Health(ier) Chocolate Banana Muffins

Agave-sweetened chocolate banana muffins. Three for me, one for you! Unless you make your own batch.

I admire people who are just stubborn enough to know and get what they want in life. Self-assuredness, extroversion and determination are qualities I would love to have, however, most of the time I tend to accept things the way they are and assume that everything happens for some unknown reason. I am pliable to the rhythm of the world.

Not so in the kitchen, a smaller, more insular world in which my creativity and I are sovereign. I love rummaging around in the fridge and imagining concoctions out of seemingly unrelated ingredients.

Cooking is one thing, but baking is another and was never something I was exceedingly gifted at. So, when I stopped baking with wheat flour, some bizarre things came out of my oven. Spiced pumpkin loaf that neither rose nor lost any moisture comes to mind. We politely choked down half of it before donating it to the dumpster.

Then I discovered my all-time favourite blog, Gluten-Free Goddess. Every recipe of Karina’s that I have made has been outstanding and the way she manipulates gluten-free flours is nothing short of miraculous. But when I first started using her recipes for baked goods, my stubbornness reared its ugly head. My pantry wasn’t as well-stocked with the appropriate flours as it is now, so I made reckless substitutions, thinking I knew best and forgetting that baking is more a science than an art. I used only rice flour. Or replaced flour with flax meal, resulting in weird, heavy cakes and muffins that in no way resembled Karina’s delightfully airy creations.

If I could give the me from the past some advice on gluten-free baking, it would be:

  1. Don’t be cheap! Stock your pantry with various gluten-free flours, as combining them in recipes yields the best results. If you use only rice flour, your muffin will have a grainy, chalky texture. My current flour favourites are buckwheat, sorghum, brown rice, and quinoa. Buy in bulk, and avoid Whole Foods if you’re on a budget.
  2. Don’t make rash substitution decisions until you’ve gotten more comfortable with gluten-free baking. It’s easier to screw up and you’ll end up with many disappointing results.
  3. Listen to the Gluten-Free Goddess. She knows all.
This recipe is one of the first muffin recipes that I have modified that actually came out delicious! These vegan and gluten-free chocolate banana muffins taste so good, I don’t think anyone would guess that they’re a healthier version of the classic. I am not claiming these to be “health” muffins, as they are a sweet treat, however they contain less fat and more fibre than the average wheat flour chocolate banana muffin and are sweetened with agave. But if you want to tell yourself that they’re a health muffin while you indulge in your second (or third, in my case), go right ahead.  No judgement here.

Trayful of chocolatey banananess.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
Wet Ingredients: 
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup light-tasting oil (this time, I melted Earth Balance buttery flavour spread. Vegan, but not necessarily the healthiest choice.)
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp. vanilla
3 overripe bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 350° and line a 12-muffin tin with baking cups.
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, except the chocolate chips.
Whisk all wet ingredients in a liquid measuring cup, except the mashed bananas.
Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry, mixing a little at a time with a wooden spoon. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix as this will result in a sad, flat muffin. The batter will be somewhat stiff; do not be alarmed.
Fold in the chocolate chips and mashed banana until the batter is uniform.
Fill baking cups almost to the top with batter. Smooth batter with a wet finger so the muffins look pretty. Optional: place a few chocolate chips on top to make them more attractive (and chocolatey).
Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine took 30 minutes.
Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.
Enjoy! They are divine eaten warm, but also keep well in an airtight container or individually wrapped and frozen. They did not last long in my house.

Kindly note the gooeyness and non-hockey puck texture of this gluten-free vegan baby.

Makes roughly 14 muffins. I know it’s an awkward number, but I take one for the team and eat two, so that I’m left with an even dozen. 
Recipe based on this one at Nutritious Foodie. 


Filed under Muffins

2 responses to “Health(ier) Chocolate Banana Muffins

  1. Nelinda Vanzella

    Those look like they would melt in my mouth quite nicely!

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