Introduction: Perfect Banana Crumb Muffins
These banana crumb muffins are loaded with moist, mashed ripe bananas and made so special and inviting by a buttery, crumbly sweet sugar topping. The brown sugar crumb topping is what makes these banana muffins stand apart from the ordinary muffins. They're perfect for breakfast, dessert, tea-time or anytime of the day. Above all, it's so simple to make and super delicious. ENJOY!
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (187g)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sugar (150g)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted and room temperature
Topping for muffin:
1/4 cup brown sugar (55g)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 tbsp butter 14g, room temperature
Step 1: First Preheat Oven to 190 Degree C (375 F).
Preheating the oven is especially important for baking. By preheating the oven, we allow it time to reach the correct temperature in order to bake the muffins perfectly. A preheated oven will cook these muffins all the way to its centre before the outside gets burnt.
In general, the middle of the oven is best for even baking. So placing rack in the centre of oven during baking allows for even baking and overall same baking time.
Step 2: Line a Muffin Pan With Muffin Cup Liners.
Using muffin cup liners make cleanup so much easier. Without the liners, you will need to scrub into each of the muffin cup in the pan individually, which maybe quite a tedious process. Also, they keep the muffin sides nice and soft and help prevent potential burning on the sides of the muffins.
Step 3: Then Prepare the DRY Ingredients Needed to Make the Muffins.
Be sure to sift all dry ingredients after measuring them. Sifting aerates the flour, resulting in lighter and airer muffins. You can also sift the flour with the other dry ingredients to ensure they are well mixed.
Step 4: In a Large Bowl, First Add in Flour.
Use a large bowl for this purpose to ensure the DRY ingredients can be well mixed.
Step 5: Then Add in Baking Powder.
Baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that causes the muffin batter to rise when baked. It consists of baking soda, acid salts and cornstarch to absorb any moisture so a reaction does not take place until a liquid is added to the batter. Most baking powder used today is double-acting which means it reacts to liquid and heat and happens in two stages. The first reaction takes place when baking powder is added to the batter and it is moistened. One of the acid salts reacts with baking soda and produces carbon dioxide gas. The second reaction takes place when the batter is placed in the oven. The carbon dioxide gas expand causing the muffin batter to rise. Because of the two stages, baking of the batter can be delayed for about 15 minutes without it losing its leavening power.
Too much baking powder can cause the muffin batter to be bitter. It can also results in the batter rising rapidly and then collapsed. Muffins will have a coarse crumb with a fallen centre. Too much baking powder results in tough muffins which has poor volume and a compact crumb.
To test baking powder's effectiveness:
Mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/2 cup hot water and the mixture should bubble immediately.
Step 6: Followed by Baking Soda.
The baking soda added helps to neutralise the acids (from the mashed bananas) in the batter.
This recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda. This is because the carbon dioxide created when the baking soda reacts with the acid isn't enough to leaven the amount of batter in the recipe. That's why baking powder is added to give the necessary extra lift to the muffin batter. Another reason to use both baking powder and baking soda is it add more flavour and better browning to the baked muffins.
Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse crumb.
To test baking soda effectiveness:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar and the mixture should bubble immediately.
Step 7: Lastly, Add in the Salt.
Try using a fine grain salt (iodizied salt) for baking the muffins. The fine grain will blend into the muffin batter perfectly. Coarse salt on the other hand will leave tiny salty bites in the baked muffins.
Salt used in the batter balances and enhances the flavour of the sweet muffins. It also helps to create a solid structure for the baked muffins and aids in browning.
Step 8: Mix Everything Together.
When using baking powder and/or baking soda, be sure to sift or use a wire whisk to mix with the other dry ingredients before adding to the wet batter to ensure uniformity. Otherwise the baked muffins will have large holes in them.
Step 9: Prepare the WET Ingredients Needed to Make the Muffins.
This is the best time to use up leftover overripe bananas. The riper the bananas, the stronger and sweeter the banana flavour.
Melt butter on stove or in a microwave until t's almost melted but a few small solid pieces remain. Remove and stir until it's completely melted.
