Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Muffins
(from The Novice Chef Blog)
I have tried making muffins many different ways. I’d like to say they still taste really good when you substitute applesauce for oil, but they don’t taste really good. When you remove all the fat, you have to replace it with something, so in the case of the applesauce, it’s sugar. The texture of the muffins goes from fluffy to gummy, and it’s hard to sell anyone on gummy baked goods. I think the best thing is just to stick to the old-fashioned method.
I do think a nice dollop of Greek yogurt, while an unusual ingredient, is a welcome addition to the muffins. It makes them extra moist, it’s fat free, and it has lots of protein. Same goes for the flax seed: just a nice, healthy boost. And while I still would hesitate to call these muffins “health food,” they’re not a bad snack for kids. They’re not even a bad breakfast choice, especially if paired with a little turkey sausage or an egg. During the school year, I always pair a starch with a protein for them in the morning, and it has to be easy and quick. Of course biscuits and toast are often on the menu, the muffins are good for a change of pace.
For the bananas, you can use the ripened bananas on the shelf, or you can use the ones in the freezer. I love freezing bananas, like for my favorite Wake-Up Shake. But instead of freezing the whole thing, I slice them before I freeze them, and that way you can use as many or as few as you need. If you’re going to use frozen ones, just thaw them for a minute in the microwave, and then mash them up.
And I know I’ve mentioned this in previous entries, but for the flax seeds, I think it’s best to buy them whole and grind them in a small grinder like this one on Amazon. Is there anything you can’t get on Amazon?
Makes about 18 muffins
Total time: 30-45 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
½ cup chocolate hazelnut spread
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl to remove any lumps.
- In a separate bowl using an electric hand mixer, mix together the banana, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the egg, oil, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and flax seed and mix until blended smoothly.
- Fold in the pecans with a rubber spatula.
- Fill the muffin tins ¾ of the way full.
- In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate hazelnut spread just long enough to soften.
- Add a small spoonful of the spread to the top of each muffin. Use a toothpick or something similar to swirl the spread through the top of the muffin.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes. Test your muffins with a toothpick. When the muffins are done, the toothpick will come out clean from the center of the muffin.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the tins, and then remove and allow to cool completely before serving.