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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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The Baking Hack That is Enabling My Muffin Addiction

The Baking Hack That is Enabling My Muffin Addiction

I have only recently become someone who doesn't loathe cooking (sometimes I even like it!) but I have always loved baking. Since I was a tiny kid that had to stand on a chair to reach the counter while I was baking cookies with my mom, I've loved it. My mom, in fact is also an excellent baker, and has the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you have ever tried. Seriously. Everyone who tries her chocolate chip cookies says they are the best, and if you're lucky maybe some day I'll share the recipe (I will, it's not some big family secret). She has another cookie recipe that's so good, when one of my childhood friends turned about seven or eight she asked my mom to bake her a batch for her birthday that only she was allowed to eat. My mom obliged, of course, and my pal was one thrilled kiddo. 

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So I inherited these baking skills, but I also have a host of food intolerances and weird restrictions on what I can eat, which is a huge pain. I've mentioned before that my favorite place to go for decadent recipes that won't destroy my insides is Texanerin Baking. (HER chocolate chip cookie recipe is known in my friend circle as MY chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it's been requested many a time). I recently needed to find a recipe to use up some overripe bananas, and I knew exactly what website to comb through. I thought I'd just find a banana bread that would work for my dietary restrictions, but my hero Texanerin hit me with a chocolate chip banana muffin recipe that is so decadent and delicious I have to try not to make it too often, lest I end up eating nothing else and eventually Violet Beauregarding myself into a chocolate banana muffin.

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The best trick, I learned quickly after making what could safely be called "too many muffins, you lunatic," is a silicone muffin pan. I was previously using an Ikea muffin pan with liners, and it was fine, but once I made the switch to a silicone pan I immediately realized what all the fuss was about. Not only are you not creating extra trash with liners, it's just so much easier.  Those little muffins just pop right out and you're done! No wrestling with paper, no scraping baked on batter off a hard to reach well in the metal pan. Pop your muffins out, wash the pan, and gorge yourself on baked goods. They're inexpensive too. I bought this one on Amazon for $9, but even if you want to run out to Target or wherever and get one right now, you should be able to find one for under $15.  

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You do need to use a baking sheet under the silicone pan, but you probably already have one if you're buying silicone bakeware. If not, this one is my favorite in my collection (because Ikea stopped making their incredibly cheap but perfectly crafted baking sheets, the jerks).  

And now, here's that recipe from Texanerin that will make your brain explode, with my notes:

Paleo Chocolate Banana Muffins

(grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Ingredients:

2 medium super ripe bananas
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
2 cups blanched almond flour (she is in Germany and gives measurements in grams, so she says approx 2 cups but to weigh to be sure. I am lazy so I don't, and I've never had an issue.)
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy-free / paleo chocolate chips, if necessary)
additional mini chocolate chips for sprinkling, if desired (I don't do this, they're rich enough as is!)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners. (Or spray your silicone muffin pan with cooking spray!)
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the bottom of a glass (I use a fork). They should almost be like a puree.
  3. Add the honey and vanilla and stir.
  4. Add in the eggs and oil and stir until well combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Stir just until combined and then stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners and sprinkle on additional chocolate chips, if desired.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful not to confuse a melted chocolate chip with the batter. (I've found that if I bake for 18 minutes my center two muffins are still basically batter. I've now altered the recipe to 23 minutes and all muffins are baked through and none are remotely burned.)
  9. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes: I'm a bit of a neat freak, and I like to eat these muffins with a fork. If you're like me and get stressed out by chocolatey fingers, consider this your warning. Also, if you plan on giving these to children, I can guarantee there will be chocolate everywhere. (But also happy kids!)

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