Lightly beat the eggs. Be sure the eggs are at room temperature. Adding cold eggs could re-harden the fat, making the batter appear curdled and lumpy. With room temperature eggs, the muffins will be light and fluffy. Simply remove the eggs from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use. Otherwise, place the eggs in a bowl and cover them with warm tap water for about 5 minutes or until they are no longer cool to the touch.
For most muffin recipes, sugar is considered a wet ingredient.
Step 10: In a Medium Size Bowl, Add in the Mashed Bananas.
Mashing bananas is essential for this banana muffin recipe. First peel off the entire banana peels from the bananas. Then, in a large bowl or plate, use the bottom of a spoon or fork to press down on the bananas. Continue this process until the bananas are well mashed.
Step 11: Add Sugar Into the Mashed Bananas.
The purpose of sugar in baking is an important aspect. It plays a vital role in the formation and taste of these baked muffins.
Sugar adds sweetness as well as contribute to the browning of the muffins. Sugar also makes the muffins more tender without chewiness by preventing gluten from forming. It also means that the batter will rise more during baking. Sugar holds moisture so it also acts as a preservative, hence the baked muffins will be moist and last longer. The sugar crystals cutting into the butter help to form the structure of the muffins by making small holes which are filled with carbon dioxide when the leavening agents react.
Step 12: Then Add the Lightly Beaten Egg.
Use large room temperature eggs.
Beat the eggs with a fork just enough to blend the whites and yolks and there is no trace / streaks of just whites or yolks.
Step 13: Mix Everything Together With a Fork.
Mix to ensure the WET ingredients are well combined.
Step 14: Then Add the Melted Butter.
Butter can be melted quickly in the microwave or slowly on the stovetop. The melted butter should be cooled down to just above room temperature before using. This could take between 1 to 5 minutes. A basic guideline is that the melted butter should be cool enough to handle easily but not so cold that it starts to resolidify.
Step 15: Mix Well.
Combine to mix thoroughly all the WET ingredients before adding to the DRY ingredients.
Step 16: Then Add the WET Banana Mixture Into the DRY Flour Mixture.
WET and DRY ingredients should be mixed separately and thoroughly before combining.
Muffins are made using the 'muffin method' of combining the WET ingredients in one bowl and the DRY ingredients in another and folding the two together.
Make a well in the centre of the DRY flour mixture and then pour the WET banana mixture into it.
Step 17: Gently Stir Everything Together Until Its JUST Moistened.
Using a spatula, gently mix the DRY and WET ingredients together until it's JUST moistened. Use a light hand when making muffins. Never over-mix the batter or the muffins will become tough textured.
The consistency of the batter should be like a less-sticky cookie batter. Too much liquid in the batter will create uneven muffins.
Step 18: Use an Ice-cream Scoop to Spoon Batter Into the Muffin Cups.
The way you transfer batter into the muffin cups makes a difference in the way the muffins look. A great way to make sure all the muffins are the exact same size is to use an ice-cream scoop to spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
For standard size muffins, use an ice-cream scoop that holds 3 - 4 tablespoons or you can use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and a spatula.
For mini size muffins, use an ice-cream scoop that holds 1 1/2 tablespoons or you can use a 1 tablespoon measure with a heaping scoop of batter.
For jumbo size muffins, use an ice-cream scoop that holds 11 - 12 tablespoons or you can use a 1/4 cup measuring cup (3 times) and a spatula.
Alternatively, just use 2 spoon method to fill the muffin liners till 2/3 full.
Step 19: Fill Till 2/3 Full.
For any size muffins, it is important to fill each muffin cup till 2/3 full so the batter doesn't rise too high and spill over the top. A muffin needs room to rise. It may be tempting to fill each cup to the brim in order to get the perfect domed shape muffin top. However very often than not, this may results in muffins sticking together at the top of the rim and also results in over-cooked muffin tops.
A trick to get domed shape muffins is to preheat oven to 200 degree C (400 degree F). Then place the filled muffin pan in the centre rack of the oven, shut the oven door and then reduce the temperature to 190 degree C (375 degree F). This burst of heat will cook and set the outside of the muffins. The centre of the muffins will then bake up and the muffins will start to rise as if it is baking up in its cooked outer shell, instead of baking up and spreading over the sides.
