Once or twice a month, my dad drives across town to cook with my grandma. He stops by Trader Joe’s on the way and picks up a few bags of groceries to create the healthy meals, then spends the next few hours mixing, cooking, and baking while Grandma chats and taste tests.
Two or three hours later, Dad packs up the majority of the food into individual servings to freeze for Grandma to reheat for her daily lunches and dinners. The menu usually consists of sweet ’n sour chicken, turkey burgers, pasta sauce, plus a few other dishes that rotate in and out. But Dad always makes sure she has plenty of fresh fruit and veggies for snacking in between meals too.
After stopping by last weekend, Dad brought back a few overly speckled bananas and told me, “These were too ripe for Grandma. Think you can use them?”
“Of course!” I replied… Yet my indecision kicked in immediately afterward. I thought about making my favorite banana bread or cupcakes, but since neither seemed to hit the spot, I decided to sleep on it and bake the next day instead.
As my feet pounded the pavement on my morning run, my mind mulled over the different possibilities. With a chilly breeze blowing, “Gingerbread!” floated into my head. After two miles, I still couldn’t shake that craving, so I finally decided to combine the two.
The result? These Banana Gingerbread Muffins! So soft and tender, they’re practically bursting with the spicy ginger flavor of fall, while the sweet banana slices bring a refreshing lightness to the rich pastries. Even without any refined flour or sugar, these healthy muffins still taste like an indulgent treat!
The dry ingredients are all of your usual suspects: flour (gluten-free works too!), leaveners, salt, and spices. You’ll need both ground cinnamon and lots of ginger. That’s where all of the spicy flavor comes from, so be generous! If you’re a huge ginger fiend, you could even add some diced crystallized ginger to the batter too. (Darn, why didn’t I think of that sooner??)
With only 1 tablespoon of butter and an egg, the majority of the moisture comes from mashed banana and Greek yogurt. Both create that soft, tender texture for a fraction of the fat and calories, so they’re perfect for healthier baking—especially with the indulgent holiday season quickly approaching!
It wouldn’t be gingerbread without molasses, so don’t skip it! Molasses brings out the spicy ginger flavor and adds a depth and color you just can’t match with brown sugar. It’s shelf-stable and keeps for ages, and it makes for a lovely addition to granola or whole wheat bread too.
Between the strong flavors of the molasses and ginger, you can’t actually taste the banana inside of the muffins, which is why I added those cute sliced ones on top! You’ll want a banana that’s perfectly ripe for those, mostly yellow with just a few brown speckles. Slice it really thinly and carefully lay the pieces on top of the raw batter before placing the muffin tins in the oven. While baking, the banana sugars come out and start to caramelize. Those fruit slices are the best part of the entire muffin!
Full of cozy fall flavors, these Banana Gingerbread Muffins are perfect for chilly morning breakfasts, light mid-morning snacks, and… Road trips. My parents stole the last two for their drive up to their cabin—definitely a sign of a successful recipe!
And with another ripe banana sitting on my counter, it’s already time to make more.