boozy banana walnut muffins + cinnamon crumble

For most of my life, I did not get along with bananas.  Everything about them was wrong: the weird smell, the mushy texture, the overpowering taste.  Bananas were one of the only fruits that I could not get myself to like no matter how hard I tried.  I would see happy people wandering about in the world, enjoying bananas with smiles on their faces and wonder: what am I missing?

Then I met my new best friend, banana bread.

All of the things that I hated about bananas suddenly disappeared.  The spices mellowed out that harsh banana taste that turned me off for so many years.  The bananas gave the bread such a deep, delicious moisture.


Since then, my life has improved greatly.  Banana bread for breakfast.  Banana bread for a midnight snack.  Banana bread because it’s Thursday and why not?

When baking, I tend to gravitate towards smaller, single-serving sized treats.  Maybe it’s easier to justify eating just one banana muffin instead of manually slicing off a chunk every time I walk into the kitchen.  Maybe it’s because I am generally drawn to adorably small things.  Who knows?  Either way, these muffins make a great on-the-go breakfast and an even better dessert when warmed up and served with a heaping scoop of french vanilla ice cream.

boozy banana walnut muffins + cinnamon crumble
adapted from the smitten kitchen
makes 12 muffins

cinnamon walnut crumble
1 cup walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup whole oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

boozy banana muffins
4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup salted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
1 cup walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon salted butter, softened (for greasing cupcake pan)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place 2 cups whole walnuts on an un-greased baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes.  You’ll know they’re done when you can smell them.  Trust me.  You’ll know.  Remove walnuts from oven and cool.  Give them a rough chop and divide in half.  You’ll need half for the crumble and half for the muffins themselves.


Prepare the crumble. Place oats in a food processor and grind them into an oat flour.  Add the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt and pulse until combined.  Pour oat mixture into a small mixing bowl and add 1 cup of the chopped walnuts and melted butter. Stir to combine. Try your hardest not to eat the bowl of crumble with a spoon.


Start the muffin batter by mashing your ripened bananas.  I use a potato masher for this step since I like to get the bananas as mushy as possible.  If you like bigger chunks of bananas in your banana bread, go for it!


Stir melted butter into mashed bananas with a wooden spoon.  Next, stir sugar, egg, vanilla, and bourbon into banana and butter mixture.  Add cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (use freshly grated nutmeg if you have it available).  Mix in salt and baking soda. Add flour and mix until fully incorporated.  Mix the remaining 1 cup of roasted and chopped walnuts with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of  all purpose flour, making sure each piece is lightly coated.  This will ensure the walnuts will rise with the muffins and will not all sink to the bottom of your muffin pan (this is a good trick to remember when adding anything from nuts to chocolate chips to baked goods). Add the walnuts to the batter and stir to combine.


Using your fingers, butter the insides of your 12-cup cupcake pan thoroughly to ensure the muffins will not stick.  Divide batter evenly among 12 cups and top with crumble mixture.  Baked at 350°F for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.