As most food bloggers do, I basically live in my kitchen. I wander in, bleary-eyed, moments after my alarm clock rings to pull out measuring cups and mixing bowls; hunker down with my camera at noon to snap shots of my treats from every angle; and stay up late, tackling the towering mountain of dishes that I procrastinated on scrubbing all day long.
But during the summer, I frequently escape to my home-away-from-home in the big city a 20-minute drive away: Panera.
Most of the time, I tag along in the car as my guy commutes to his volunteer work on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. With his shop just around the corner, he’ll ease into a spot before hopping out and handing me the keys, and I’ll retrace our tire tracks back to Panera’s parking lot.
This past weekend, right as I turned away from the register to fill my glass at the soda fountain, two twenty-something boys spread their notebooks across my favorite table next to the back door. Slightly disappointed, I scouted around for a suitable second choice, one without a glare from the bright afternoon sun and a power outlet for my laptop charger cord.
I settled into the padded chair and stayed for four hours, only standing up to order my favorite salad, refill my glass, and practically monopolize the bathroom as I kept myself well-hydrated.
I occasionally glanced up from my laptop screen to people-watch. While I typed, two different families with small children clambered into the big corner booth straight ahead of me to nibble at their lunches, followed by a familiar gentleman dialing clients and studying spreadsheets on his tablet.
At one point, he glanced up and smiled in recognition—we had both spent the afternoon there the weekend before too—and we exchanged a few pleasantries and chuckles at the antics of other patrons.
With their genuine kindness, sweet regulars, and flavorful food, that Panera location is one of my favorite cozy and familiar spots to spend my summer days.
Just like the restaurant, these Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Muffins are cozy and familiar. With their moist crumb and warm spices, they’ll instantly transport you back to your grandma’s kitchen table, breaking open hot muffins fresh from the oven and slathering the centers of her pastries with sweet butter. But probably unlike your grandma’s family recipe, these muffins are low fat, low calorie and completely clean-eating friendly.
Like most muffin recipes, you don’t need a mixer for these—just your favorite sturdy fork or wooden spoon! You’ll mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another, and combine the two, stirring just until they’re incorporated. Nothing to it!
With only 1 tablespoon of oil, most of the moisture comes from the mashed banana and Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is my favorite secret ingredient for healthier baking: it provides all of the moisture of oil for a fraction of the fat and calories. Plus it adds a little extra protein too!
Despite including an entire banana, its fruity flavor isn’t overpowering. Instead, it’s slightly masked by the warm cinnamon and nutmeg. My grandma always included those two spices in her zucchini bread, so I mixed them into my healthy muffins too. Grandmas almost always know best!
These muffins bake at 325°F, slightly lower than most muffin recipes. This temperature helps ensure that the centers stay moist while preventing the outsides from turning dry and crusty. Because these wholesome muffins are delicious warm or cold, you’ll have a hard time keeping any of the tempting leftovers around!
Packed full of fiber and comforting spices, these skinny Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Muffins bring a cozier taste of summer to your kitchen. Perfect for make-ahead breakfasts, mid-morning snacks, and afternoon snack attacks, they’ll keep your stomach—and your waistline—completely content.
I should know… I already ate three in a single day. Thank goodness summer is zucchini season—I’m already planning my next batch!
Between the warm spices and light fruity flavor, these muffins are some of the most addictive I’ve ever made! Store any leftovers in an airtight container or zip-topped bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat individual muffins in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F, and lightly coat 8 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana, honey, and yogurt, mixing thoroughly until no large lumps of yogurt remain. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the zucchini.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Baked at 325°F for 22-25 minutes, or until barely firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Note: The taste of coconut oil is really faint and practically undetectable, but if you’re concerned, use melted butter instead.
These muffins were awful. I checked the recipe twice to make sure that I included everything, and I did, but they were totally devoid of taste.
On the plus side I have 12 little doorstops that I can give as gifts!
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe Jennifer! That sounds really disappointing and not like how these muffins should turn out at all, so I’d love to work with you to figure out what happened. 🙂 Did you make any substitutions or modifications to the recipe? By “devoid of taste,” do you mean they weren’t sweet enough? Could you taste the spices? How was their texture? And how ripe were your bananas?
I know I just asked a lot of questions, but once I know your answers to all of them, I should have a much better idea of the culprit and how to fix it, if you’d ever like to try making them again!
Jennifer Roscoe says...
