Chocolate Banana Muffins

Tall, moist and chocolatey, these banana muffins are packed with flavour but light on sugar, so you can snack on one (or three!) without any sense of guilt. This recipe calls for more bananas than most other ones out there to help the muffins stay moist and sweet with much less sugar. Just make sure your bananas are extremely ripe – the skin should be mainly brown and almost disintegrate off when peeling (check that the flesh is still firm though!).

Instead of mashing the bananas by hand, you can also toss them in a blender to get a smoother consistency, but I quite like having some small chunks of sweet, gooey banana in the final product, especially when combined with the crunch and slight bitterness of the walnuts. Other nuts like pecans would work as well.

To help the muffins rise tall, they are baked at a high initial temperature for a short burst to expand quickly, then the temperature is lowered for the remaining time to cook them through. You can use this same technique for other muffins as well to help get that distinctive bakery-style dome.

Ingredients (makes 9 large or 12 standard muffins)

  • 150g (1 ¼ cup) flour
  • 25g (¼ cup) cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 75g (⅓ cup) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 25g (2 tbsp) sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 200g walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or brush with oil.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas, leaving some small chunks to add texture.
  4. Add butter, egg, sugar (optional) and vanilla to the banana mixture. Whisk well to incorporate.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until just even. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  6. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins and bake at 425F for 5 – 7 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

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