a new muffin: banana with chocolate & ginger

I hadn’t cooked muffins in a long time, but then the name of this blog came into being.

And I thought, the first post should be a muffin recipe, right?

There was only one problem with that; I certainly do have a few muffin recipes that I love, however, they happen to all be frozen, stored in a wooden box in Alaska while I’m here, sweating in a tiny New Orleans kitchen.

So I was in need of a new muffin recipe, and, at the same time, three very ripe bananas happened to be hanging out in the kitchen.  I did happen to have with me a wonderful recipe for banana bread, from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, but there was a definite problem with using her recipe, which called for butter & yogurt.  Both of those are excellent ingredients in general, but not when your boyfriend is allergic to dairy products; so the search for a dairy free muffin base recipe begin.  Turns out there are plenty of vegan banana muffin recipes out there, but I didn’t want to use soy milk in my muffins, and I did want to use eggs, which complicated things.

Finally I found a few different recipes that looked promising, and, with their help, put together my own banana muffin recipe.  I kept the two things that I love most about Molly’s recipe: the chocolate (of course!) and crystallized ginger, but beyond those two ingredients it’s a pretty different formula.

As I state in the recipe, you could cut back on the chocolate and ginger.  If you chose to stick with the indicated amounts, your result will be a very moist banana muffin full of chocolate chunks and spicy ginger.  It’s an inspired combination.

Banana Muffins with Chocolate & Ginger
makes 12 muffins

2 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat, but I think they would be great with all whole wheat, or with other flour types if you’re gluten free.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (You could reduce these if you want to be a lil’ healthier…..)
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (if you don’t love ginger as much as I do, cut this back to 1/3 cup.  I like to chop half of it finely and the other half in slightly bigger chunks.)
3 mashed bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup oil – I used palm fruit shortening, but coconut oil would be even better!
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs (from happy free-range chickens, of course!)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 12 muffin cups, or use paper liners.  I decided to go the paper route.

In a small saucepan, melt the oil (if it isn’t already in liquid form), and remove from heat. Add the honey and stir until mixed, then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and stir.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork.  Add the mashed bananas, the oil-honey mixture, and vanilla and stir until well mixed (you can keep using the fork!).  Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently, until just combined.  Like any muffin, you don’t want to overmix, but make sure the flour is incorporated.  Batter will be somewhat lumpy.  Spoon into your muffin cups.  I made 12 muffins with this recipe, and although the muffin tins seemed a little bit full, they turned out perfectly.  I wouldn’t make them any smaller.

Bake until the muffins are a lovely shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean, which will be about 18-25 minutes.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then let the muffins finish cooling on a rack.  Alternately, go ahead and eat one right away while they’re warm.  I would certainly recommend the second course of action.

Enjoy! 🙂

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