Waiting … with Banana Maple-Nut Muffins

She waited for the bus. One … two … three … four … she held her breath and counted in her head—slowly, very slowly. They will pass she told herself—even as she gritted her teeth and was careful to hold perfectly still. She just had to hold on until they were gone. “They” were cramps, sharp piercing cramps … pains that cut into her stomach and made her wonder what could possibly be wrong with her. But she wouldn’t let herself think about that long and, if she just held on, she knew they would go away.

Only minutes earlier, she had finished her bowl of cereal at the kitchen table. She LOVED cereal. It was her daily breakfast before school and she loved to eat it any time. If they were out of cereal on school mornings, her mom would fix another of her favorites, cinnamon toast.

Some 30 years later on the drive home from the doctor’s office, her mind was like a computer frenetically flashing backwards and forward in time—piecing together the clues of her personal history with the information the doctor had shared. The morning ritual while waiting on the school bus was just one of many episodes in her lifetime where she’d held on … waiting for some symptom to pass. When the doctor gave her a diagnosis of gluten intolerance and stated all her lifelong issues had been caused by gluten, she couldn’t believe it. She was stunned. She had literally been going to doctors for years and years in search of answers.

Could this doctor’s conclusion really be the cause of all her issues when the possibility of a gluten issue had never come up before? It seemed too much to hope. She had been acting as her own medical/food detective for years trying to find the answer, having already eliminated caffeine and limited dairy intake in search of relief. But, GLUTEN? Wheat, rye, barley, and oats and other foods through cross contamination the doctor had said. Gluten was in her beloved cereal, in her tasty toast, in her favorite pizza and spaghetti … in fact, as her mind continued racing and processing the words “gluten intolerance,” she realized gluten was the primary ingredient of EVERY meal she consumed.

I was that young girl who grew up to be the woman who received the diagnosis of gluten intolerance in 2003. I had suffered from “stomach problems” as far back as I could remember. The school bus scenario played out day in and day out until I went off to college where a whole new series of issues began. Going gluten free brought relief from a lifetime of symptoms and illnesses. My transformation was a miracle and I will forever refer to the doctor who diagnosed me as “miracle doc.”

Eating gluten free is really so easy, compared to suffering daily with health issues. However, I love baking and for a long time after going gf, I did NO baking. I have always been a person who enjoyed “baking from scratch” and until I figured out how to do that safely and on my own terms, I just abstained from baking. Thankfully, I found my way back to baking and forged my own path for living gluten free easily (gfe). My way of being gfe is what I’ll be sharing with you here at gfe–gluten free easily.

My breakfasts these days tend to be very simple-often all or mostly protein, like some scrambled eggs; or part of a leftover chicken breast, perhaps with vegetables; or sometimes simply fruit and a few nuts. I feel better eating this way, and consuming fewer carbs. But, occasionally, I like to make breakfasts that are special treats. The Banana Maple-Nut muffin recipe is a crowd pleaser and a personal favorite of mine. I always make these muffins when we have overnight visitors. If you have holiday guests and a few browning bananas on the counter, now might be the perfect time to try this recipe.

Banana Maple-Nut Muffins
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe. )


3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup pecans, chopped

Mix and set aside.


½ cup pecans

¼ cup maple syrup

Mix to get crumbly texture.


2 cups gluten-free flour*

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tbsp buttermilk powder

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup water


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center; pour in wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Gently fold in filling mixture. Spoon into muffin cups until they are 2/3 full. Spoon some topping mixture onto each.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Test for doneness. Makes 15 to 20 muffins depending upon muffin size.

*I used my usual gluten-free flour mix that I make ahead and then measure out per recipe. I mix the following in a huge bowl and then divide into canisters or airtight containers: 3 lbs Asian white rice flour (Asian white rice flour is very finely ground) and 2 lbs cornstarch (Argo is gluten free). Of course, if you do not have issues with gluten, you can substitute all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.

Adapted from recipe posted on the Celiac Listserv several years ago

A gluten-free friend says these are the moistest gluten-free muffins out there. Another friend who eats gluten without issue says these are the best muffins she’s EVER eaten.