The bananas were extremely ripe. I added a little extra honey since the batter was so dry. The rest of the recipe I followed to the letter. I couldn’t taste the spices at all. I don’t care for things that are overly sweet, preferring warm spicy ingredients like cinnamon and nutmeg to sugary. That’s why this recipe appealed to me but they were inedible.
Thank you for sharing all of this information Jennifer — it’s super helpful to know! How did you measure the flour? Did you use a kitchen scale or measuring cups? If the latter, did you happen to dip them into your container of flour to measure?
Jennifer Roscoe says...
It doesn’t really matter. I won’t be making them again. Thank you.
I’m always happy to help Jennifer! The reason I asked about how you measured the flour is because I think that’s what caused the issues you experienced. You said the muffins were very bland and the batter was dry, and too much flour does that.
If you dipped the measuring cups into your container of flour and then leveled with a knife, you can end up with 1.5 times as much flour as when you lightly spoon and level — and that extra flour would definitely cause the flavor and texture issues that you’ve experienced! If you don’t own a kitchen scale, here’s what I recommend doing for measuring flour (and cocoa powder, oats, etc!): use a fork to “scoop” up flour from the container, and lightly shake the fork back and forth over the top of your measuring cup to transfer the flour into it. Once there’s a small mound of flour extending past the rim of the measuring cup, then place the flat back of a knife against the top of the measuring cup, and gently scrape it across the top to get rid of the excess flour. Never “pat” the flour down with the knife or fork. This fork method acts like a sifter (without dirtying another dish!) and guarantees you’ll add less flour to the batter, so you’ll end up with moist, tender, and flavorful muffins. Does that make sense?
Even if you don’t try making these muffins again — or any of my other recipes — I still wanted to share that flour measuring tip with you so any baking recipes you make in the future turn out with the best possible taste and texture! 🙂
Cody Wallace says...
I also had the same problem. My muffins while they did make me feel good and helped me start my morning were a bit plainer than I had anticipated. My husband couldn’t eat his.
I’m honored that you tried making these muffins Cody! That sounds disappointing and not like how these muffins should turn out at all, so I’d love to help you solve that issue. 🙂 How ripe were your bananas? Were they mostly yellow, about half brown and half yellow, or purely brown? How was the texture of your muffins? Were they dry at all, or were they moist and tender? Were they just not sweet enough, or were the spices too subtle as well?
I know I just asked a LOT of questions, but once I know your answers to all of them, I’ll have a much better idea of the main culprit and how to fix it, if you’d ever like to try making these (but a better version! 😉 ) in the future!
I was very anxious to try these muffins as the ingredients seemed perfect-unfortunately they were terrible even tho I followed directions exactly-from measurements to no substitutes. I have been baking for many years & am considered a good baker, They were extremely bland & even after almost an hour were raw in the middle-they ended up in the garbage, My oven is the perfect temperature so that would not be part of the problem, Needless to say-quite a waste of an afternoon all the way around,
I’m honored that you tried my recipe, Nancy! That sounds incredibly frustrating and disappointing — and not like how these muffins are supposed to turn out at all. I’d love to help figure out what happened! 🙂
Just to make sure I understand what you mean by “bland,” do you simply mean not sweet enough? Or were the spice flavors too subtle for you as well?
How ripe were your bananas? Were they mostly yellow, or were they almost entirely brown or black? Did you measure the banana by cups or by “1 medium banana?” Same thing for the zucchini — did you measure by cups or “1 medium zucchini?”
I know I just asked a LOT of questions, but I’ll have a much better idea of the culprit once I know your answers to all of them!
I made this today. They were great! I referred to your tips for measuring the flour. They were very moist and just the right amount of spice. My son loved them as well. My husband thought I lit a candle when I pulled them out of the oven. I don’t like overly sweet baked goods. These were just right.
I’m so glad you and your son enjoyed these muffins, Fausta! That’s the best kind of compliment, if you liked both their flavor and moist texture. I loved hearing about how your husband thought you lit a candle too — that’s so cute! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to share; your kind comment put the biggest smile on my face!
Lisa O shea says...
I made these, they were as expected. I did half and half white and whole wheat cos I know wholwheat makes things heavy and I only did 1 tbsps of honey cos I’m not a fan. They were fine, I made them for my kids and I’d make them again. Oh also i didnt squeeze my zucchini. I don’t know why people had so many problems but I always read comments before baking also.
I’m so glad you and your kids enjoyed these muffins, Lisa! That’s the best kind of compliment, if you already think that you’ll make them again. Thank you for taking the time to let me know — it really means a lot! 🙂