Vegan Banana-Clove Muffins

I’m always up for interesting flavour combinations, and I have a pretty keen sense of what will and won’t work together, I guess somethink like how artists can visualise colours of composers ntoes in their head and then work them out on paper. I’m not trying to suggest that I’m some kind of culinary artist of that calibre—I guess I’m just trying to make sense.

banana spelt muffins, all dolled up

I came up with the idea for banana clove while scouting for different banana muffin recipes. I had spelt flour that I wanted to use in muffins for my coworker Juleen’s Christmas present, since I knew that she’d be up for the spelt adventure. Someone had posted a recipe for banana cinnamon muffins, and I always associate cinnamon with allspice and clove. I thought that the earthiness of clove would complement banana well, but when I made the muffins I got so excited that I forgot to add the clove.

I have little to no short-term memory.

So Ryan and I did a taste-test later on with banana, chocolate-chip banana, banana clove, and chocolate-chip-banana-clove muffins to see which would win, since he wasn’t a banana clove believer. Suffice it to say that I win. And thanks to that, you win, too!

The base of this recipe comes from Cinnamon Banana Bread Muffins!!! shared by Kelly over at Epicurista, although I veganised it, ditched the coffee cake crumble going on (still an option for garnish down there), and played around with the ingredients and proportions a wee bit.

Serves: 12


4 bananas, mashed* 

2/3 c (150 g) vegan sugar 

1/4 c (56 g) vegetable oil (or applesauce) 

1 t vanilla extract 

1 1/2 c (250 g) flour (I used spelt) 

1 t baking powder 

3/4 t baking soda 

1/2 t salt 

1 t cloves, ground 

1/2 c chocolate chips (optional) 

*The best kind of bananas to use here are over-ripe or even black ones. When my flatmates let their bananas go past their prime and consider throwing them out, I swoop in and claim them for future banana baking, cutting them in half (peel and all) and throwing them into a bag in the freezer to keep until I need them. It’s surprising how long they can hang around in there.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the bananas, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.

In a separate large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.

When mixed, fold in the chocolate chips. You could also add walnuts or another nut, but I’d judge you.

For muffins, I use one of two things:

banana spelt muffins (in silicon cupcake wrappers)

  1. Silicon baking cups because I think that they’re awesome, and there’s something about silicon anything that amuses me because it’s so bendy and comes in to many colours. If you’re as easily amused as I, then pick some of these up—you’ll never have to remember paper liners or muffin tins ever again. The silicon guys can go right on a baking sheet (or the ceramic pizza pan that lives in your oven) without a care in the world.
  2. Cast iron muffin tins, which were bequeathed to me by my mother. I have one pan with six different flower shapes and one with six different shells (below). They’re a pain in the ass to oil up and clean, but they make awesome-shaped muffins.

kick-ass cast-iron muffin moulds, available in seashells or flowers!

For bread, I use mini loaf pans, since I’d rather have four small loaves (I give most of them as gifts) than one large loaf. Another pro of mini loaf pans is better portioned bread slices!

Fill either the cups or the loaf pan(s) about 3/4 of the way. Spelt won’t rise quite like wheat flour, but it’ll still poof up a bit. Mine fell pretty much immediately after being removed from the oven, which was sad, but life went on and they tasted good, so you can still eat them in a vengeful way.

Note about that: baked goods are more apt to fall when they’re in bulk, if you will. Muffins will rest peacefully, but bread will sink in the middle since the outside is cooking and hardening faster. I think. Don’t quote me on that, but it seemed to be the case from my experience.

Bake for 18-20 minutes and let cool before exacting your revenge.

Seriously, let cool. If you’re impatient like I am, and overly excited about using new mini loaf pans for the first time, then you might rush to take your bread out without letting it develop and adequate crust, and it will sink sadly like this:

Dalí's bread

Garnishes: coffee cake crumble (sprinkle evenly over the muffins before baking), a little clove sugar, or some banana slices baked into the top
Goes well with: strong coffee or espresso, Assam or Irish breakfast tea, or a cream cheese spread (spiced?)

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