Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Adapted from Land O’ Lakes)

title-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins

These banana chocolate chip muffins are sooo good. I woke up early-early to make them the other day, and baked them while still in my pajamas and robe and listening to Stephen Fry read The Goblet of Fire aloud.

The original recipe from Land O’ Lakes is for mini-loaves, which I have made as well and which are great. But we like this recipe as a heading-out-the-door breakfast treat, so muffins just make more sense for us. This week, we misjudged a bunch of bananas and they ripened way too fast for us. Having made these muffins in August, I knew just what to do. I was extra excited because I recently purchased reusable baking cups for myself and was looking for an opportunity to try them out. I got these cups from the Chambers Bay Baking Company on Amazon because they had great reviews and because they come in colors I like — most silicone baking cups I’ve seen are screaming neon, but these are more faded/pastel-esque colors, which is much more my style.

Mashing up overripe bananas is quite fun : I just use a regular fork, and am sure to continue to mash past the initial squish, until the mashed banana is quite moist. The recipe calls for one cup, which in my case took two-and-a-half bananas.

Yes, that’s a brown spot on the banana (gasp). I don’t cut out brown spots, because they don’t make a lick of difference in the end product, so why waste them?
adding-mashed-bananas
a cup of properly-mashed bananas (see how moist they are?) and also you can see my bathrobe and flannel jammie pants. so comfy…

The recipe, which I have typed out for you below, is simple and quick. Other than mashing the bananas, the most exciting moment for me was spooning batter into my fancy new baking cups (which are nestled into my fancy muffin tin, a wedding gift from dear friends — we have Williams-Sonoma bakeware and it is GOLD and sturdy and washes beautifully and I love it). After I took this photo, I buttered half the cups and left the other half untouched as an ~experiment~ so that I know in the future if they need to be greased or not (results: it does not matter at all, yay!). I filled the cups to juuust under the top.

Adorable, rainbow baking cups in my goldtone muffin tin. So cute aaah.

The smell of the muffins baking is just glorious. If you, like me, have a wonderful mother who made you banana waffles when you were a little girl, the smell makes you feel like you’re seven and playing in the living room with your big brother while your mother makes Saturday breakfast. It’s a very good feeling.

Ingredients:
1 cup mashed banana (2 – 3 ripe/a bit too ripe bananas)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (see note below)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a muffin tin with liners (or grease tin with butter)
Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy (I use a stand mixer for this, but a hand mixer would work as well)
Add eggs and beat until smooth
Add bananas & vanilla and beat until well-combined
Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips (I stirred this by hand to avoid overmixing; it took some muscle. A mixer on low speed would work fine too)
Spoon batter into muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick/butter knife/skewer comes out clean. Let sit at least ten minutes before carefully releasing muffins.
Note : I tilt the pan to roll them gently out, using a knife to lift them and give them a little push. If you did not use muffin liners, you may need to run a butter knife all the way around the edge of the muffin in order to take it out of the tin. 

Note on sugar: The original recipe calls for granulated white sugar, but this time when I made them I didn’t quite have enough so I used half a cup white sugar and a quarter cup brown. I think the brown sugar gave them a slightly more caramel-y flavor. If you prefer that sort of taste, you can try it as well, otherwise regular old sugar works great!

out-of-the-oven-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins

 

Applesauce Mini-Muffins (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

applesauce-mini-muffins

Today’s is a two-part recipe. These applesauce muffins can easily be made with store-bought applesauce, but making your own is so easy and fun that I thought I’d include that recipe, too. Click on over for crockpot applesauce instructions, and when you’re ready, come back here for the baking!

After we’d been enjoying our applesauce for about a week, I felt overwhelmed by how much we still had left and wondered how I could use some up. I came across a simple muffin recipe on Williams-Sonoma and made a few alterations. Ding ding ding! I left out walnuts (because I don’t like them) and raisins (because David LOATHES them) and used a mini muffin tin instead of a regular sized one. I also added vanilla to the batter to make the flavor a bit more mellow and warm, and included a cinnamon-sugar topping for crunch and a touch of sparkle. The result is adorable, autumnal treats that make a great snack, dessert, or sweet treat at breakfast. They are also great to bring to an event or get-together as they travel well and are just so cute!

Applesauce Mini-Muffins from Williams-Sonoma
makes about 36 mini-muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 generous cup of applesauce (Williams-Sonoma advises measuring this not in a one-cup measure but in a glass measuring cup, like a Pyrex)
1 teaspoon vanilla

carefully picking out bits of stupid, stupid apple peel from my applesauce before baking

Cinnamon sugar for topping (Note: We have an entire shaker of cinnamon sugar just sitting in our cabinet because David eats a lot of cinnamon toast. If you don’t have some around, combine 1/4 cup regular sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder. This will make enough for the muffin toppings plus some extra that you can keep in a jar for cinnamon toast or for sprinkling on oatmeal or applesauce.)

Directions :
Preheat your oven to 350* F and butter a mini muffin tin (or regular muffin tin)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Create a well in the bottom of the mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, egg, vanilla, and applesauce.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir; this will take some muscle and seem at first like there are too many dry ingredients, but be persistent. Don’t overmix — stir until just combined.

Combining the wet & dry ingredients. See the chunks in the applesauce? There are two possible results with each chunk : it melts into the muffin, or it becomes a very very soft little apple chunk that you get to bite into. Both results are awesome. So don’t worry if your applesauce is a bit chunky.

Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each well between halfway and three-quarters full.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of each mini muffin.
Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes if in a mini muffin tin or 25 – 30 in a regular tin, or until a toothpick (or in my case, skewer, as I can’t find the toothpicks…) comes out of the center of a muffin clean.
Let cool at least 5 minutes and enjoy!

the muffins are exactly the size of a tea light.
the muffins are exactly the size of a tea light.

These smelled SO GOOD while they were baking. I mean, I thought the applesauce had smelled great but this was next level. The cinnamon sugar topping adds a touch of crunch to these otherwise very moist muffins. They store well in an airtight container for up to a week. But they’re so cute and easy to pop in your mouth that they probably won’t make it that long anyway. 😉

Note on why mini muffins : I just love mini muffins…they are so cute, and it feels like I’ve accomplished more because there are so many MORE muffins. Plus, they’re more versatile. You can have like 4 if you want a big ol’ muffin, but if you just want a teeny snack, these fit the bill too, thus increasing the number of times per day that you can eat the muffins…brilliant, right?

A final note : it is 100% okay to use store-bought applesauce for this recipe! I’d recommend buying applesauce with no sugar added, as sugar-added applesauce + the sugar in the muffin recipe might make them overly sweet.