Sunday, 22 November 2015

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins - gluten free


Who loves Banana Muffins?

Although they are essentially a sweet treat, they can be made more wholesome with slight tweaks of ingredients (less refined sugars and a careful choice of flours), or more decadent with the addition of nuts, caramel or chocolate. Either way, you can eat them happily knowing that you are putting at least a little goodness into your body (well.... they contain fruit after all), as well as being fantastic for using up those bananas which would otherwise be heading for the bin. What's not to love?!

Well you could go one better...... Banana and chocolate are a perfect complimentary pairing. Let's face it, a Banana Split simply wouldn't be, without a (massive) dousing of chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of nuts on the top. So when I saw that the lovely Choclette over at Tin and Thyme had Gone Bananas for November with the We Should Cocoa challenge, it was a damn good excuse for a bake up!


Although struggling to fit much in recently, I was determined that this month, I was not going to miss out and with days to spare, I have just made the bananary We Should Cocoa deadline..... Phew!

These muffins go beyond 'banana'........ A variation on my very best banana bread recipe, I have added plenty of cocoa to the mix and then thrown in a very large handful of dark chocolate chunks for good measure. The result is a deep, rich chocolate sponge which is moist, fruity and slightly sticky with banana and shot through with extra bites of chocolate lavishness.

My daughter has not stopped munching since I made them (with or without toppings). She absolutely loves them..... I wondered whether she would, because although they do contain sugar and chocolate, they are not over-sweet. I thought she may find them a little 'dark', but no..... they have been rated more highly by her than most of the bakes I have made in recent months! Me and Mr GF (who also thought they were rather fabulous) haven't had much of a look-in....


There was one slight problem though...... the base muffins were not greatly photogenic.... Which isn't a problem if you just want to eat them. But if you want to showcase them in all their glory, you need them to look slightly more tempting.

No worries.... checking through the fridge, I found the last couple of spoonfuls from a jar of salted caramel sauce....... In the larder, a sprinkling of chopped peanuts from something else I recently made..... Problem solved! A quick whip of cream piped (rather haphazardly) on the top of each muffin, a warmed drizzle of caramel sauce and a scatter of nuts and my little 'models' were ready to share. Transformed from a bunch of shrinking violets into full-on drama queen chocolate-banofee muffins, these babies are made for the stage and will absolutely be making another appearance in my kitchen soon! Soft, over ripe bananas? Bring them on!


I am of course sharing these tantalising little bakes with Choclette and We Should Cocoa for November's Gone Bananas challenge.


I am also sharing with :


Treat Petite, this month with Kat, The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi). November's theme is Autumn Bakes...... with the cooler weather, a good dense sponge always hits the spot and this one tastes fantastic with warming custard as well as with cream.





Credit Crunch Munch with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, guest-hosting this month on behalf of Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.






No Waste Food Challenge with It's Not Easy Being Greedy on behalf of Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.










Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse.











Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.



Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (makes about 12 large muffins)

Ingredients

50g cocoa powder
100 ml boiling water
180g plain gluten free flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
150g golden caster sugar
125g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 medium-sized bananas 
100g dark chocolate chunks
175 ml buttermilk

Toppings (optional)
double cream - whipped to soft peaks
caramel sauce - warmed to drizzle
chopped nuts of choice - to sprinkle

Method

  1. Prepare your cake or muffin tins, by base lining or lining with cake cases.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  3. Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl and gradually add the boiling water, stirring until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
  4. Combine the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and whisk briefly to make sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  5. Cream together the butter and sugars with an electric whisk until soft and fluffy.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs (one at a time), beating thoroughly between each addition.
  7. Add the cocoa paste and beat again to thoroughly combine. 
  8. Mash the bananas and fold into the batter.
  9. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  10. Finally fold the buttermilk and flour mix into the batter alternately (about a third of each at a time), until just combined. 
  11. Fill your cake tins/liners to about two-thirds full with batter.
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes (large muffins) or 45 minutes if making a larger loaf, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  13. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Decorate with whipped cream and toppings or serve with custard, although they taste great just as they are.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

22 comments:

  1. Kate these are absolutely drool worthy! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite.

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    1. Thanks Kat.... That was the intention.... I'm glad it worked! Even the dullest-looking muffins look great with a 'makeover'!

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  2. Yum! These look absolutely amazing!

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    1. Thank you Bethany. I'm pleased you like them! And thanks for popping over x

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  3. oh my word these are divine! I love how they look just like mini cakes with extra decadence thrown in. Beautiful stuff!

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    1. Thank you Dom. I was pretty pleased with the end result. It's amazing how you can make an ordinary cake into a bit of a Diva with a few left overs!

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  4. Goodness me! They look flippin amazing! I could so do with one of them right now ;)

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    1. Thank you so much Vicki. I truly wish you could eat one!!! x

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  5. These banana muffins look absolutely divine. Thank you for a fabulous #CreditCrunchMunch entry:-)

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    1. Thanks Camilla. You're welcome. Always good to share!

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  6. Oh my Kate. I'm so glad I provided you with an excuse to make these and that you managed to find the time. I love the texture of chocolate and banana cakes, but you have really taken them to a whole new level with the cream, salted caramel and nuts - oh yes! And yes! And yes again! Many thanks for joining in with #WeShouldCocoa.

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    1. Yes.... thanks for the inspiration Choclette. I really enjoyed making (and eating) them..... so I am pleased I found the time. And as always, I love to share with #WeShouldCocoa x

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  7. I am in admiration for your skill in making unphotogenic muffins look amazing - I want one even though I actually would prefer it without the cream - sounds so yummy

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    1. Ha ha. Thanks Johanna. They would be pretty amazing with coconut cream too I think!

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  8. These look absolutely and utterly stunning with that caramel dripping down the sides - want!!! Thank you for sharing with Credit Crunch Munch and the No Waste Food Challenge! :)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I have to admit the caramel is very tempting.

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  9. Theses just look mouthwatering and chocolate, banana and caramel is one of my favourite flavour combinations #freefromfridays

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  10. I am drooling over these! I would really like to grab one right now. Beautiful combination of flavours. Really nice photos too.

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  11. I am not sure you could make a more appetising looking muffin - these look seriously delicious! Thanks for sharing with the no waste food challenge, the round up is finally live, so sorry it took so long! I have linked to each of your three delicious recipes.

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    1. Well thank you Corina! And you're welcome. x Good to know I can pimp up even the dreariest-looking muffins!

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