Choco-banana Muffins with Salted Caramel (Archive)

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Banana bread is what one would call the unfortunate dessert at the bake sale. And banana muffins are, well, the unfortunate’s sickly friend who gets a pat on the back and awkward smiles from passersby. Ok, yeah, it’s sugary. You’re being super economical and crafty by using up those disgusting looking bananas. Oh look, you took the time to spoon them into the muffin tin. Bravo. It’s a ‘healthier’ dessert. It’s easy to whip up at the last minute. Oh, you even put walnuts in there? Well guess what, Tim over there is allergic to nuts so thanks a bloody lot.

Don’t we all look like Betty Crocker heroes showing up to the pizza party with dry and almost-blackened-on-the-sides banana bread. If all the desserts got together and picked softball teams, banana bread would be the last guy standing. Groups of buff, lusty tiramisu and fudge cake would be outright arguing about who got stuck with the dude. Poor banana bread. It’s a dweeby dessert with no backbone.

Out of sheer pity for banana bread everywhere and the blackening bananas in my fruit bowl, I gave the little guy a makeover. I’m not sure what black magic I used to conjure up these love muffins, but they really are lovely. Super easy. Moist. Gluten free. Gooey chocolate-centered. Geek to chic in 40 minutes flat.

Banana Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbs flax meal + 6 tbs water)
  • 1.25 c almond meal
  • 1 c oat flour
  • ½ c dark chocolate chunks (~48 pieces)
  • 5 tbs unsweetened and unflavored almond or soy milk
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • ½ c coconut milk
  • 1/3 c brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Splash of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flax meal and water together in a large mixing bowl. Let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Now mush the bananas into the flax egg and add the almond/soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir the mixture until everything is combined.

Melt the coconut oil: on the stove, in the microwave, over a camp fire. Your choice. If the oil is solid it won’t mix with the batter. Add the baking powder, salt, almond meal, and oat flour to the banana mixture. Pour in the melted coconut oil and gently combine everything.

Line a muffin tin (that holds 12) with paper muffin cups. Grease the muffin cavities if you don’t have liners. Fill each cavity halfway. Carefully stick ~4 chocolate chunks in the middle of each muffin. Now fill the cups with the remaining batter. Pop in the oven for 40 minutes.

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Look at these sweet innocent banana babies I WILL DEVOUR YOU ALL.

To make the caramel sauce, combine the brown sugar and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a silicon spoon/spatula/something, stir the mixture for 2-3 minutes—until it is thoroughly heated and turning a dark brown color. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and stir constantly for 20 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the heat, add the salt, and continue stirring for two minutes. Pour the caramel in an airtight container and cool it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. It can easily be reheated when the muffins need to hit the sauce, so to speak.

Once both components are made—muffins and caramel—light candles, scatter some rose petals around the kitchen, and then bathe the muffin in luscious, velvety caramel sauce. Once you bite into the gooey chocolate in the middle, it’s all over. You can thank me for the ensuing battle with diabetes.

Notes & Tips:

  1. If you have almonds and oats, you have almond meal and oat flour. Simply pulse the almonds into a meal in a food processor. Do the same with the oats. The texture of the almond meal should be fine but somewhat gritty. The oats should have a finer texture.
  2. I urge you to make the caramel ahead of time. I did not heed my own warning, and spent an hour looking longingly at the muffins while the caramel set up in the fridge.
  3. You will have leftover caramel sauce. It will be useful for many, many things. You will also lick the caramel sauce from every corner of your tupperware. Mad respect for doing that.
  4. If leftover caramel sauce sounds too indulgent, cut the salted caramel recipe in half.
  5. Looking for vegan chocolate chunks? I used these, and they are super yummy (because the first ingredient is sugar).

***Originally posted 8/2014***

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