There is nothing more comforting than a cup of hot tea and a muffin straight from the oven. These never-ending winter days have me craving lots of warm foods, and these muffins fit the bill!
There is a terrific bakery in Boston called Flour. Basically everything they make is delicious and their banana bread is no exception. I got their cookbook a few years ago and often make their banana bread (with a few tweaks of my own). Most notably, I like it as mini muffins instead of in a loaf, and with the addition of dark chocolate chips.
I was thinking about the recipe recently and wanted to give it a try without any processed sugar, white flour, or unhealthy fat. My husband, T, was skeptical to say the least. In fact, he joked about my desire to make everything healthy all the time instead of just appreciating something for being good as it is. This is definitely a fair point, but I still wanted to give the muffin makeover a try.
I’m pleased to report that the “healthy muffins” are even better than the original version. And T agrees! Something about the new combination of ingredients created particularly moist muffins with loads of flavor. So worth the upgrade.
Dark Chocolate Banana Muffin Recipe (makes 25 mini muffins, or 1 large loaf pan of bread):
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup granulated maple sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 bananas (the riper the better)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Tip: when my bananas start to get brown I toss them in the freezer in a large plastic bag. They keep indefinitely in there and are easy to grab whenever I’m ready to bake with them. Place the frozen bananas (still in their peel) in a bowl of warm water to defrost before mashing them for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
Mix maple sugar, brown rice syrup, and eggs in a separate bowl. Slowly add the melted coconut oil while mixing the batter.
Mash the bananas and mix them with the yogurt, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add to the sugar and egg mixture to the banana mixture.
Add the flour mixture to the bowl of wet batter and mix well. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, or a loaf pan. Bake for 20 minutes if making mini muffins, 35 minutes for large muffins, or 1 hour for a loaf. Test for doneness with a toothpick as cooking times can change depending on the oven and pans.
As you know, I’m all for a treat now and then. But, I try to be conscious of limiting how much processed sugar and white flour I consume in sweet goodies. These muffins were the perfect balance – they don’t have any “bad” ingredients, but still taste wonderful and feel indulgent. Plus just think of all that potassium in the bananas and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate! Enjoy.