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Costa Rican banana nut muffins recipe (with or without chocolate chips)

Costa Rican banana nut muffins (or you can leave out the nuts and add chocolate chips).

Cousin Martin, in his frequent travels to Costa Rica, always seeks out locally-produced cookbooks for me. I adapted these muffins from a banana cake recipe in one of his recent finds, The Best Recipes: Costa Rica, published by Ediciones Jadine S.A. in San José.

When I made the cake according to the original recipe, I wasn't thrilled with the texture, though the flavor was nicely spiced and not too sweet. After a tweak here and there, and the last-minute addition of a handful of chocolate chips to half of the batter, I'm happy to recommend these muffins to you. The flavor of banana takes center stage, and you'll love the subtle notes of clove and vanilla, too. Eliminate the nuts if they're not your thing, or add more chocolate chips. Serve these muffins with afternoon tea or morning coffee, or sneak one into your child's lunch box.

Make these Costa Rican banana nut muffins round or square, with or without chocolate chips.

Costa Rican banana nut muffins, with or without chocolate chips

From the pantry, you'll need: granulated sugar, eggs, all-purpose unbleached flour, baking powder, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, kosher salt, pure vanilla extract, walnuts, baking spray.

Adapted from a recipe for banana cake in The Best Recipes: Costa Rica. Makes 18 muffins.


Baking spray
4-1/2 very ripe bananas, peeled
4 Tbsp margarine (I used Smart Balance)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose unbleached flour, divided
2 Tbsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half (not fat-free)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two muffin pans with baking spray, or line with paper muffin cups, and set aside.

In the work bowl of a KitchenAid type stand mixer, add the bananas (mash them a bit in your hands), margarine and sugar. Mix on low speed until well incorporated into an almost-smooth purée.

While the bananas are mixing, in a separate bowl sift together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

When the banana mixture is smooth, turn the mixer to medium speed. Add the egg, and beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, and alternately add the half-and-half and flour mixture, a bit at a time, until well incorporated and a bit fluffy, 1 minute. Turn the mixer off, and remove the work bowl.

In the bowl that held the flour, toss the nuts (and optional chocolate chips) with a tablespoon of flour, and fold into the cake batter. Use an ice cream scoop with a release (called a disher), or a soup spoon, to transfer the batter into the prepared muffin tins.

Bake at 350F for 25-27 minutes (the longer time is for the chocolate chip muffins). Remove from the oven, and set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, turn the muffins out onto the rack, and allow to cool.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More muffins:
Pumpkin-pecan mini muffins, from The Perfect Pantry
Pear spice cupcakes, from The Perfect Pantry
Blackberry muffins, from Simply Recipes
Olive oil muffins, from David Lebovitz

Make these Costa Rican banana muffins with or without nuts, and with or without chocolate chips.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Ohhh another great use for those quickly-ripening bananas!
How did you make the "square" muffins - I love them!

Carol, I have a muffin tin that makes square muffins! In these photos, the square ones are the ones without chocolate chips, so it's easy for me to tell them apart.

Hi! Foodgawker brought me to your blog and I absolutely must ask you to dig through your supply of Costa Rican cookbooks for me! I had an amazing heart of palm salad while I was there. There's a picture of it in this blog post. http://www.midwestredhead.com/2011/07/day-1-finca-corsicana-pineapple-tour.html It's in the bowl on the right of my seafood plate. I've asked my bf's family, other people with CR ties, and no one can tell me how to make it. It's creamy, served cold, and that's really all I can tell you. :) Any ideas? I'd be forever grateful for your help!!

How exciting to get cookbooks from other areas of the world. This recipe looks great and I love the square ones :-)

Kim, I'll look into it and email to you if I find anything. Isn't it fun to travel and discover new dishes?

CJ, wherever I go, I buy locally published cookbooks, and I'm so grateful to my cousin for bringing cookbooks from his travels, too. The square muffins were made in a square muffin pan I recently bought at a discount store.

How interesting to get formula books from other places around the globe. This formula looks great and I really like the rectangle ones.

Hi, for the recipe, can I put less cloves and nutmeg? The flavor is really strong and I have to bring it to school, so I;m wondering if it'll taste fine with less clove and nutmeg.

Ann, of course. Just alter to your own taste.

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