Brown bananas and sourdough discard are two things that I am constantly looking for ways to use up in my kitchen. I’ve got a good sourdough discard banana bread recipe but this recipe for chocolate banana sourdough muffins hits me straight in my chocolate-loving heart. Chock full of banana, oats and sourdough I can at least pretend the health benefits outweigh the brown sugar. But seriously, these are decadent, delicious and you probably have all the ingredients you need on hand to make them today.
Sourdough Discard in Baked Goods
If you’re new around here, you may not know that I love baking with sourdough. I’ve got a whole bunch of recipes that use sourdough discard and sourdough starter. Because I refresh my sourdough starter often, I end up with quite a bit of leftover discard in my fridge. I don’t like this discard to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and rolls to put it into. The sourdough discard enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste.
How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last?
Typically sourdough discard can last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator. The longer the discard sits in your fridge, the more fermented and sour it will taste. If you like this flavor in your baked goods, use discard that is older. For a more mellow flavor, use discard that is only a day or two old. If you love baking with sourdough but don’t want any sour flavor, use bubbly sourdough starter instead of the discard. You can use what you prefer. I typically use a 100% hydration sourdough discard–equal weights of water and flour mixed with the starter. If your discard is maintained at a different hydration you may need a splash of milk for a thicker discard or a little extra flour for a thinner discard.
Overripe Bananas and Ground Oats
Anytime you bake with bananas, whether it’s banana bread, banana muffins or these chocolate sourdough banana muffins, you will want to use overripe bananas. These brown or black bananas add a lot of flavor and moisture to the recipe. I also love the use of oats in this recipe. It gives an added punch of whole grains and combined with the flour gives a melt-in-your-mouth muffin texture. Grind up one cup of oats in a blender and mix it right in with the flour mixture. I haven’t used whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour in this recipe, but I bet either would substitute really well.
Good Quality Cocoa Powder
One of the key flavors in this recipe comes from the cocoa powder. I love this cocoa powder and buy it in bulk at Costco. It is deep, rich and flavorful. Use whatever cocoa powder you love, preferably one that has a rich flavor that will transfer through to the muffins. I also always use semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe. I prefer the rich taste of chocolate to come through. Good quality chocolate also helps mellow the sourdough discard flavor if you are using an older discard.
Mixing the Muffin Batter
Most of the time when I mix together this muffin batter I’ll smash the bananas, add the brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and sourdough discard. I’ll mix that together really well until combined. Then I’ll add in the cocoa powder and mix it until incorporated. I’ll add the flour on top of the mixture and pour the salt and baking powder right on top of the flour, taking care not to get the salt/powder in the liquid mixture. I like to fluff the salt and baking powder using a fork to mix it into the flour (this saves me a bowl and makes clean up easier). Then I’ll add the ground oats on top and gently mix together the batter. Over-mixing muffing batter leads to gummy and dense muffins. I like my muffins light and airy so I don’t mind leaving a few little streaks of flour. Add in the chocolate chips for the perfect chocolatey banana muffin and stir gently before scooping and filling a 12 cup muffin tin.
Baking Temperature is The Key to a Nicely Risen Muffin
This recipe calls for baking the muffins at a high temperature of 400 degrees for the first 5 minutes and then reducing the temperature to 325 degrees for the last 15 minutes of baking. The reason: a perfectly risen muffin. The high heat helps activate the baking powder in the muffin which gives the muffin the perfect rise. If you don’t want to do this step, go ahead and bake the muffins at 325 degrees for the whole 20-22 minutes. You may not have quite the same bakery-quality rise, but they will still be delicious.
Don’t wait on these muffins! They are delicious warm and make for the perfect after school snack. Your family won’t even guess they have sourdough discard and whole grains in them. I hope you enjoy these chocolate banana sourdough muffins as much as we do!
Frequently Asked Questions
Sourdough discard is good for a couple of weeks refrigerated. After a couple of weeks my starter is a little too strong for me to enjoy in baked goods. If I haven’t used it up I will throw it away and start again.
Yes! I love freezing my over-ripe bananas. They can stay good in the freezer for a couple of months. Before you use them in a recipe bring them back to room temperature and discard a bit of the liquid that collects before using in your recipe.
You may think to use a blender to mix up all the ingredients of this recipe, but I would not. I’ve actually made this recipe in a blender and the muffins turned out gummy and dense. I prefer to mix lightly by hand which results in a light and fluffy muffin.
Once muffins have cooled, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you’d like to eat on, reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or let sit at room temperature until thawed.
This muffin recipe works great for mini muffins. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes more.
Chocolate Banana Sourdough Muffins
- 1 cup old fashioned oats ground
- 2 bananas over-ripe are best: brown or black bananas
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sourdough discard 100% hydration (see recipe notes)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Pour 1 cup of old fashioned oats into a blender. Process about 30 seconds until the oats are ground into a fine powder. Set aside.
- To a medium-sized bowl, mash the brown/black bananas. Add the brown sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir together to combine. Add the sourdough discard and stir until combined.
- To a small bowl, whisk together the ground oats, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Add this dry mixture to the wet banana mixture. Stir until just combined. You should still see some streaks of flour throughout the batter.
- Add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and gently stir again until just incorporated. Over-mixing the batter can result in rubbery muffins. We are looking for light and tender muffins, so stir until just combined.
- Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan. If using muffin liners, spray the muffin liners as well. Using a cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. After 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Let muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!
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