It happens to the best of us—the tempting smell that filled your house while your banana muffins were baking became too enticing for you to bear, so you took the tray out of the oven too soon. If so, time is of the essence: the sooner you notice your baked goods are underdone, the better your chances of salvaging them in one piece. However, even if you spotted the sub-par bake a bit too late, there are still plenty of ways to fix (or make use of) your muffins.
Here’s how you can fix undercooked banana muffins:
- Put the muffins back into the oven.
- Let the muffins cool completely.
- Make banana muffin cake pops.
- Turn the muffins into crumbs.
- Make banana bread pudding.
In this article, I’ll take you through each of these five quick and simple strategies to fix your undercooked banana muffins. In the last section, I’ll also delve into a few tips and tricks on how to know when your banana muffins are done so that your next batch comes out of the oven baked to perfection.
1. Put the Muffins Back Into the Oven
As long as your muffins are still hot from the oven, there’s a chance you can salvage them by putting them back in to bake some more. Granted, the more time your muffins have had to cool down, the harder it will be for them to reach that ideal consistency, but at least they’ll be cooked all the way through.
This is why you want to monitor your muffins closely during the first few minutes after taking them out of the oven. Repeat the toothpick test several times to make sure there are no undercooked or excessively moist spots in your muffins. Sometimes, even though the centers might be fully cooked, the sides can still be a bit runny if your oven has any cold spots.
If you notice that the batter seems raw or underdone in some areas, simply put the muffin tray back into the oven for an additional five minutes, after which you can reassess. During this time, you should be observing your muffins closely. Sometimes, they might only need an additional minute or two, and you’ll want to take them out immediately to avoid letting them become too dry.
As I mentioned, the window for putting back your banana muffins into the oven doesn’t stay open for long, so you want to act as quickly as possible. If your muffins have cooled down to room temperature, you’ll have to consider one of the following strategies instead.
If you put fully cooled-down muffins into a hot oven, the batter will become dry and fall flat instead of rising as you want it to. The attempt would serve no purpose, as you still wouldn’t be able to get the perfectly-baked muffins you were looking for.
When your muffins come fresh out of the oven, they should be soft to the touch but not mushy or runny. The surface should have lost most of its sheen, and the texture should feel airy. I’ll dive further into some of the signs you should look for in a fully baked banana muffin in one of the following sections.
2. Let the Muffins Cool Completely
Sometimes the solution might be simpler than you’d think. Just like cookies (and other individually-sized baked goods), muffins continue to bake even after being taken out of the oven.
In fact, all baked desserts carry some residual heat that allows them to continue cooking even when left to cool. However, when it comes to individually-sized desserts like muffins, the difference this internal heat can make in texture and cook quality is much more noticeable, as each serving’s volume is relatively low.
Sometimes it’s best to leave your banana muffins some time to fully cool down before determining whether they’re undercooked or not. As with cookies, some muffins will feel strangely soft right out of the oven, only to firm and gain their structural integrity as they cool down.
When it comes to finding the right fix for your seemingly undercooked muffins, you might have to rely a bit on your baker’s intuition. When taking a batch out of the oven, you should inspect each muffin to determine whether its texture warrants being left to bake for a few additional minutes or whether you should simply let it cool down instead.
3. Make Banana Muffin Cake Pops
If neither of the previous strategies worked, I’m afraid you’ll have to let go of the idea of banana muffins in their traditional form and look into some creative solutions. I know these are far from ideal, but at least you’ll still be able to get a presentable dessert on the table instead of serving soggy, undercooked muffins.
An excellent option is to make banana muffin cake pops. If you’ve baked for long enough, you know that cake pops are the solution for any sub-par sponge. They allow you to still enjoy the flavor and aroma you’ve worked so hard for without having your experience ruined by a less-than-ideal texture.
All you need to turn your failed banana muffins into cake pops is a frosting of your choice. For example, apple butter frosting pairs perfectly with the flavor and aroma of banana muffins. However, you can opt for whatever combination you prefer (or whatever you currently have on hand). Cream cheese frosting would pair wonderfully in this case as well.
- Turn your muffins into crumbs.
- Mix the crumbs into your frosting of choice until you reach the desired consistency. Make sure to add small amounts of frosting at a time, as you usually need far less than you think.
- Once you’ve reached the consistency you’re looking for, roll the mixture into equally-sized balls, which you can then refrigerate or freeze until they’re solid.
- Now that your cake pop base is done, all that’s left to do is to add some straws, sticks, or any other object you think might do the job.
You can eat the banana muffin cake pops as is, or you can add some fun toppings to take them to the next level. My recommended topping would be melted chocolate or caramel paired with chopped-up walnuts or pecans.
4. Turn the Muffins Into Crumbs
If cake pops aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty you can do with banana muffin crumbs. If your muffins are texturally sub-par, crumbling them up will allow you to get much more use out of them.
First of all, crumbly muffins make for an excellent topping that you can use on ice cream, parfaits, cheesecakes, tarts, and so on. If you want to give your crumbs that extra bit of flavor and complexity, mix in a little bit of brown sugar.
The muffin crumb-brown sugar mix works especially well if you’re planning to use the topping on a baked dessert such as cobbler or pie.
Another excellent use for your banana muffin crumbs is to incorporate them into a trifle. Trifles are a holy grail for bakers who want to make use of their less-than-perfect creations. They’re delicious, easy to make, and impossible to mess up.
Simply layer your banana muffin crumbs with some type of flavored cream, jam, custard, fresh fruit, and any other add-on you might have on hand, and call it a day. I like to drizzle some caramel on the sides of the trifle bowl for some added flavor and aesthetic appeal. You can also add any type of nut or dried fruit you think would go well—don’t be afraid to get creative.
5. Make Banana Bread Pudding
Granted, this will be more of a banana muffin pudding, but you get the gist. This type of recipe calls for chopped-up muffins (which you’ll then have to bake again either way, which is why flavor is far more important than texture in this instance). Add a milk, egg, and sugar mixture (complete with flavorings) to the muffin pieces and bake until the bread pudding reaches your desired consistency.
Here’s a great recipe you can follow.
How To Know When Your Banana Muffins Are Done
Here’s how to know when your banana muffins are done:
- The tops have taken on a golden brown color.
- The surface is soft to the touch but not wet or runny.
- The batter has lost most of its sheen.
- A toothpick inserted in the center (or any other spot) comes out clean.
- The muffins spring back when you poke them lightly.
- The muffins have just started pulling away from the sides (be careful: by this time, they’re on the verge of overbaking.
Fixing undercooked banana muffins doesn’t have to be as challenging as seems. As long as you notice the issue soon enough, you can simply put the tray back in the oven for the batter to bake for a few additional minutes. In some instances, residual heat might cook the muffins through even after they’ve been taken out of the oven.
If neither of these fixes seems plausible, you might want to incorporate your banana muffins into a new dessert.