You be the judge.  ;-)

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


40 Responses to “Waiting … with Banana Maple-Nut Muffins”

  1. Gluten Free Steve on December 31st, 2008 10:13 am

    Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I love your design and your first post rings so close to home. I can’t tell you the number of times as a child I would have bad stomach pains, really bad sharp pains and there was nothing they could ever find wrong. I remember one time in high school, I had such sharp pains that I had to sit on the third floor stairs and go down one by one, like a little old main, the pain was so bad, until I could get to the nurses office.

    Wishing you a Happy 2009 – Welcome to the blogging family!

  2. glutenfreeforgood on December 31st, 2008 2:12 pm

    Yeah, Shirley!

    Congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere! Great first post and the recipe sounds wonderful. Oh, and you know I LOVE maple syrup.

    Your story sounds like some many others. It’s sad and so simple to find the remedy if you happen to run across the right health care person to show you the way. Increasing awareness so other kids don’t have to go through what you did — that’s our mission!

    Here’s wishing you a wonderful year of happy and healthy blogging!


  3. Shirley on December 31st, 2008 4:38 pm

    Steve–Thanks so much! I really appreciate your kind words. I bet so many of us experienced similar childhood woes. They are still painful to hear about though. I felt for you hearing your story. I don’t think kids get stomach pains like those without some reason. Increased awareness and a higher diagnosis rate can’t come soon enough! Happy 2009 back to you. Wow–I just gave birth to my blog and joined a big family. ;-)

    Melissa–Ah, thanks for the warm welcome and nice compliments! You’re right … so much now is left to chance with diagnosis … it’s almost like hitting the lottery of good health! (When you consider how many celiacs remain undiagnosed, the staggering odds are similar.) Yes, we all have a unified mission, which is very exciting for 2009!

  4. Jennifer Smith on December 31st, 2008 6:45 pm

    I remember as a child being forced to eat oatmeal every morning, and I can remember my throat closing up as I ate it. And so many more instances! Shirley, congrats. You will be able to spread the word to so many more.

  5. Kay Niedenthal on December 31st, 2008 8:26 pm

    I feel like we should throw you a baby shower or something. Welcome to “the gang.”

    I didn’t have stomach pains, but I had a million mystery rashes. Naturally, every doctor recommended oatmeal baths. Sheesh!

    I’ll put you on my blogroll.

  6. Shirley on December 31st, 2008 9:58 pm

    Jennifer–Ironically, I started eating oatmeal for breakfast EVERY DAY about a year before diagnosis. Ugh. Thank you for adding a bit of your personal experiences. Everything is always so clear in hindsight, isn’t it? I appreciate your neverending support, dear.

    Kay–A baby shower! ROFL How about a pounding instead? Remember those? As long as we ensured all the “pounds” were GF, we’d be good! (I gave one to a relative once instead of a traditional wedding shower. It was fun and makes mores sense than getting 8 colors of bath towels.) I’d like to see a pie chart on all the different symptoms that folks have experienced. (It would be a humongous one, that’s for sure.) One of the problems is that folks go to a symptom list expecting to see all their symptoms listed. If they see one that doesn’t fit, they dismiss the possibility and, unfortunately, many medical personnel respond the same way. More to come on such discussions for sure … Thanks so much for stopping by and adding me to your blogroll, Kay!

  7. Kate on January 1st, 2009 12:09 am

    Wahoo! You’ve ARRIVED!

    Welcome aboard to the BEST ride of your life! ;) You’re going to LOVE blogging as much as we are going to LOVe reading it!

  8. Sheila on January 1st, 2009 12:28 am

    Great blog! The more people talking, the more people learning! Thanks so much.

  9. Therese on January 1st, 2009 9:20 am

    Beautiful! LOVE your site, so many people will be helped by this, Shirley.

    Love the name because at first glance going GF seems anything BUT easy. Having something this easily accessible and informative will go a long way toward breaking down that mental barrier that keeps people from accepting the idea of a GF life and getting started. (hmmmmmm, now what might I know about that??? ;) )

    As for those muffins, if my fellow readers have not yet tried them, I urge you to! I am in the “best I’ve ever eaten” camp.
    They’re absolutely delicious. Enjoy them warmed, split partly through, with some honey poured on. Wonderful.

