Jitterbuggin’ (Chocolate chip banana “bug” muffins)

3 10 2013

Everybody seems to have a favourite recipe for banana bread. It’s certainly handy in households like ours that just can’t eat bananas fast enough. You know what I’m talking about — the freezer is your best friend and you always have about a half-dozen blackened bananas wedged in between your ice cream and frozen peas.

Not being fond of bananas, I’m not actually a huge fan of banana bread or muffins. But you can only throw away so much food without feeling like a total wastrel. The solution? Chocolate chips and fun shapes — both ingredients for a delicious, moist treat that kids and adults alike will enjoy.


The result of an impromptu girls’ night of baking and It’s A Wonderful Life (and, of course, too many frozen bananas in the freezer), along with the sudden inspiration to use a Nordic Ware Backyard Bugs pan we had received as a wedding present, this recipe is now a solid addition to the F-Words arsenal.

Look how cute the pan is! I also firmly believe that the nooks and crannies of the pan create more “muffin-top” textures throughout, which is always a good thing. (They didn’t dedicate a whole Seinfeld episode to this for nothing.) If you’re a muffin-bottom kind of person, I don’t think we can be friends. Kidding. F-Words welcomes readers of all stripes!



I started with this simple Epicurious recipe and added a couple of tweaks to give it a lovely rich taste. First off, the substitution of buttermilk for regular milk is supposed to lend a moist, full-fat flavour to baked goods, without the additional calories from whole milk. However, the acidity of the buttermilk means that you’ll need to adjust the amount of baking soda and baking powder used. I also put in some cinnamon to add a little depth.

Chocolate Chip Banana Buttermilk Muffins
(or, if you like, “Jitterbugs.” Adapted from Epicurious.com recipe)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease bug pan (or line 12 muffin cups with foil/paper/silicone liners).
  • Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Mix mashed bananas, egg, melted butter and buttermilk in medium bowl.
  • Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients until just blended (do not overmix — it will get quite stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan/cups.
  • Bake until golden and tester inserted into centre comes out with some melted chocolate attached but no crumbs, about 32 minutes.
  • Transfer muffins to rack to cool.

[Don’t have buttermilk handy? I never do, so I always use this buttermilk substitute. Great in homemade pancakes (such as my favourite pancake recipe from smitten kitchen) too.]

Quick tip when using buttermilk as a substitute for milk in baking: For each cup of buttermilk used instead of milk, use:

  • 2 tsp less of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp more of baking soda

Et voilà!

Chocolate chip banana muffins

A better look at the dragonfly-shaped muffin.

Chocolate chip banana muffins

And here’s a ladybug one…

Chocolate chip banana muffins

All together now!

A little factoid: This post could have been called “Going bananas” but I wasn’t sure if it was an offensive phrase. I looked it up and found this seemingly legit etymology: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-2503,00.html (UPDATE: That link is now dead, so here’s another: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/74581/why-does-bananas-mean-crazy)

Now, excuse me while I see about those frozen bananas…




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