Chocolate Banana Muffins


Shortly after removing gluten from my diet, I set out to conquer the mystery that is gluten-free baking. There have been successes, and oh yes, there have been failures. Gluten-free baking is tricky. You have to throw all of your “wheat flour” baking knowledge out the window. There is no kneading of bread doughs. Bread doesn’t “rise” in the same manner. The batter for cakes doesn’t always look like typical cake batter. Gluten-free batters and doughs react differently. The earliest tests of gluten-free baking either resulted in overly moist, crumbly messes, or dry-as-a-bone bread that you had to choke down. These occurrences happen less and less frequently as I practice, but in the interest of full disclosure, they still do happen from time to time.

But honestly? I feel more comfortable baking now than I ever did prior to my gluten-free days. Why? The need to experiment has freed me. When I used to bake, I felt that I had to strictly adhere to the recipe, or else disaster would result. I did not have an understanding of the roles each ingredient played in the finished product. Not that I’ve since come to a complete understanding of the science behind baking, but the use of alternative flours has opened my eyes. There are so many textures and flavors available. As long as I understand that I’ll need leavening, something to bind ingredients together, and a certain level of moisture, usually I’m pretty good to go. Not “Gee, I don’t even need a recipe anymore” good, but I can honestly say I’m a better baker now than I have ever been.

My current obsession is to take any ol’ recipe and convert it to gluten-free. I’ve had some success with this in the past (remember the tres leches cake?), but I’m still working on it. My hope is to not feel as though sacrifices have to be made because a gluten-free diet is required. We can have our gluten-free cake and eat it too, so to speak!

With this in mind, I present to you these chocolate banana muffins. The recipe is several generations away from its original inspiration (Elise’s banana bread recipe at Simply Recipes). These are some of the best gluten-free muffins I’ve ever made, if I do say so. They were moist and chocolatey, not overly sweet, with a tender crumb that held together well. Perfect for a holiday morning treat, or for any time of year.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins, adapted from Simply Recipes

3 ripe bananas, smashed

1/3 c melted butter

3 T peanut butter or almond butter

½ c white sugar

½ c light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 t vanilla extract

1 t baking soda

2 t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

2 T unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ t salt

½ c teff flour

½ c sorghum flour

½ c tapioca starch

1 t xanthan or guar gum

1-2 T turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, add bananas, melted butter, and peanut butter. Mix on low until combined. Add sugars, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sprinkle baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder and salt over banana mixture, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix flours and xanthan gum. Turn mixer on medium-low and add flours in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed, until well-combined. Pour into prepared muffin pan  and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two, and remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool. Makes 12 muffins.

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  1. says

    These look fabulous, Alta. Love the holiday ribbon, too. It make the photo for sure. I agree with feeling more free to experiment as a gluten-free baker. I’ve had to learn to let go of what I think a recipe should be and just let it be what it is – and then go from there. I’m sure that makes sense to you. Sometimes gluten-free is just not what I thought it should be. Once I let go of that, everything else was so much easier.

  2. says

    Nice. Chocolate…banana…What more could one want? It must be a whirl wind in changing you eating habits. But it looks like you’r adjusting pretty well.

  3. says

    I love the freedom that comes with gluten free baking. You never quite know how things are going to come out, and that in itself is part of the thrill. I find that I go with my gut a lot more now than when I ate wheat =D.

  4. says

    These look delicious! They also sound really healthy with the teff and sorghum flour. I still haven’t done any experimenting with teff flour much. This sounds like a good recipe for it.

  5. says

    These look great! I’m so impressed with your ability to experiment and make regular recipes gluten free! And chocolate and bananas together sounds wonderful

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Amanda – I suppose I’m one of those people who, if you tell them they cannot do something, wishes to prove you wrong! Who says I can’t eat bread/cake/muffins? Oh yes, I can! :) LOL

      Gina – My experience with teff flour is limited too. This is only the second thing I’ve made with it (first was another chocolate banana muffin, in fact, that was not nearly as successful as this one). It does add a wonderful flavor to things. and of course, it’s healthy!

      Lauren – I get that thrill too! I’ll taste the batter before it goes in the oven, and will say to myself “Well, the batter tastes good…we’ll see if it’s edible after baking!”

      Amy – It is a learning process – to let go of what you think it should be. I think that having limited baking experience helped me – I wasn’t sure what gluten-y baked goods were supposed to look like pre-baked either! As for eating gluten-free baked goods, I think there’s also a learning that comes with the texture. While no one wants to eat dry, crumbly bread (which some GF breads are), the textures at times can take some getting used to. Of course, the longer you go without eating gluten, the easier it is to forget what gluten-y bread tasted like. That being said, I was impressed with how the texture of these muffins came out. I attribute that to sorghum flour – the flour that seems the most like regular flour to me, in terms of texture!

      Vegetable Matter, megan, Joy Zhang, Blackswan, pegasuslegend, SimplyLife, meatlessmama, Lisa, Colleen, Jenn, GF Gidget, MaryMoh, Angie, Miranda, and Jessie – Thank you!

  6. says

    I just have to try these. They look perfect. I totally agree with everything you said about baking. Gluten free eating has improved my skills in the kitchen.

  7. says

    You know, I feel more comfortable as a baker too. I never realized how much I could play around with recipes. I’m getting a little inspiration here…we’ll see if my banana chocolate muffins turn out as well as yours!


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