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Banana, date and walnut muffins

October 6, 2020

Banana date muffins and a cup of tea

Things are a little bit bonkers now.* I’m sitting upstairs at my desk listening to birds cheeping; is it my imagination or are there more of them about singing their hearts out? If we could translate would they be saying ‘we can breathe…’?

KP is downstairs listening to music non stop. Can you work with a loud background soundtrack? Even peaceful classical intrudes on my thoughts so I close the door to keep out everything – from The Comet is Coming (which I love when not working) to Les Miserables soundtrack (which I loathe in any circumstances).

We’ve fallen into a bit of a routine around tea and cake. The future is uncertain so I’m focusing on the small things, one day at a time, and therapeutic baking works for me.

If Twitter chats are anything to go by we all seem to have a lot of ripe bananas needing a purpose. I think muffins are often very overrated. These are more like mini, gooey banana cakes and they get better as you keep them. Can you swap the nuts? Of course, use whatever you have in the cupboard. Could you leave them out? I think so, the muffins would just be a bit gooier… never a bad thing.

If you’re after a more traditional banana bread, I can vouch for this Smitten Kitchen recipe I made last week (fantastic).

*I wrote this during lockdown and a two week anti-COVID curfew in Dubai. We left our villa of 20 years (far too big for two people) and I’m now in the UK with family. Life is rather different especially as KP is still in the UAE. It feels like a completely different world (which it is for us all) – but baking is still comforting and provides necessary warmth as the rain lashes down outside the window!

Banana, date and walnut muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A great store cupboard recipe for using up overipe bananas. Warm with spices, crunchy with nuts and treacly with dates and brown sugar. Serve with yoghurt for breakfast or a cup of tea in the afternoon


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • squeeze of lemon juice (about a teaspoon)
  • 210g plain flour
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 6 cardamom pods (or 1 teaspoon of ground)
  • freshly grated nutmeg (generous 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 90g fresh dates, pitted and chopped*
  • 65g walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 110g butter melted, at room temperature
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 120ml plain yoghurt (8 level tablespoons)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


*chop the dates coarsely if you want chunks in the muffins and finer if you just want them for sweetness and texture.

Line 12-14 holes in standard muffin trays with paper cases or greaseproof paper (depending on the size of your bananas how much mixture there is).

Break up the banana into a bowl and mash it with a fork until mushy. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice.

Sieve the plain flour into a large bowl. Add the caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground cardamom, nutmeg and salt. Stir well to combine. Sprinkle the dates and walnuts into the dry ingredients and rub them in with your fingertips. You want the date pieces to be separated and coated with flour.

Whisk together the melted butter, and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the mashed banana, yoghurt, eggs and vanilla extract until mixed together.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredient and pour the banana mixture into the middle. Use a spatula to gently fold the flour in from the edges. Don’t overmix, a few lumps of flour still showing is fine.

Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. You can use a 50ml ice cream scoop – slightly rounded scoops should portion it equally.

Bake in an oven preheated to 190C for 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can swap the tins around 10 minutes before the end to make sure they cook evenly. They are ready when springy to the touch and when you stick a wooden skewer or toothpick into the centre it comes out clean or with a small crumb attached.

Remove from the tins and cool on a baking rack. Store in a tightly closed container. No need to refrigerate especially if you eat within 3 days (or you can freeze them).

Banana date muffins and a cup of tea

I photographed these very hurriedly. I promise the one to the right was not burnt even though it looks like it in the shot!

I hope you are coping with COVID, lockdown and everything life is throwing at us at the moment.

  1. Maria permalink
    October 6, 2020 8:51 pm

    A must-try for me!! This is a sweet treat and very healthy that my kids would love for sure ❤

    • October 7, 2020 12:55 pm

      Quite nice for lunch boxes. Hope they are back at school and doing well

  2. October 6, 2020 8:56 pm

    Looks tasty!

  3. October 6, 2020 9:36 pm

    Mmm what a great combo with banana, walnuts, and dates. Perfect snack or breakfast!

    • October 7, 2020 12:56 pm

      I love these for breakfast with yoghurt or kefir.

  4. Ginny permalink
    October 7, 2020 9:55 am

    “Therapeutic baking” … it absolutely was (and still is actually!) … I’m trying to ‘bake vegan’ , even though The Three Vegans are 3,000 miles away, their vibes come through when I send them photos of us dabbling at this end! I didn’t realise how automatic this had become until reading your heavenly sounding recipe I thought, ooh, I could swap eggs for flax, margarine for butter and maybe the supermarket will have coconut yoghurt!

    • October 7, 2020 12:58 pm

      So true – actually should have given a vegan alternative. My vegans are not too far away but sadly can’t bake for them. Made vegan blackberry and apple crumble a lot – really simple.

  5. October 9, 2020 6:42 am

    These sound delightful! I must try making these muffins even though I would be risking to be strangled by the family as everyone is trying to avoid carbs…

    • October 11, 2020 3:48 pm

      I think a balance of carbs is fine – can’t you persuade them?!

  6. crasterkipper permalink
    October 10, 2020 12:34 am

    I can tell you wrote this in Dubai, you wrote ‘melted’ and ‘room temperature’ in the same sentence 😂
    I just made a batch of these muffins – delicious!

    • October 11, 2020 3:48 pm

      I wish I’d been there to eat one with you with a cup of tea in your lovely kitchen

  7. October 15, 2020 10:32 pm

    Great looking muffins. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  8. Fresh and Cool Transport permalink
    November 5, 2020 6:53 pm

    Great post Sally! Keep it up.

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