    Congratulations on a job beautifully done and meeting another goal toward your dream of helping people live their best, healthy, GF lives.

  10. Shirley on January 1st, 2009 10:05 am

    Kate–Thank you so much for your very positive thoughts!! When I read the “BEST ride of your life,” I suddenly remembered what my husband always says to me before we embark on any big adventures … “you know that moment, when you step in the roller coaster and they clamp down the bar? well, all you can do is hang on and go for the ride, baby!” LOL

    Sheila–Thank you so very much for your kind words. I hope you will stop by often and pass on any info you find noteworthy to your own support group. :-)

    Therese–It’s so good to see you here! I will be forever grateful for all your support and encouragement. You’ve been there for me since day one of going gluten free, remember? (Not many folks are in that catgeory.) Thanks for adding the note about the muffins, too … especially the honey factor! Now if I could just figure out a way to get a little virtual sample of our bees’ honey to all …

  11. Katie on January 2nd, 2009 7:32 am

    Hey Shirley. I love the look of your blog. I have been trying to eat more gluten free. NOT sure if I have an intolerance to it but I can eat a WHOLE loaf of bread and not be full plus when I eat wheat my fingers get bloated.

    Anyway congrats.


  12. Shirley on January 2nd, 2009 11:04 am

    Katie–Thanks so much! I remember you thinking you might have some issues with gluten. The best thing to do is to get tested and see if you have any issues–from gluten sensitivity to celiac. A positive on testing gives one the conviction to eat gluten free all the time. Once one knows gluten is actually harming one’s body and/or causing such symptoms, one just can’t justify eating even the tiniest morsel. In fact, the US FDA is proposing a 20 parts per MILLION (ppm) or less requirement for products that are labeled gluten free. That is the predominant thinking on the safe amount that folks with gluten issues can ingest. However, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) under the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) certifies products to the 10 ppm level or less. Some of us find we have issues with anything more than 10 ppm and, ideally, most of us are looking to foods that have ZERO parts per million. In other words, GFE, all the foods that are naturally gluten free 100% of the time as they are when the universe was made–like meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit … those foods never need a gluten-free label. Our bodies know how to handle real food so much better than they know what to do with processed foods, even ones certified GF. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will visit again and, hopefully, keep finding answers that will allow you to make the best health decisions for yourself!

  13. KDJones on January 2nd, 2009 3:27 pm

    The muffins are really great. I am going to make some to feed my gluten troubled spouse and kid.

  14. Shirley on January 2nd, 2009 5:48 pm

    KDJones–Hmmmm, an old expression comes to mind … “when you point a finger at someone else, there are four pointing back at you.” LOL, but, seriously, I am a firm believer that everyone should get tested for gluten issues. The wheat of today has far more gluten (and far less of the nutrients) than the wheat of many years ago. Plus, wheat is in so much food that many eat on a daily basis. As the accuracy of testing methods improves, I hope testing of everyone will become a reality. As Dr. Alessio Fasano (one of the foremost celiac experts) recently stated, “The reaction to gluten is on a continuum. You can have no reaction. Or you can have an allergy, a sensitivity, an early stage of celiac disease where the condition isn’t revealed by biopsy or you can have full-fledged celiac disease.” Make the muffins for sure though! They will be better for all of you than the gluten ones. :-) And, I really appreciate your endorsement of them!

  15. Nance on January 4th, 2009 7:13 pm

    Congrats on claiming your little corner of the internet! Your story is very poignant, and I’m sure it will be so helpful to so many moms who are looking to go Gluten-Free more easily. Now they can relate to what their kids have had to go through, and they can feel better about making that first meal of the day a pleasant and nutritious one without such sad consequences.

  16. Heather @ Life, Gluten Free on January 4th, 2009 9:36 pm

    welcome to gluten free blogging! I am looking forward to seeing your future posts. I had stomach problems my whole life to, never making the connection because I didn’t know what celiac disease was. My symptoms peaked after my daughter was born, and it was unbearable. I am so thankful for my diagnosis, because I can eat and be healthy without gluten! hooray!

