Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Espresso Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I tried these muffins once before and was unhappy with the results. Oh, sure, I ate them all. I just didn’t think they were quite good enough to share here. They were kind of weak in texture, almost greasy from too much moisture and butter. I liked the flavor, though, so I kept them in mind.

I didn’t quite have the energy to think about how to tweak the recipe for these banana muffins with espresso powder and chocolate chips, so in my mind is where they stayed for a while. Then it finally occurred to me, after an embarrassingly long time, to start with my go-to banana bread recipe and flavor it with the chocolate and espresso. I could have made a quick bread loaf instead, but, since batters for quick bread loaves and muffins are reasonably interchangeable, I decided to stick with muffins.

I made a few small changes (including adding a smidge more butter) and made some mighty fine muffins. These have the all the virtues of well-balanced, moist banana muffins with the gently bitter edge of espresso. There’s lots of chocolate in each muffin, however, enough that it cannot be ignored. I like miniature chips here. It seems that they allow for a nicer distribution of little chocolate pockets in my opinion, but you could certainly have delicious muffins with regular-sized chocolate chips.

These muffins are really delicious, pleasantly sweet, moist and chocolaty, and used some extremely overripe banana languishing in the kitchen. Those are all good enough reasons for me to eat them. If you need an excuse to eat muffins, just remember that while these may look like little cakes, they also contain plenty of fruit plus a little of your morning (or afternoon) coffee. Good enough? I think so.


Espresso Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
adapted from Pastry Affair and Cooking Light magazine

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 egg
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup buttermilk
3 medium bananas, peeled and well mashed (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with paper liners.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and espresso powder. Whisk together until well combined. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and butter until smooth. Add the buttermilk and whisk to blend well. Whisk in the banana until smooth.

4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir together until the dry ingredients are nearly moistened. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Evenly distribute the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs but no wet batter.

6. Remove from the oven and cool about 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool at least 10 minutes more. Serve warm or completely cooled. Freeze leftover muffins in a zip-top freezer bag.

Makes 12 muffins


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