Banana Muffins, small batch cooking

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

As I had shared when I posted the Apple Crisp recipe, my biggest challenge is small-batch cooking and baking. With this cookbook, I hope to change all that! This book has some great recipes and most appear to be easy to adapt for variety. For instance, these banana muffins could become apple spice muffins or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with a different choice in fruit.

My love of cookbooks is widely known, yet when I have browsed through small-batch cooking; cookbooks, oftentimes I have been disappointed with the quality of the recipes. Frequently a book in this category will call for half of an ingredient (like a beaten egg) leaving a portion of food that ultimately leads to waste. And while I know these authors worked hard on the content, those books stayed on the shelf at the store, instead of coming home with me.

I have been cooking long enough to cut a recipe down mathematically and come up with my own version of a smaller batch. But I also know from experience that while doubling a recipe works very well, cutting one in half, often does not. I was looking for formulated small batch recipes, that cooked or baked up just as well as full-sized recipes have always done. You know quality food, not this will do food.  This area of cooking is really a specialty, and after all these years plus my own failed attempts, no one can convince me otherwise.

Banana Muffins.
Banana Muffins
You might be asking why I did not come up with my own versions of small-batch recipes, and the short answer is, I did not want to have the food waste that recipe testing can produce. In our small family, we already eat leftovers frequently and there is some wasted food. There would be more waste with recipe testing. Plus multiple repeats of the same food.....

It is also widely understood (especially in my own family household) that I hate food waste. I believe food waste to be the number one area any household can change to save and not waste money. Wasted money! Yes, if you are wasting food, you have also wasted the money used to purchase the food.

Once we started growing a garden, I noticed a new awareness developing in me. I began to respect the food we grew in ways that I did not respect the food purchased at the grocery store. And I realized that I had an investment in our garden harvests. We invested land, time and hard work to produce that crop, and now those vegetables had intrinsic value to me. Whereas the produce I purchased was simply a product. In that process of growing a garden, I began to define and understand myself better. And that is the long version of why I did not begin recipe testing for small-batch cooking.

Banana Muffins, ready to serve.
Banana Muffins, fresh from the oven.

NOTE:  This is a basic, subtle flavored, not too sweet muffin. Perfect to enjoy for breakfast or with soup or salad at lunch. If you like a sweeter muffin, you could increase the sugar to 1/2 cup. This will be a fun (and easy) recipe to adapt for different flavors!

Banana Muffins
adapted from: The Gourmet Toaster Oven
makes 6

2 banana, coarsely mashed
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c oil
1 egg
1/3 c sugar

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda

1/2 c chopped walnuts if desired

Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients to distribute the salt and soda evenly.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, fold in, taking care to not over mix.....(unfortunately this is also an area I am trying to improve on).

Divide into prepared muffin cups, bake 350 degrees 20-25 minutes or until done in your oven.

Toaster ovens are excellent for small-batch cooking!


KITCHEN TIP: While I used the standard two bowl method in photographs for this recipe, in real life I would use only one bowl. Starting with the dry ingredients, combine in a large bowl, make a well in the center, add wet ingredients and fold together. Divide into prepared muffin cups, then bake. Easy and the clean up is quicker!

I know that over mixing the batter creates 
"mountain top" muffins, 
this is a hard habit for me to break.....

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  1. I understand this reasoning completely,, I told you I was trying small batch recipes well the end result was exactly like you said with many of them,, " good enough " but not great,, especially a recipe for cup cakes, they called for half a beaten egg, well I don't like to waste food either and the end result of adding the entire egg was a very eggy cup cake,, ok but not great,,
    I think its probably possible to find small batch recipes but would take a lot of testing,, we have our favorite recipes and I will continue to use the recipes we know and love and if I have some extras I will find someone to give them to,, and I also save baking something special when I know I'll have company to share with. I found I was unsuccessful with my small batch cooking in regards to baking,, savory and sweet.A few turned out ok but mostly no.
    these muffins you made look so good,, always a good sign when they get the little peaks on top,, lol

  2. Hi Melynda,
    Your muffins looks great, perfect with a cuppa tea or coffee!
    I usually make half a recipe if the full recipe makes more than I need. I do agree that small batch is not as simple as just mathematical calculations, sometimes it does not work at all!

  3. This looks like a great small batch recipe and I like that it's not too sweet. I think I will try it with some blueberries added. --Rocquie

  4. I love the idea of cooking these up in a toaster oven! I've never tried baking anything in mine before. I hate the waste that goes along with cooking too much as well--I've had fairly good luck freezing muffins before but of course that assumes you have the space to freeze extra! Sometimes the freezer gets so jam packed that I forget about things and end up having to toss anyway...again contributing to that waste. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Your description of how gardening gave you more respect for the food you grew yourself is very interesting. I agree with you about not wasting food, and just hate to throw away perfectly good and edible leftovers or ingredients. One big problem is that some foods, especially baked goods, just don't lend themselves to small quantities.

    best... mae at

  6. Interesting post! I've been finding myself thinking about small batch baking more and more as the kids are getting older and leaving home. I'm the only one with a sweet tooth and a love for muffins so I love the idea of having a treat but not having so many extras to either eat too much of, give away or toss. The muffins sound yummy!

  7. Like you, I typically use the one bowl method as well. This looks like a simple yet tasty recipe.

  8. Simple muffins are the limit of my baking skills. Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

  9. I too (like Trish) use my freezer to take care of the extra muffins. But I like the idea of making only a few muffins at a time, AND the idea of baking in the toaster oven, which likely uses less energy than heating up the oven.

  10. Hi Melynda,
    Thanks for linking with CC!

  11. Good small batch recipes--especially baking are so hard to find so it's great that you found a good source. I love banana muffins too-especially warm from the oven (or toaster oven) ;-) with a cup of tea.

  12. Yeah, I could really get behind these muffins. LOVE making muffins.


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