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.
Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse.
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (makes about 12 large muffins)
double cream – whipped to soft peaks
caramel sauce – warmed to drizzle
chopped nuts of choice – to sprinkle
- Prepare your cake or muffin tins, by base lining or lining with cake cases.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Put the cocoa powder in a small bowl and gradually add the boiling water, stirring until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
- 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.
- Cream together the butter and sugars with an electric whisk until soft and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and the eggs (one at a time), beating thoroughly between each addition.
- Add the cocoa paste and beat again to thoroughly combine.
- Mash the bananas and fold into the batter.
- Fold in the chocolate chunks.
- Finally fold the buttermilk and flour mix into the batter alternately (about a third of each at a time), until just combined.
- Fill your cake tins/liners to about two-thirds full with batter.
- 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.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Decorate with whipped cream and toppings or serve with custard, although they taste great just as they are.