In elementary school, my friend Emma would sometimes bring banana muffins that her mom made. Her other friends and I would crowd around her, asking for just a little bite and, because Emma was really nice, she would give us some. Once in a while, she would bring extra and we could each have half a muffin! Those muffins would be the highlight of our week. I remember them so well and I always associate banana muffins with Emma and her mom. I also remember the first time I saw blackened bananas in her freezer. I didn't know why someone would keep expired fruit in their freezer... But that's how I found out that it's essential for the bananas to be at least a little brown. Normally, I wait until my bananas are completely black - no yellow whatsoever. However, I was getting tired of having granola every morning and I had some slightly overripe bananas just sitting on my counter.
A year or two ago, I decided that I wanted to recreate Emma's moms muffins. I started off with a basic banana muffin recipe - no good. Too cakey and sticky. So, I modified it. And modified it. And modified it. I changed just about everything in the recipe so much that I didn't even bother looking at the old recipe, I had a new one in my head. As it turns out, they were nothing like Emma's moms muffins. Hers were dense and were just banana, whereas mine are a bit less dense and there's oatmeal and chocolate chunks in there. A couple months ago, I went to Emma's place and saw that her mom had made banana muffins. I had hyped these up in my head ever since elementary school and seeing them again was like seeing a celebrity. I took a bite... and was a bit disappointed. Maybe I had hyped them up too much or maybe I was used to my muffins, but they just weren't as great as I remember. It was a bit heartbreaking to find out that something I had idolized wasn't all that it was cracked up to be, but at least I still have my muffins to idolize.
Emma, if you're reading this, don't tell your mom I prefer my muffins over hers.
I find muffin recipes to be pretty versatile. If you don't want oatmeal in your muffins, don't put oatmeal in! Just substitute it with flour or whatever else you think would be good - maybe bran, maybe some ground flax seed, maybe walnuts! You want to add more spice? Go nuts! You want to put more chocolate in? Go for it! Once, I even chopped up a banana and put it into the batter just before I put them in the muffin cups, just to make it even more banana-y.
Oatmeal Banana Muffins
4 large bananas, preferably blackened
1/2 cup light brown sugar (you can also use brown sugar)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup large rolled oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Oats for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put your muffin cups in a muffin tin.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Toss in the oats.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chunks and stir again.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cups. You can make a lot of small muffins or several large ones, whichever you prefer. Keep in mind that if you make the muffins bigger, they will require a few more minutes in the oven. Sprinkle the muffins with rolled oats.
Bake the muffins for 17 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. If you made them substantially bigger, they might need a bit longer than that.
Remove from oven and let cool in the muffin tin. I find that the muffins always taste better the next day. Store in an airtight container.These muffins keep for about a week or so.