Confession # 143: I have a banana-baking impulse…Healthy Banana Coconut Chocolate Chunk Muffins
There’s something about an uber-ripe batch of bananas that makes me become a banana hoarder. And if I go to the store and see a bunch covered in those tell-tale brown speckles, all plans are out the window because I’m making banana bread… or muffins, or coffeecake, or SOMETHING. What I’m not doing is passing them by, because around here bananas are usually consumed before they ever get to that overwhelmingly sweet state when they become perfect for baking. Life is rough when you can’t get any extra-ripe bananas to work with. ;)
Lately I’ve found myself baking at random times in the day when it wasn’t on the agenda at all (because sadly I have tons of work to get done ATM), and I’ve realized that when there are bananas around to bake with, the temptation increases even more. In fact, when I posted that Instagram picture I was making these very muffins and blissfully shirking all responsibilities for a few hours. I should just accept the fact that when I have zero plans to bake for the day, that’s somehow what I’ll end up doing, especially if the bananas on the counter are ripe.
These muffins in particular were created out of a need to make something healthy for breakfast that would also feed those nonstop cravings I get for something baked, bready, and chocolate-y. I used to do more sugar-free baking with bananas back in the earlier days of the blog, the best result of that being those Cranberry Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, and I figured it was time to try something like that again. I also used to bake with oat flour which I haven’t done in for-ever, so this was kinda like getting back to some of the roots of this blog, before I got completely distracted by more extravagant things like Chocolate Chai Cake.
Anyway, these muffins are made with all oat flour, which means they’re gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free oats, and no added sugar, because they’re just lightly and naturally sweetened by roasted banana purée and chopped up coconut flakes. You can also make them dairy-free by using coconut milk instead of yogurt and dairy-free chocolate. They bake up SO tender and even though they aren’t nearly as sweet as normal banana bread, the banana and coconut flavors mixed with big chunks of dark chocolate make it so that you don’t really miss the sweetness. If anything, the banana flavor shines through even more, but in a good way (I’ve never been able to get on board with things like 100% banana “frozen yogurt”, so if that’s not your thing either, don’t be scared of these). There’s a little bit of texture from all the coconut flakes, and the best part is that every bite comes with a nice dose of chocolate-y goodness. They make the perfect breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up snack, and they’re healthy! They were actually a bigger hit than I expected around here, even with a few people who aren’t keen on coconut, so for a batch of no-flour, no-sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free muffins, I’d say they did pretty well by getting that stamp of approval!
Note: Pretty please read the recipe notes before making these. There are lots of little important things mentioned there!
These moist and tender muffins are naturally sweetened with nothing but roasted banana purée and coconut flakes, and a hefty helping of dark chocolate chunks adds something luscious to every bite. If you're looking for something to beat those chocolate cravings that's also healthy, gluten-free, added-sugar-free, and dairy-free, these muffins are calling your name!
6 3/8 ounces (2 cups) oat flour*
6 ounces (2 cups) small unsweetened coconut flakes**
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
2 ounces (1/4 cup) coconut oil, melted
2 cups (17 ounces) roasted banana purée***
4 ounces (1/2 cup) greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, or coconut) (or sub regular canned coconut milk for a dairy-free version)****
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, plus extra for sprinkling on muffin tops*****
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, coconut flakes, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate bowl beat the eggs until foamy. Slowly stream in melted coconut oil, while whisking, until smoothly combined. Add banana purée, yogurt, and vanilla and mix in until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold together until partially combined. Add the chopped chocolate and continue to fold batter just until everything is evenly incorporated.
Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing evenly between each. Press a few pieces of extra chopped chocolate into the top of each muffin.
Bake muffins at 375ºF for 5 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for an additional 13-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out free of batter. Cool for about 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins should be kept in an airtight container and are best stored at room temperature. For longer shelf life (more than about 4-5 days), they should be refrigerated and brought back to room temperature before eating.
*You can use store-bought oat flour, or make your own (instructions here). If using a food-processor to grind your oats, I recommend sifting the oat flour to remove any coarse bits before using.
**To make small coconut flakes, pulse regular coconut flakes in a food processor until pieces are pea-size.
***To make roasted banana purée, place unpeeled bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350ºF oven for about 20 minutes, until skins are very dark brown and bananas are fragrant. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, and then remove skins and purée bananas and juices using an immersion or regular blender. (Start with about 5-6 bananas, depending on size, but be sure to measure puree before adding to batter).
****If using canned coconut milk, whisk until smooth before measuring and adding to batter.
*****When you chop chocolate, you tend to wind up with a lot of fine flakes in addition to larger pieces. For these muffins, I highly recommend that you use only the large pieces and save the fine bits for the tops of the muffins or another use. This way, you'll end up with nice big chunks of chocolate in your muffins.
This recipe is gluten-free if made with certified gluten-free oats/oat flour and dairy-free if made with coconut milk and dairy-free chocolate.