Cinnamon Walnut Banana Muffins

If food were a language these soft, cinnamony Banana Walnut Muffins would be the way to say “I love you.”

These Banana Walnut Muffins studded with cinnamon are a great grab-and-go breakfast.

It feels like just last week I was scrolling through photos of Ferguson on fire. Smoky streets, busted windows, hastily painted signs, and walls of armored police filled my screen. It was actually over eight months ago, but today the same images invade my Twitter feed. It may be a different location, but it’s the same story, the same desperation, the same violence, the same confusion.

I wrote about my thoughts on Ferguson all those months ago, and here we are again. I feel utterly helpless, lost for words. I’m tempted again to let the moment pass, to soldier along with humor and tasty treats, and wait for the fury to die away slowly.

But just as Ferguson demanded we pause and take notice, so should Baltimore. Today I write not because I have solutions, but because I am just as lost, just as aching for answers,  as so many of my brothers and sisters in Baltimore and across the country.
Banana Walnut Muffins from

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” He wasn’t supporting or condoning violence, but he also didn’t use violence as an excuse to ignore the wounds which caused it. He recognized that a riot is more than just the unwise and unproductive actions of a few angry people. The riots of Ferguson and of Baltimore communicate something to us. They tell a story of desperation, of confusion, of pent up anger and frustration.

My temptation is to pray for peace. Lord, have mercy. Let the violence stop. But if I dare to pray for peace, I must also dare to walk in it. I must dare to learn the language of peace, which is not passive, but active and moving. The language of peace dares to walk the burning streets, just as these clergy in Baltimore did. The language of peace acknowledges the inherent dignity of all human beings. It is patient and wise. It listens before it speaks. It stands in solidarity with the broken hearted. It is committed to doing the hard, difficult, painful work of reconciliation and healing.

Let’s just go ahead and admit it. This isn’t fun or easy. It is often downright uncomfortable. I’d much rather talk about muffins than systemic racism, police brutality, and poverty, and, let’s be honest, most of the time that’s exactly what I do. It is much easier for me to say a quick prayer than to sit with someone in pain. But if we are unwilling to have these conversations, if we refuse to listen to those we disagree with, if we don’t have time to hear the pain of our neighbors, we will never see change.

Banana Walnut Muffins via

So today I come to the table again with nothing more than a plateful of muffins and a willing heart. I invite the police officers, the rioters, the worried mommas, the felons, and the clergy men and women to join me. I do not know each of your stories. I don’t know your struggles, your frustrations, or your fears. We are separated by distance, by race, by education, and by income, but here at the table we do share one language in common, and that is food.

These Banana Muffins are a humble offering. They’re breakfast comfort food, studded with pockets of cinnamon and the occasional satisfying crunch of walnut. They’re one way I say “I love you” and “I’m here for you” and “You matter to me.” Food is my gift. It is one small part of the language of peace I speak fluently, and today I share it with you. I hope you’ll pull up a chair, grab a muffin or two, and join the conversation.

Banana Walnut Muffins via

Cinnamon Walnut Banana Muffins

Yield: 14
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 very ripe large bananas
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (can sub with all purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup mini cinnamon chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 muffin tins with non stick cooking spray and line with 14 muffin liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until no lumps remain. Stir in the sour cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla until well combined.
  • In another bowl, mash the bananas then stir them into the butter mixture.
  • In a third bowl, whisk together flours, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon. Gently stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Stir in all but 1/4 cup of the cinnamon chips and the walnuts.
  • Use a cookie scoop to fill the muffin cups nearly to the top. Sprinkle with reserved cinnamon chips and walnuts.
  • Place the muffins in the oven and reduce heat to 350. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
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     Note: These muffins are based on my Sour Cream Banana Bread recipe. I’ve also made them with chocolate chips. If you’d like to do this, simply omit the walnuts and cinnamon chips and replace them with 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips!

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    1. Well said Courtney! Situations like in St. Louis and Baltimore shows how much suffering there really is… These muffins are a wonderful offering to anyone’s table. πŸ™‚

    2. OOOH I LOVE the way that line is shining on the muffins!! Looks like the perfect breakfast setting with the most perfect muffins!

    3. Great post, I completely agree with your sentiments. And your humble offering looks more than humble, they look absolutely delicious.

    4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Courtney–like you, I’m terribly confused, though I’m glad you also included the clergyman video link here. It’s moments like that that remind us what it means to walk in the path of peacefulness and not simply mope around in the hopes that it will all make itself better. I still need to do more in terms of being proactive, but it’s a start. Also, thank you for sharing these muffins! They really did offer a bright spot to the day.

      1. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of so much violence and hurt (it’s how I feel 90% of the time). But I agree, seeing people step up like those clergymen really does help give meaning to what peace in action looks like. Thanks so much Ala!

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