  17. Shirley on January 4th, 2009 11:08 pm

    Heather–Thanks so very much for the warm welcome! I hope you’ll come back and visit often. I know your family is dealing with more allergen/intolerance issues than gluten, so not every recipe I feature will work for you, but I hope some will. And, hopefully, the discussions here at GFE (like this one) will continue to be of value. I am truly so sorry you went through your terrible experience before diagnosis. That’s why I keep sharing my story with others, and I am sure you do, too–to help as many people as possible find out if they have gluten issues and avoid such terrible times. Everyone thinks the GF diet is so awful, but most of us who are on it, are just thanking our lucky stars for the good health it’s brought us! BTW, a friend actually was diagnosed with celiac several years before my diagnosis, so I sort of knew what it was, but I still didn’t relate it to my symptoms.

  18. Peter Bronski on January 5th, 2009 9:50 am

    Hi Shirley,

    Love the new blog! I especially love your slant on GF…doing it EASILY. It reminds me of an old adage about parking in NYC, believe it or not. If you believe that parking in Manhattan is a nightmare, then it will be, and you’ll spend an hour circling blocks looking for a spot. But if you believe you can find a spot, you will, in no time flat. GF cooking is the same way – if you believe it’s a culinary death sentence, it will be. But if you believe you can cook delicious GF food EASILY, then you will! Thanks for inspiring folks to not only go GF, but to go GFE.


  19. Shirley on January 5th, 2009 6:29 pm

    Pete–Thank you so much! So glad you stopped by to visit. I love your analogy about parking in NYC! (BTW, I have a friend who does the “lucky parking spot, lucky parking spot” mantra wherever we go and we always find one right away.) “Culinary death sentence” … very accurate description of how most of us feel after diagnosis (at least initially), but as soon as we focus on the positive and all we CAN eat, it does become EASY. You and me, we’re GFE! ;-)

  20. Shirley on January 6th, 2009 6:34 am

    Nance–I just realized I somehow missed responding to you on this post. Actually I am sharing this corner of the internet with a bunch of wonderful GF bloggers (many of whom have been gracious enough to post here and welcome me to their world in the last several days). :-) But, thank you for your words … they are very kind. I really hadn’t thought of it from other mother’s perspectives that way. Certainly, I tried fervently to protect my own son from his gluten-related symptoms, but thinking that GFE might make moms of GF kids feel better about their own efforts … well, honestly, I just love that.

  21. therese on April 4th, 2009 9:28 pm

    Shirley, I made your muffins yesterday but actually baked it in a loaf pan (lazy). My sister-in-law was visiting recently and brought banana bread and served it with honey nut cream cheese so today we had your banana maple-nut bread with Philadelphia honey-nut cream cheese. Out of this world! It would certainly be simple enough to whip honey and nuts into plain cream cheese but I went for convenience.
    Thanks again for the great recipe. Please let me know if you ever try it with the h-n cream cheese. It’s wonderful.

    • Shirley on April 4th, 2009 10:50 pm

      Oh, Therese, what a terrific idea! Did you have to adjust the amounts to make the recipe in a loaf pan? It seems like it would be more batter and filling than would fit in one loaf pan. Please tell me more. :-) Honey nut cream cheese sounds awesome. I’ll make a point of trying your version soon … maybe when we have some overnight guests or for a meeting (to save myself from overindulgence). :-)


  22. therese on April 5th, 2009 5:29 pm

    Here are the details:

    It was too much for one pan, really. I should have divided it or used a 9×13 or something. As it was, I had to cover it with foil after a while to avoid burning the top so that it could stay in the oven long enough to cook through. Next time I’ll do it differently.

    Man, it was good, Shirley. I couldn’t leave it alone. Now it’s gone. Thank God.

