Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten-free)Posted: November 9, 2015
November. Oh November.
I am the first person to agree with L.M. Montgomery: October entices me with the promises of sweater weather and changing leaves, of apples and pumpkins and all the activities heralding my favorite season. I love the Fall. November, however, always seems to show the first signs of the long gray winter, peeking out between the colorful foliage. Drizzling rain, a biting cold wind, and bare branches begin to remind us that we are in for the long haul of winter. I do love the idea of winter, too. I like snow and I especially like the thought of piles of blankets, bright fireplaces and stoves, and the sense of not having to go anywhere. Unfortunately, most of winter I do have to go somewhere, and wherever that somewhere might be is definitely going to be through the cold and ice. Even so, I am trying to treat November fairly. Most of the time, it is just as glorious as October. Plus, it contains Thanksgiving. Definitely a good month.
In the meantime, I am halfway through my first class of grad school. I just signed up for two classes for next semester (as full of a course load as I will ever take alongside my full-time job). I am really happy to be back in the classroom environment! It’s also been wonderful to be learning things that I can actively compare to my company, so I have a real-life example for all the theory and concepts. I have been working to get my hustle back–I have settled into a very routine life that allowed for more apathy than I liked. Fortunately, all of these assignments have been the kick that I needed to find a better balance. Isn’t it funny that the more we have to do, (usually) the better we are at actually getting it all done? This was the last piece to push myself back into a state of productivity, though I still have to chant a few girlpower! mantras before I can tackle vacuuming… Another result of my class is that I discovered that I read faster and with much more focus while on the treadmill, instead of lying on my couch! Studying and exercising? Possibly my greatest multi-tasking achievement.
Unfortunately, I’ve been knocked off track a little, by catching an awful cold last week. After a few miserable days, most of my symptoms have cleared up, though I still have a fair amount of chest congestion. Given my history of allergies and asthma, this is exactly where I expected the cold to settle. But I am definitely tired of coughing and wheezing. It also saps just enough of my energy, that I haven’t been able to get up and move in the mornings. I was looking for to daylight savings time to bring back some early morning light for my workout ventures, but my cold has mostly kept me couchbound. My reading for school has suffered as well (perhaps the only downfall of that multi-tasking achievement). Dealing with the cold symptoms over the weekend made the thought of early morning breakfast-making seem a gargantuan task. And the idea of warm muffins, already-made when I woke up during the week, was all too appealing. So I pulled overripe bananas from my freezer and set to work on this ultra-comforting recipe.
Banana chocolate chip muffins were one of our staples in my childhood. This simple recipe used up overripe bananas, a common occurrence in our house. And the hearty addition of whole wheat flour balanced the fruit’s natural sweetness and bumped these muffins ahead in the race of healthy recipes. And they tasted amazing! I’m certain those were all pluses for my mother. She made these muffins pretty often, and most of our friends ate a few over the course of our school years. In fact, one of our childhood friends had a notorious hatred for bananas. We always carefully avoided telling Z what was in these muffins and he ate them happily. His mother got this recipe from my mother and continue to make the muffins for him until he finally saw her making the batter when he was a teenager. Now he won’t eat them!
This is one of those recipes that so clearly recalls my childhood, I knew I needed to make it gluten-free. Thankfully, it was a pretty simple accomplishment! The banana keeps the muffins soft and lightly sweet and eliminates the need for any xanthan gum or guar gum as binders. In order to emulate the heartiness from the whole wheat flour, I’ve used brown rice and sorghum flour, along with a touch of buckwheat flour to darken the batter as I remember the whole wheat flour doing in the original recipe.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Serves: 12-15 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about 2)
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 2/3 c. + 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour*
- 3 Tbsp. buckwheat flour*
- 1/3 c. sweet white sorghum flour*
- 1/3 c. +2 Tbsp. tapioca starch*
- 3 Tbsp. sweet rice flour*
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- optional: 1 c. chopped walnuts
*Or, you can use 2 cups (280 g) of a gluten-free All-Purpose/”Cup for Cup” substitute
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and llightly oil the liners liners. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once uniformly mixed, add the egg and mix until the egg is just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt). In a small bowl, combine mashed bananas with milk. With the mixer on low, add the dry mixture to the egg-butter-sugar mix. Mix on low until combined. Add in the banana-milk mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using. Scoop into greased liners, at least three quarters full. The batter will rise a moderate amount during baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.