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Healthy Mini Cocoa Banana Muffins

Healthy Mini Cocoa Banana Muffins

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My teenagers sleep until noon most Saturday and Sunday mornings, so I use the time to work while the baby spends a few hours hanging out with Dad—a hangout which almost always includes a trip to Canadian Tire, the neighbourhood hockey store, and a coffee shop or two, where they share muffins and mini hot chocolates. Naturally, Matthew has now developed a slight obsession with baked goods, and often wanders into the kitchen when the kettle is whistling in search of  ‘cake’.

In an effort to satiate his taste buds, while also keeping the sugar consumption in check, I’ve been experimenting with mini muffin recipes. Like most things I make for my family, I wanted to land on something that felt like a treat for him, but satisfied my desire to offer him a mostly healthy snack. I think these cocoa banana muffins are a pretty good compromise.

When you break the recipe down there is less than a teaspoon of brown sugar per muffin, plenty of banana, cocoa powder and spelt flour, a mildly sweet, light whole grain flour, which doesn’t weigh baked goods down (unlike whole wheat flour). I use it exclusively in this recipe, but you could do a 50-50 split with all-purpose or whole-wheat flour, if desired. Readily available at most bulk foods stores and select grocery stores (Bob’s Red Mill brand is the one I purchase), this does need to be stored in the freezer (or refrigerator) in order to maintain freshness.

For the record, the late-sleeping teens also have no trouble popping two or ten of these into their mouths each time they pass through the kitchen, proving they’re a family-friendly snack eaters of all ages can enjoy.

Makes 2 ½ dozen

You’ll Need

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2-3 whole) mashed banana

Prep and Cook

  • 1
    Preheat the oven to 350°F and line mini muffin tins with paper liners (I use a 24-cup pan and 12-cup for this recipe).
  • 2
    In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside
  • 3
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, vanilla and mashed banana. Add the sugar mixture to the bowl with the flour and mix just until combined.
  • 4
    Portion the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly between 30 muffin cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the muffins are set and the centres spring back when touched.
  • 5
    Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Muffins can be stored in a lidded container at room temperature for 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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