Super Chunk Banana Bran Muffins

Chunky is such a fun word.

Sure, “chunky” is not the word I want on my mind whilst wiggling into a freshly laundered pair of skinny jeans (it’s the heat from the dryer, trust me) or while coaxing together a smooth cream sauce. Some of life’s treasures, however, are at their most choice with a little extra chunk.
Take babies for example. Or these adorable wedges to which I accidentally pledged my life while birthday shopping for my mom. The chunk makes each oh-so-adorable.
Granola should be chunky. The crumb topping on coffee cake should be chunky. And for today, banana bran muffins should be SUPER CHUNKY.

Super Chunk Banana Bran Muffins are choc-ful-o-goodies that you can both see and savor. No mashing of bananas here. Our favorite speckled yellow fruit has busted out of the batter and is showing off in chopped, tasty pieces. The result is a more intense banana flavor, pockets of sweetness, and super muffin softness.

Honestly, the banana would probably have a total diva moment, except that we have a cast of super-chunk stars rocking out right beside it. Husky hunks of toasty walnuts and perfect plumps of juicy raisins join the bran-jam session, and it’s a muffin music fest for the ages.

You may have noticed that “plumps” is not technically a word when used as I did in the previous sentence. I’m breaking language barriers here. We are breaking banana barriers by leaving the banana pieces whole vs. mashing them into the batter. It just feels (and tastes) right. Solidarity.
Singing backup for our super chunky banana-walnut-raisin trio is a concerto of flavor. Bright orange zest sings soprano, deep molasses hums baritone, and the bran itself adds nutty harmony to Super Chunk Banana Bran Muffins.

To keep things from getting dry (literally), we add buttermilk—a mega moisture-maker in baked goods—and creamy Greek yogurt. No boring, dry bran muffins here my friends. Especially after I worked so hard to convince you that bran doesn’t taste like cardboard.

Super Chunk Banana Bran Muffins are a protein, fiber, and vitamin-packed breakfast or snack. Though I still adore my endlessly adaptable mother-of-a-bran-muffin batter, Super Chunk Banana Bran Muffins are a fun update that packs a bolder flavor, thanks to the boost of molasses and orange zest.

  •  1 cup wheat bran
  •  1 cup buttermilk*
  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter — at room temperature
  •  1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  •  1/4 cup light brown sugar — lightly packed
  •  2 large eggs — at room temperature
  •  1/4 cup unsulphured molasses — plus 2 tablespoons
  •  1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  •  3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1 cup banana, — cut into 1/2 pieces (about 1 banana)
  •  3/4 cup chopped walnuts — (toasted)
  •  3/4 cup raisins

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside (or line with paper cups)
  • In a small bowl, combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Mix in the Greek yogurt and cream 2 additional minutes.

  • With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the molasses, orange zest, and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the bran/buttermilk mixture and combine.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter, just until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the bananas, walnuts, and raisins.
  • Fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe Notes
  • *Ingredient Note: If you don't have buttermilk, simply combine 1 cup regular milk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir, set aside 5 minutes, then use as directed. Store muffins for up to four days, following my How to Store Muffins and Other Quick Breads or tightly wrap individually in two layers of plastic and freeze for up to two months.