Queen's Surf Banana Muffins

Well, after my silly rants on the last post, I thought I'd share these awesome banana muffins with you. They're an old favorite, and I do mean old. The recipe originally came from the popular Queen's Surf restaurant in Waikiki, which was torn down years ago. I've made a few updates, of course. There's crunchy, toasted macadamia nuts and chunky, crystals of raw sugar on top. I added some grated lemon zest, for a bit of citrus zing, and a little nutmeg and ground cardamom to heighten that mellow banana flavor.

What usually sets me off on a recipe quest is the sight of something like this. And the awareness of 4, yes four more large bunches of bananas in various stages of ripening. Have I mentioned just how good these sweet little Apple Bananas are? Got to be the most sought after variety for growing here in Hawaii.

So, out comes the faithful recipe card for banana muffins from the Queen's Surf. I'm also going to try Ilva's Chocolate Banana Bread, posted just the other day (her April 10th entry). Maybe with big chunks of dark chocolate. Yum.

Over the years, I've tried various and sundry additions to the basic recipe, dried or fresh fruits - pineapple is especially good, nuts in or on top, brown sugar, or honey, instead of the original plain sugar. This time I used brown sugar, a full, packed 1/2 cup, instead of the 3/4s cup sugar called for, which to me, is sweeter than I prefer. The flavors were heightened with lemon zest from one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and 1/2 teas. nutmeg. Also, I used AP flour instead of cake, which I never seem to have on hand, and sifted only once with all the other dry ingredients, instead of three times. One day, I'm actually going to do what I'm told, just to observe the difference, if any. I may also separate the eggs and whip the whites to fold in next time. Here, I'll give you the historic, original version, for tradition sake, cut down to proportions for one dozen.

The Queen's Surf Banana Muffins
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter (4 oz)
3 ripe bananas, mashed (a few bigger chunks are ok) and double the amount for smaller varieties like the Apple Banana
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teas. salt
1 teas. baking soda
Cream sugar and softened butter, add bananas and well beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients together three times and blend with batter. Don't over-mix.

Pour into greased muffin pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Cool on rack and enjoy!

These muffins were topped with sprinkles of raw Turbinado sugar and toasted, chopped macadamia nuts. If you don't happen to have macadamia trees in your garden, like I do, pecans or walnuts would be great. And, since the bananas, lemon and mac nuts are grown by us, I'm entering this post in April's edition of the Grow Your Own event.

For some background information, off the Hawaii for Visitors website:
Queen's Surf Restaurant and Nightclub
In the 1950's and 1960's there was a popular restaurant and nightclub in Kapiolani Park that was known as the Queen's Surf. It was shut down by Mayor Frank Fasi on December 31, 1969. His decision was appealed and then upheld by the Hawaii State Supreme Court, which terminated the nightclub's lease as of May 31, 1970. When the Queen's Surf was finally shut down, nearly 700 people tried to crowd into to the club to say goodbye. After the shutdown, the club's popular Tavana Polynesian Revue moved to the Hawaiian Hut Nightclub at the Ala Moana Hotel. The building that housed the Queen's Surf Nightclub was torn down in 1971.


Nate-n-Annie said...


I would like to include your recipe in our "Grow Your Own" roundup this month! For information on how to enter, please go to


Aloha, Nate

Claudia said...

Thanks, I thought I did. Maybe I need to resend the email.

Evening Shade Morning Latte said...

This looks so yummy! I am going to have to try these out.

Andrea said...

Those look delicious! About 20 years ago I moved to Saipan and found out we had banana trees in the yard. And not once in the four years that I was there did we ever get to eat any of those bananas because they were always stolen. I'm glad you got to keep yours! Welcome to Grow Your Own!

Claudia said...

Thanks to Evening Shade, and Andrea, I'm always giving them away, but here nobody swipes bananas, unless they're off in a ravine somewhere. However,if your home is near a busy street the litchis off your tree might take a walk.