These Banana Muffins with Walnut and Anise Seed are lightly sweetened and make a perfect breakfast treat at home or on-the-go.
I think anise seeds lend a wonderful flavor to all kinds of baked goods. Similar in taste to fennel, yet a bit sweeter, this spice, native to the Mediterranean region, is used in sweets, savories, and liquors. Extensively used in Middle Eastern and North African desserts like cookies and cakes, anise also is found in some savory bread and biscuit recipes. I love to knead some of the seeds into traditional Moroccan bread and sprinkle some onto Indian naan bread. They also make a soothing and effective remedy for indigestion when steeped and drunk as a tea. An excellent addition to your homemade masala chai, too!
The distinctive taste of anise goes well with this easy vegan banana nut muffin recipe. If you’re not an anise fan, however, simply replace it with other spices to your liking. Whether you use nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice, it’s a forgiving and always tasty recipe. Similarly, the walnuts can be replaced with almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios. Nonetheless, I think this anise and walnut combination is a winner. The sweetness is just right, so these muffins can be eaten for breakfast or enjoyed as a hearty dessert.
- 1¾ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup nondairy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- ¾ cup mashed banana (about 2 ripe bananas)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup oil (can be melted coconut, sunflower, safflower, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon whole anise seeds
- 4 medjool dates, chopped
- ⅔ cup chopped walnuts, divided in half
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a larger bowl, combine the nondairy milk with the vinegar (or lemon juice). You'll notice it may curdle a bit. Now add the mashed banana, sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and anise seeds and incorporate well.
- Stir in the flour mixture, dates, and half of the walnuts and mix until just combined. Scoop the batter evenly into a muffin pan/cupcake pan lined with wrappers. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts evenly over each muffin. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until they take on a nice golden color and a toothpick inserted into one of them comes out clean.(Mine took exactly 18 minutes.)
- Let cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
-If you prefer a sweeter muffin, go ahead and add 2 more Tablespoons of sugar. For me, the amount in the recipe is just right because the bananas and dates are sweet and the cinnamon and anise lend a certain sweet note.
-Toast half of the walnuts (the half that gets mixed into the batter) for a deeper, nuttier taste.
-Don't have dates? Use a Tablespoon or two of raisins instead.