This recipe for standard size makes 12 muffins, for mini size makes 24 mini muffins and for jumbo size makes 8 giant muffins.
Step 20: Next, Prepare Ingredients to Make the Topping for the Muffins.
When baking muffins, a sprinkling of a simple to make topping makes for a nice touch. All crumb toppings generally use about the same ingredients. A basic banana muffin is made extraordinary with a brown sugar crumb topping that will melt in your mouth.
Step 21: In a Small Bowl, Add in the Brown Sugar Followed by All-purpose Flour.
Brown sugar is a refined sugar that varies in colour from light to dark brown and has a full-bodied flavour and soft moist texture. It is made by adding molasses back into refined white sugar. Brown sugar tend to lump and become hard. To avoid this, store in a glass or plastic jar in a cool dry place.
Make sure the brown sugar is free of lump when added together with the all-purpose flour.
Be sure to sift the all-purpose flour to remove any impurities.
Step 22: Lastly, Add the Ground Cinnamon.
Ground cinnamon adds flavour to the crumb topping.
It is best to buy ground cinnamon in small quantities as the freshness and flavour disappear rather quickly.
Step 23: Mix the Topping Ingredients Together.
Using a fork or spatula, mix thoroughly to combine well the brown sugar, all-purpose flour and ground cinnamon.
Step 24: Using a Fork, Cut in the Butter Into the Sugar Mixture.
Using a fork, cut the butter into the well-mixed brown sugar mixture and use room temperature butter.
Step 25: Rub in the Butter Until the Mixture Resembles Coarse Crumbs.
Using your fingertips, finish working butter into the flour mixture and squeezing until a nice crumbly mixture forms.
Step 26: Sprinkle the Buttery Sugar Topping Over the Muffins.
Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the buttery sugar topping to completely over the top of each muffin. Lightly pressed the topping to ensure it sticks to the top of the muffins.
Step 27: Place the Muffin Pan Into the Preheated Oven.
Do not put the muffin pan in the oven until it is fully preheated. Otherwise the muffin bottoms may be over-baked.
Always place the muffin pan in the centre of the oven rack positioned in the centre of the oven. Muffins closer to the oven wall will cook more quickly than those in the centre. If there is sufficient space between the muffins and the oven wall, there is no need to turn your muffin pan midway through the cooking time as this will cause a quick temperature flux by opening the oven door.
Step 28: Bake for 23 Minutes or Until a Toothpick Inserted in the Centre of Muffin Comes Out Clean.
Many factors can affect the cooking time as everyone's oven is different. The colour and thickness of the muffin pan used may vary and this will also affect the cooking time. Hence be sure to check the muffins for doneness 5 minutes before the stated time by inserting a toothpick in the centre of each muffin which should comes out clean when it's baked.
Most jumbo size muffins bake between 21 to 25 minutes.
Most standard size muffins bake between 16 to 20 minutes.
Most mini size muffins bake around 12 to 15 minutes.
Step 29: Remove the Muffin Tray From Oven and Cool on Oven Rack, About 5 Minutes.
Do not cool baked muffins completely in the muffin pan. Only cool for about 5 minutes and quickly remove muffins to cool completely on a wire rack. When left in the muffin pan for too long, the steam inside muffins can't escape and will sit in the pan and sweat, leaving a wet base and will result in soggy baked muffins.
Step 30: Transfer the Muffins to Cool Completely on Cooling Rack. and We're Done!
Cooling the muffins on a wire rack allows air to circulate around them, letting the steam escape and leaving you with muffins that have a dry base and a delicious crumb.
Step 31: As With All Muffins, These Muffins Are Best Eaten the Day They're Baked.
These muffins with a layer of crispy, crumbly streusel topping are at their best the day they're baked. In fact, some of us may love the uppermost crispy topping so much that we'll eat that part first. However this crispy topping gets moist and mushy the minute they are stored. So in order to keep the topping from turning soggy the next day, try putting a few soda crackers in with the muffins when you store them. This crackers act to absorb all the moisture and will keep these muffin tops crisp.
Note: (For non-soggy muffin storage)
Be sure to cool the muffins completely before storing.
Store the muffins in a single layer.
Place paper towels above and below the muffins to soak up all the moisture.