the muffins this morning with breakfast, and they held up beautifully. To freeze, wait until the muffins are completely cooled and then store in an airtight freezer container. Thaw by warming for a few minutes in the oven or 15 seconds in the microwave. These were so convenient on rushed mornings or for a quick afternoon snack.
Enjoy! Oh, and if you haven’t already, go check out Whitney’s site. She has lots of fun international dishes. I made her baked tandoori chicken recently and loved it, and I’m about to go make some rosemary and Parmesan gougeres as soon as I hit “publish”.
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour (170 g)
- 3 medium bananas
- ⅓ cup neutral-flavored oil (2.5 oz)
- ⅔ cup lightly packed brown sugar (140 g)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg, large
- 2 tbsp flax meal (12 g)
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp chai tea blend (12 g)
- 1 cup chopped pecans or almonds, divided (114 g)
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F (gas mark 4, 180 C) and line a muffin tin with liners.
- In a small mixing bowl, mash together the bananas, oil, and egg. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, stir together the flour, ground flax, baking soda, chai tea, salt, and brown sugar.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Stir in ⅔ cup chopped nuts, if using.
- Divide the batter among the muffin tins (I got 15 muffins in a batch), and top with turbinado sugar and the remaining ⅓ cup of chopped nuts, if desired.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until a tester inserted into a center muffin comes out mostly clean or with one or two moist crumbs attached.
- Allow the muffins to cool on a rack before storing. Will keep 3 days on the counter, 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer.