Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hint O' Chocolate Banana Muffins (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)


That, my dear readers, is the sound of a deep sigh of relief. It's been ten days since my last post (but who's counting?), and it's not because I haven't been in the kitchen. On the contrary. I've been in the kitchen every day! I feel a little bit like Goldilocks. No, this muffin's too dry. This one's too moist. Ah, but this one...this one's just right. Ever since Linda, The Gluten Free Homemaker, introduced her muffin challenge, I've been dreaming of muffins. Muffins with pumpkin. Muffins with chocolate and bananas. Sugar free muffins. Moist, chewy muffins.

At first I tried to make pumpkin muffins, but unlike my sweet potato and banana muffins, the sugar free pumpkin muffins just weren't happening. I don't even remember how many versions I made before giving up and moving on to another idea.. Chocolate and banana muffins.

I'd never made chocolate muffins, so I did what I always do when trying a new gluten free idea. I searched the blogs for inspiration. This time it came in the form of vanilla cupcakes from The Gluten Free Goddess. So I mixed, I added, I subtracted, I tasted, and then I went back to the drawing board and did it all over again. And again.

My first muffins were decent, but they were a little too dry. Despite that, I found myself eating too many and not feeling great. So I cut out the agave nectar and decided to go one hundred percent sugar free. No agave, no molasses or honey, no dates. Nothing that would be a trigger for me. Just the bananas to sweeten them.

These ones were too dry...

The only problem was that my bananas weren't ripe enough, and I couldn't find any overripe bananas at the store. So I bought baby food. Organic banana puree. Good idea right? I thought so. But my muffins were so moist, I could barely get them out of the muffin tins. They just sort of flopped on the plate.

These ones were too moist...

At this point, I was starting to dream about muffins at night. I had visions of the Great Muffin Challenge being the end of me, the end of The Daily Dietribe. People would ask, what ever happened to that gluten free blog? That Iris just disappeared. And they would shake their heads and say, "The muffins did her in."

Perhaps I'm being a tad melodramatic? I actually did dream about muffins last night. I was sleeping but I could hear myself thinking about proportions of ingredients and how to try again this morning. Even though this is my first morning of Spring Break, and I went to bed excited that I didn't have to set my alarm, I was up at 7:30, ready to give the muffins one last try. I knew this was it. If they didn't turn out right today, the muffin challenge and I were over.

As the muffins baked, I prayed that they would come out of the muffin tins. That they wouldn't be too dry or too moist. That they wouldn't turn to mush in my hands or crumble into pieces. I left them in for twenty minutes, then checked. Still not done in the middle. Twenty five minutes. Not done. Thirty? Nope. I was starting to get nervous. Finally, at forty minutes, I took them out...and success! They came out of the muffin tins!

Oh, and they taste good too. The chocolate is merely a hint, just an added depth. If you didn't know there was cocoa in there, you probably wouldn't be able to guess what that hint of flavor was. And the bananas give it some needed sweetness, but they're still certainly not as sweet as any other muffin I've had. Yet, when I eat them, I don't get that compulsive urge to keep going until I'm full. And they're delicious with a little pat of butter, but they're moist enough that it's not necessary. Unlike a muffin with sugar, which only stokes my craving, these actually satisfy that craving, which for me, seems like a miracle.

So moral of the story? No sugar for me right now. But lots of muffins. And if at first you don't succeed...well, you know the rest.

But these were just right.

Hint O' Chocolate Banana Muffins
Print-Friendly Option

3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. sea salt

4 medium sized ripe bananas
3/4 cup milk or non-dairy alternative (I used TJ's organic whole grain drink)
2 large eggs

3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Puree the wet ingredients in a food processor or mix with a blender.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to wet and continue to puree in the food processor or blend until completely mixed.
  5. Grease your muffin tins and fill almost to the top with batter. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. *Note: Start checking on your muffins after 25 minutes. Things tend to have to bake longer in my oven. If you try these muffins and find the baking time is different, please leave a comment so my other readers know too.
Makes approx. 12 muffins

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Aubree Cherie said...

Mmmm, these do sound perfect! I tend to make muffins that are more on the dry side. I definitely want to give these a try!

And its nice to know that a lot of hard work in the kitchen and a whole pile of mistakes CAN lead to an awesome recipe! :)

~Aubree Cherie

Ari @ The Frugally Rich Life said...

Iris! Good work! I can relate a lot to your post...both with the experimenting and overeating...even when it's with better sweetners like agave or honey...:) Good for you...:) and good luck in your continuing cooking and eating saga...:) I am right behind ya!

fartygirl said...

I'm not a fan of banana... but I am a fan of YOU, Iris! Good mix of flours in this recipe! I bet they add just enough sweetness, with the salt and cinnamon. Have a great spring break. :)

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Iris, you are the champion! =)

I love that you shared your trials and errors too. Way to go!

briogusto said...

Nicely done! I know how tricky it can be to make a tasty GF-SF recipe... but oooh these look so very yummy :) (there should be a yum emoticon for all us foodie bloggers...)

Pure2Raw Twins said...

Muffins looks great, and love how there is no sugar but bananas in there ;)

Sarah said...

These look lovely! Nice :) x

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Iris, you had me chuckling here. I admire your muffin dedication and I'm so glad you finally had success and aren't leaving us. ;-) Next time you have some overripe bananas, just pop some in the freezer and you'll always be ready to bake with them. You don't even have to thaw them out all the way. When you mash them (I used a potato masher), they'll thaw out enough. These look yummy ... love the hint o' chocolate factor, too!


Anonymous said...

I've tried various low-carb, low-calorie, and low-fat diets for the past couple of years. Although the Atkins diet is very popular, it made me feel somewhat unhealthy.

The diet plan I'm on right now is the Medifast Diet. The caloric intake is roughly 800-1000 calories. However, it doesn't make my body feel weak. It is a bit of a pricey diet, but there are plenty of coupons available on the internet. You should never pay full price.

My advice is just choose a diet plan which your body reacts positively to. No one knows your body better than you do!

Chelsey said...

lol! "What happened to that Iris girl? The muffins did her in..." You are hilarious. Bravo on succeeding with the "perfect" muffin. I can't tell you the amount of times I have tweaked a recipe (that I dream of) to taste like that of my dreams.

I had a friend who wanted me to make her a chai syrup like Starbucks. I can make a pretty good chai so I gave it a go. Man what a nightmare! After the fifteenth try I was DONE. Forget it. Who needs syrup when I can whip up a kick ass chai hot on the spot?!

Elyssa Krivicich said...

Hey Iris! I love reading your blog.

I was thinking about sugar recently because of an article on CNN. One day they had an article on the idea that sugary and fatty foods (cheesecake, etc.) are addictive just like cigarettes, alcohol, etc. I don't know how much truth there was to that article. It makes sense to me but I don't know if you knew anything.

I think it is important that we are careful with how much sugar there is in products and especially what kinds of sugar they are. Some people were giving out free Frosted Flakes at the opening of the new union at OSU. I started eating them and then decided to look at the nutrition facts and found out that one container (1 cup?) of frosted flakes has about 50 mg of sugar. I couldn't believe it...


i made muffins tonight too. they're too moist (i used applesauce) but that's okay! i ain't picky!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Wow, 40 minutes for muffins? Your oven DOES take a long time to bake. However, these sound like the perfect breakfast muffin - not too sweet, and full of yummy things! Good for you to stick to your muffin challenge!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Saw your profile on food buzz. Glad I read your smart, informative, and interesting blog.

Michal said...

These sound and look delicious. Bananas are my favorite thing, and banana muffins with some chocolate loving are much better :)

Maggie said...

Iris this post made me laugh! I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing your muffin obsession with us! I love hearing how other people work on recipes. It's so interesting. I too dream about my baking projects. Are we crazy?

Alea said...

I save up bits of old bananas in the fridge. Next time I have a bag full, I am going to try this recipe. My daughter tends to get the sugar high/dump so I really appreciate a sugar free muffin recipe. I have found that I can use brown rice syrup and fruit juice concentrates successfully as sweeteners in baked goods for her.

Just Call Me Zippy said...

Ha! I love this post! I'm not the only one that works in her sleep. It's been two years since I moved to a new library branch and I still get nightmares that I forget to open it.:) Great work on the muffins, Iris. I can't wait to try them.:)

Aubree Cherie said...

So... I know I already commented on these, but I had to come back and check it out again! (I've also book marked it as a must try).

Having a lot of flops lately, its definitely encouraging to see another blogger making a few 'mistakes' and then coming out with an amazing result anyway!

~Aubree Cherie

Iris said...

You and me both, Aubree! Maybe I should just do a post on all my flops in the kitchen!

JoAnn said...

Hilarious post and a wonderful-sounding recipe! I can SO relate to the trials of developing a good recipe. I will definitely give yours try!

Linda said...

Iris, I love the story! I'm glad you kept trying and were able to share a great recipe with us. Thanks for participating in the muffin challenge.

Nancy @SensitivePantry said...

Iris - perseverance wins! You have a lot of patience. But the result is well worth it...your muffins look perfect. I love the flavor combination. BTW...I once ripened bananas by nuking them slightly in the microwave.

Anonymous said...

I have had a lot of failures as far as gf baking goes...But these are worth EVERY bit of effort!! They taste the most like good old wheat flour muffins that I have ever tried...Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! Added bonus, is they are just sweet enough, and I don't have to worry about my kid being in a sugar induced coma after eating a couple :)


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