Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Hazelnuts

When it comes to grocery shopping, I would generally consider myself a practical person- I almost always buy the generic brand over name brand, I meticulously write out shopping lists to avoid forgetting an item, I even scan over ingredient labels to check for quality. On the other hand, when it comes to baking, I tend to do things that make people question my sanity.
Today presented a perfect example. While munching on breakfast, my eyes were drawn to the bunch of speckled overripe bananas innocently perched on the dining table. Almost instantly, I was overcome with a baking itch. This is not the kind of itch that you can just scratch and it’ll go away. No, this is like the nastiest mosquito bite you ever had; it only gets worse and worse until you scratch yourself silly. Just the site of overripe bananas screamed banana bread in my mind. I knew that I would not be satisfied until I had transformed those shriveled black bananas into a scrumptious baked treat.
I am the type that will go out and buy flour, eggs, nuts, etc. just to save two black bananas rather than just trashing them or freezing them for smoothies like any rational person. Luckily, today I happened to have just enough ingredients on hand for muffins but this is usually not the case. I usually have to go to great lengths to save a few speckled bananas. Many people do not understand the magic of overripe bananas; no sarcasm intended. The blacker the better! Although they may be past their prime for straight up snacking, there is nothing more perfect for baking. They contribute a fragrant banana-y flavor as well as moisture and natural sweetness to baked goods.
For today’s recipe, I created a twist on classic banana bread and baked the batter into portable muffin form. Banana puree and sour cream add moisture while the vanilla and hint of espresso add depth of flavor. Semi-sweet chips create bursts of rich, chocolaty goodness and perfectly complement the crunchy hazelnut topping. The addition of whole wheat flour adds fiber and antioxidants so you can almost feel virtuous eating them.(I said almost. Just overlook the sour cream and sugar.) These muffins are moist, light, and definitely indulgent. Health conscious or not, they are sure to please.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Hazelnuts


*1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (can be found in most health food stores)
¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 c. banana puree (about 2 medium bananas)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. sour cream, room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 tsp. instant espresso
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.
Whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve instant espresso in vanilla, whisk in banana puree, sugar, sour cream and the egg until smooth.
Gently stir together wet and dry ingredients until just combined.
Fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Top with hazelnuts and gently press into batter
Bake 16-20 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Nomnom!

Makes 12 muffins

*Can substitute all white flour or use regular whole wheat flour; if using regular whole wheat flour, only use 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and increase all purpose flour to 1 1/4 c.

1 comment:

  1. These muffins are to DIE for! Just excellent. But the crumble wasn't the best part... next time I make them, I just might skip the crumble.

    irene of Votive Candles



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