Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Mini Muffins

What is life without muffins? BORING. Eating Paleo might mean striving to eat like our caveman ancestors, but if that means permanently giving up muffins and other bakery treats, then count me out. Luckily, there are some wonderful (and very accessible) paleo baking ingredients that more than make up for the loss of gluten-filled-and-diabetic-inducing traditional options. And (as with most of my recipes) there is an option to tweak it to a not-quite-paleo option if ‘Full Paleo’ is a little bit scary.

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This recipe came about by accident. I used to bake only with almond meal but necessity-for-something-naughty overtook routine one night, and I had to substitute coconut flour when I didn’t have enough almond meal. Turns out it gives a lovely texture and flavour. NB This is a very adaptable recipe – Every time I make it, I can guarantee I use different quantities and add things in a different order but it always ends up tasting lovely. So don’t worry if you slip a little with one ingredient or don’t have enough of another, or add things in the wrong order. Give it a whirl anyway!

A personal note about butter and oils for baking – Anything dairy is not technically ‘Full Paleo’ but alas, this is a recipe for realists! Plenty of Paleo followers still consume dairy and/or butter (preferably grass-fed and organic if you’re lucky enough to find it) or at least Ghee. Personally, I struggle to go 100% dairy-free and seem to have absolutely no issues digesting butter. Besides all that, it just tastes so darn lovely. I gave up using Coconut Oil in baking because it overpowers all other flavours and my lovely baking efforts end up tasting like the proverbial poop. So, I prefer butter for baking. You can use whatever oil you prefer, just take note of the smoke point and avoid any oils that will oxidise under high heat.

What you will need:

  • A Muffin Tray / Mini Muffin Tray / Loaf Tin*
  • Large Banana (or 2 small ones)
  • 40g Butter / Ghee / Coconut Oil / other oil of your choice with a high smoke point.
  • 1 tsp Bicarb Soda (level teaspoon, not heaped)
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Almond Meal (I use freshly ground almond meal because it’s cheaper and I have a high-speed blender, but store-bought almond meal is perfectly fine).
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • OPTIONAL: 1 to 2 tsp honey or other sweetener of choice.
  • OPTIONAL for NOT-QUITE-PALEO: Up to 1/2 cup dark chocolate chip chunks

*I make these into mini-muffins because I like the bite-size option, and it’s very convenient to throw into a picnic bag when going out with my toddler (he eats them too). But feel free to make them in cupcake or full muffin size. You could even bake this in a loaf tin and tweak the cooking time accordingly.

How to Cook Them:

I do it all in a single large glass bowl with a fork and/or whisk, because I’m lazy and like minimal washing up.

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degreeC (fan-forced) or 170 degreeC (not fan-forced).
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Mash the banana into the butter.
  4. Add bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar. It’s important to add these two ingredients consecutively, because the reaction between them creates effervescence or ‘fizz’ which is what will make your muffins fluffy. Without this reaction, you’ll have dense muffins. If you don’t add them together consecutively then you probably won’t get the ‘fizz’.
  5. Stir in the cinnamon.
  6. Whisk in the eggs.
  7. Add the almond meal.
  8. Add Coconut Flour a little bit at a time. It takes a bit of getting used to working with Coconut Flour because it absorbs liquid (but not instantly) and it’s deceptive how little you actually need. Generally I end up using about 1.5 tablespoons but it depends on the size of your eggs and whether you’ve been a bit liberal or stingy with the butter.
  9. TASTE TEST!!!! It’s a baker’s prerogative to lick the spoon…..if you don’t lick the spoon then there’s something wrong with you (no just kidding). You can taste test after you stir in the cinnamon, if you’re worried about eating raw eggs (pregnant women take note). If your bananas weren’t ripe enough you may want to add in a teaspoon or two of honey, or your sweetener of choice.
  10. Spoon into your greased muffin tray.
  11. Bake for 10-15 mins or until they’ve risen and are a lovely golden colour. Tweak the baking time if you’re using larger-sized muffin trays or a loaf tin. Use a skewer to test if they’re cooked in the middle – it needs to come out clean.

This recipe yields 20 mini-muffins.

Not-Quite-Paleo Option:

Add in up to 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chip Chunks to the mixture before you spoon into your muffin tray. There’s nothing like melted chocolate chip chunks when you eat one of these babies straight out of the oven!

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