Spiced Banana Faro Muffins with Ginger Streusel Topping

Spiced Banana Faro Muffins

Lounging Bananas Cause Disturbance

Spoonful of ginger streusel

“He lay hidden during the day and went in search of food at night–turnips, a few ears of corn from a crib, a few windfall apples–nothing that would be missed.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


Ripe bananas have a haunting quality. In the beginning they hold such great promise as a snack tucked in a lunch bag or perched atop cereal for breakfast. They lounge in the fruit bowl until green becomes yellow— and then brown. When the brown spots appear I wonder where the sunny topical escape went? Still lounging and now forgotten in the fruit bowl I must decide the fate of the very ripe bananas. It is disturbing to throw them away and yet Banana Bread often sounds too mundane. Besides I need three bananas for my Banana Bread recipe, and sometimes I only have two bananas. Bananas can be frozen and I did that once. I ended up with a huge bag of frozen bananas. I just kept adding bananas to the bag. I wasn’t using the bananas, I was storing them. With an inventory of two ripe bananas I decided muffins were to be made. And not just any old boring muffin, I wanted a muffin to cure the lounging banana disturbance.

Making Spiced Banana Muffins

I grew up in a household where food was rarely wasted. Leftovers were inspiration for another meal. I often cook for my blog and for family meals separately. I know I am not the only one who can not juggle taking photos in fading light when everyone is hovering and hungry. At times all the food I prepare is not consumed. Especially with baked goods or when I am testing a new recipe. By the time I’ve prepared the same recipe three times in a week we become bored. I find this wastefulness very troubling. I will take food to my mom and friends, but still I throw out more food than before I began my blog. Is this just the cost of having a food blog? With so much chatter about seasonal, sustainable, and local is food waste by recipe developers and food bloggers just a small amount and of no concern? What about the larger institutions in our society: grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, prisons, the military? There is no easy answer but if you have any thoughts that can inspire me to be less wasteful I would love to hear them.

Preparing muffins


The slackers are gone and my fruit bowl has regained it’s equilibrium while I gained a gratifying solution for two ripe bananas. I was determined to develop a muffin recipe using leftovers or ingredients I already had in my pantry. For morning nourishment or a healthy snack I included faro from the previous evenings dinner in the muffins. Quinoa or flaked whole grain cereal would also work in this recipe. A sprinkle of spices from my pantry melds nicely with leftover morning coffee while candied ginger sparkles like amber in the streusel topping. The subtle warmth from the ginger in my pantry pairs sweetly with the bananas without overwhelming the tropical disturbance.

Spiced Banana Faro Muffins
Ginger Streusel Topping
1/4C brown sugar
1/4C sugar
1/8t salt
1/2t ground cardamom
1/2t ground nutmeg
3T finely minced candied ginger 1T butter, melted Muffins
2 very ripe bananas
1/3C brown sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
1T molasses
1/2C cold coffee 6T butter, melted and cooled
2C flour
11/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
3/4t salt
1/2t cinnamon 1/2t ground ginger
1/2t ground nutmeg 1C cooked and cooled faro or other cooked grain such as quinoa

Freshly-baked muffin

  1. Heat oven to 375° Grease muffin tin, set aside.
  2. Make the Streusel Topping: Thoroughly combine all the streusel ingredients except the melted butter. Then mix in the melted butter. Set aside.
  3. Make the muffins: In a large bowl smash bananas until there are no big lumps. Then mix in the brown sugar. There should be no lumps of brown sugar. Stir in the egg, vanilla, molasses, coffee and melted butter. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Over the top of the bowl that holds the wet ingredients sift or shake though a sieve the flour, salt and all the spices. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. When the batter is almost mixed, gently fold in the cooked faro. Sprinkle the faro by hand, so the grains are all separated and not in clumps. Do not over mix.
  5. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full of batter. Top each muffin with a tablespoon of the streusel and bake for 15–20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the muffins have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from the tin.

Freshly-baked muffins

Muffins served

26 Replies to “Spiced Banana Faro Muffins with Ginger Streusel Topping”

  1. These look scrumptious! I need to bake more often, and add this to my list of things to try, love the thought of adding farro to muffins, yum! wish I could have a bite.

  2. I throw a lot of food, most of the time unintentionally. They go to the freezer but eventually get tossed. I have the same `blog food´ issue. I never cooked farro, but will use quinoa in a second, they sound so good Deb! The ginger on top is a wonderful idea!

    1. Thank you for your honesty Paula, I don’t think there is an easy solution. BTW I froze the leftover muffins, hopefully they will not linger in the freezer too long! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  3. The ginger streusel topping sounds great with the banana! I seem to have the opposite banana problem. We always use all of our bananas, and I never have extra ripe ones for baking. I actually buy extra bananas when I’m planning to bake with them. I think I’m the only person who does that!

    1. Oh I wish we weren’t so spoiled and wasteful at my house! And the Ginger Streusel topping is divine! Thanks for commenting Lisa!

  4. The crunchy tops on these are seriously calling to me! I know what you mean about storing bananas – I was keeping them in the freezer for the longest time, and then I filled up a 2 gallon bag and realized I had a problem.

    1. The ginger topping is quite a scrumptious thing! Freezing bananas is not for me! LOL! Thanks for commenting Sydney!

  5. They sound just my thing, and I will have to try out that topping! Recycling the faro is also an interesting idea.
    In Germany there’s an organization called “Tafel” (table, directly translated) that distributes food to the poor. Maybe there’s something like that near you?

    1. Thank for commenting Kathy! “Tafel” sounds like a wonderful organization. Locally we have what is called the Food Bank. The organization excepts donations of food goods, but not already prepared food. The ginger topping would be excellent used in another recipe!

  6. ahhh, wastefulness… the food blogger’s dilemma. I’m actually on a banana kick lately, and have some bananas lounging right now. The color combo of this post is lovely, especially like the blue… the striped straws in the background are a nice detail!

  7. Deb, I just purchased farro for the first time. I’m intrigued to experiment with it as an ingredient in my baking.
    I share the same concerns as you regarding wasting food. I’ll share with you two ways I have come up with to unload my precious goodies. My local fire department has become a recipient on occasion, and, I have also taken to sending out mass text messages to a long list of friends whenever I have sweets to give away. I use the first come, first served approach. The only requirement is that they must come to my home to pick them up. Not only am I wasting less food, I am seeing my friends on a much more regular basis. It’s a win/win.

    1. Baking with faro was an experiment that surpassed my expectations! It gives the muffins a nutrition and texture boost. The ginger streusel is a keeper! Thank you for your lovely comment Lynda!

  8. I love ginger and I love bananas, and molasses, cardamom – all the ingredients really. So this really speaks to me! We use our frozen bananas along with fresh fruits and veggies for smoothies; smoothies taste so much better with the addition of frozen bananas, in my opinion. Your photos are lovely!

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