  23. therese on April 5th, 2009 5:33 pm

    In retracing my steps I just remembered something. I preheated to 350 because I was going to make a different recipe before I remembered yours. So this loaf baked at 350 the entire time. I wonder how much difference it would have made to go at 375. Would it have cooked through and not burned on top or would the top just have burned sooner?

    • Shirley on April 5th, 2009 10:09 pm

      I’m thinking dividing it would be better, but baking at 375 would be best, too. Perhaps using some mini-loaf pans? You’ll have to make it again to be sure! LOL I’m like you … I’m always glad when something insanely good is gone because it’s no longer tempting me. But, mini-loaf pans inspire one to share more as well. Sharing, that value we learned in kindergarten, is the best one to save one’s self I think. ;-)


  24. DP on December 24th, 2010 11:44 am

    Merry Christmas, Shirley! I never did run that marathon, but I tried two more of your recipes. These banana muffins are delicious (I made mine without the pecans because I didn’t have any on hand). Even my gluten-full hubby enjoyed them. I also tried the peanut-almond butter cookies, and they were a hit with me and my daughter, who usually frowns upon my gluten-free treats. Many, many thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes. Wishing you the very best in the New Year!

    • Shirley on December 25th, 2010 5:20 pm

      Hi again, DP!–LOL on not running the marathon yet. We’ll all need to be doing that after this week. ;-) Success with two more recipes with your gluten-full family memmbers?! Gotta love that. :-) Hope you’ll make the muffins again later with pecans … they are scrumptious. They freeze well, too. :-) I don’t think you can go wrong with those flourless cookies using any nut butter. Son just gave me some Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter as part of my Christmas present and, of course, I’m thinking about making some cookies using it.

      You’re quite welcome … I’m so happy that you are enjoying my recipes. I hope you’ll keep making them and experiencing success so that living gluten free easily is a delightful reality in your house! Many thanks for the Christmas and New Year wishes! Sending them back to you, dear. :-) Big hugs,


  25. Kelly Smith on October 1st, 2011 8:58 pm

    Can you suggest a dairy-free sub for the buttermilk powder? Could I use soured coconut milk instead of water and then replace the buttermilk powder with something else? (almond flour??)

    • Shirley on October 2nd, 2011 12:24 am

      Hi Kelly–The buttermilk powder and water equate to buttermilk, so I think your idea on using soured coconut milk (do you just add vinegar to it?) would work. You probably don’t have to replace the buttermilk powder at all, as it would dissolve in the water normally. I’ve been using coconut flour (sifted) to replace milk powder in other recipes, but not sure if it’s necessary here. I do need to re-create this recipe as dairy free. Best of luck! Let us know. :-)


  26. kathleen on February 6th, 2012 5:51 pm

    Shirley, love your blog & recipes. Any suggestions on what I can sub. for the buttermilk? I have dairy “issues”.

    • Shirley on February 10th, 2012 1:07 am

      Hi kathleen–First, thanks so much for the wonderful compliment! That’s a good question on the buttermilk powder. I think I’d try using 1/4 cup non-dairy milk and adding just a pinch of vinegar to the milk and letting it sit a minute before adding. A pinch usually refers to a measurement of dry ingredients, but I’m talking about a drop or two of vinegar. I’ve subbed coconut flour for dairy powder, so maybe a tbsp of that could be subbed for the buttermilk powder without even adding any vinegar. All this is guessing, but I suspect this recipe will be pretty forgiving. With using the non-dairy milk, since the measurement is more than the amount of buttermilk powder, you might need to bake the muffins a tad longer. Hope those ideas help!


  27. Aleasha on May 2nd, 2013 10:24 pm

    These muffins are delicious! I’ve made them several times with great success. Tonight I made them and I forgot to add the brown sugar…I was thinking they would be a total loss. Nope. They are still quite yummy :)

    • Shirley on September 21st, 2013 8:21 pm

      Thanks for adding your review, Aleasha! I love hearing that these muffins can be made without the brown sugar. It’s great when bananas give enough sweetness on their own to a recipe. ;-)


  28. Linda S on March 15th, 2014 11:48 am


    • Shirley on March 15th, 2014 12:10 pm

      Thanks, Linda! These are my favorite muffins! :-)


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