Pareve Dessert Worth the Calories: Nano Muffins

Banana (nano) muffins

(Mini banana muffins, get it?)

This recipe was adapted from the Rochester Hadassah Cookbook, one of the great kosher cookbooks. But if you look for it there, it’s called “Banana Chocolate Chip Bars,” submitted by Tillie Levinson. Those bars are my mom’s go-to recipe for a fleishig holiday meal. Chances are, if she’s serving chicken for dinner, she’ll be serving banana chip bars for dessert. If she doesn’t, we’ll all be looking wistfully at the dessert plate. My mom’s generous distribution of Tillie’s banana bars to family, friends, anyone new to the area or in need of a little extra care always ensured the love was well-distributed.

Banana (nano) muffinsAs much as I love this recipe as it was originally written, what my daughter asked for the other day was banana nut muffins. So I took the same base batter, left out the chocolate chips, added nuts, oats and wheat germ and poured it into mini muffin cups. Voila: nano muffins! There’s no reason you couldn’t use nuts and chocolate chips. Both. Oooh. . .  If you need to bake nut-free, leave out the pecans and the ground almonds. They weren’t there in the first place, and the recipe was still awesome.

A note on safety ( and I am serious about this): If you, like me, like to peel and freeze your bananas once they start getting brown, you have to thaw them at least a little before putting them in the mixer, or you get greased ballistic missiles screaming out of the batter at high speeds.

Another note of caution: many chocolate chips contain dairy products. If you are serving people who observe the Kashrut laws and want to make this a 100% nondairy item, read the package carefully. Chocolate chips that say pareve with a hechsher are best.

The recipe:

  • 1 eggMixing banana (nano) muffins
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup shortening or pareve margarine (or butter if you don’t care about dairy)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas, AT LEAST PARTIALLY THAWED if frozen. Fresh would be fine.)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup ground almond meal
  • 1 TBS rolled oats
  • 1 TBS wheat germ
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or chocolate chips or a mixture of both

Pouring banana (nano) muffin batter into mini muffin tinsPlace egg, oil, shortening, sugars, banana, salt and vanilla in a large bowl and beat well at high speed until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix baking powder, almond meal, rolled oats, wheat germ and flour. Add to egg/banana mixture and beat just until combined. Add chocolate chips and/or nuts and stir. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking pan or mini muffin tins.

Bake at 350° until golden brown. Time will depend on the size of your pan or muffin cups. A 9×13 pan takes 20-25 minutes, and mini muffin pan less than 10—watch them so they don’t overcook. This is a forgiving recipe; as long as the center is fully set, it’s good (i.e., the center should not be jiggly when pan is shaken). My mom likes to watch for the moment when the cake just starts to pull away from the edge of the pan.

Banana (nano) muffins in bar formIf you’re making bars, let the pan cool completely before cutting them. These freeze beautifully if you are making them ahead, and frozen bars are easier to cut and somewhat slower to disappear out of the freezer than warm ones left unattended on the counter.

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Written by Sialia

Sialia likes to cook, write, draw and paint in her free time and enjoys exploring the outdoors. Sometimes she manages to get in a workout at the OFJCC or the APJCC (network membership is the best) in between her job and carpooling children up and down the Peninsula.

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