Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chocolate-Bananagasm Muffins

It is a catchy recipe title, and chocolate and banana in the same place always gets my attention anyway. So, it was a given that I’d try this. I shared a few of these muffins with some friends, told them what they’re called, and asked them to let me know if they were indeed bananagasmic. Everyone agreed that they were. Although, one friend felt it was more appropriate to wait until no males were in the room to admit it. Her reputation is safe. I won’t tell. The recipe comes from the new book The Sugar Cube by Kir Jensen, who operates a Portland food cart with the same name, and I received a review copy. It’s full of fun twists on classics and some new takes on sweets as well. I’ve been baking from it practically nonstop since reading it. The Twisted Toll House Cookies, which are thin and crisp and made with hazelnut flour and finely chopped chocolate, became an instant favorite in our house. Some recipes I haven’t gotten to yet but can’t wait to try include: the Bing Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis with an oat crumble topping; the Highway to Heaven Cupcakes which are chocolate cakes brushed with coffee syrup, filled with caramel sauce, topped with ganache, with an optional garnish of shards of potato chips; and the Black and White Sesame Brittle with pretty flecks of two kinds of sesame seeds. But, let’s get back to these muffins. They’re made with melted bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, and of course, mashed bananas. The flavor was all kinds of chocolate fabulousness, and the texture of the muffins was perfect for days given the banana which kept them from becoming dry.

To start, chopped bittersweet chocolate, or feves which is what I used, was melted in a double-boiler. Mashed bananas were added to the melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt were sifted. With a stand mixer, butter and brown sugar were creamed, three eggs were added followed by vanilla extract, and then the dry ingredients, cacao nibs, and chocolate-banana mixture were added. As with many of the recipes in this book, finishing salt makes a big difference here. Fleur de sel was sprinkled on the muffins just before they went into the oven, and it works like a spotlight brightening every flavor.

With three eggs and two mashed bananas, the crumb was tender and lovely with nice contrast from the crunchy cacao nibs. There’s a suggestion to serve the muffins with nut butter, and out of journalistic integrity, I felt it necessary to test that concept. It’s a superb idea, but even plain, these muffins were deserving of their name.

Chocolate-Bananagasm Muffins
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from The Sugar Cube.

The world doesn’t need another blueberry muffin. And don’t get me started on bran. But a chocolate muffin moistened with banana purée and sprinkled with sea salt? Hell, yes! These are so moist and tender yet not too sweet, and the cacao nibs add texture and a deeper chocolate flavor. When you have a couple of death-row bananas on your hands, skip the same old banana bread and whip up a batch of these. I adapted the recipe from a great food blog called “80 Breakfasts.” Serve with salted butter or your favorite nut butter, such as fresh almond or peanut.


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate (about 3 ounces)
2 large very ripe bananas, pureed
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 cup (1 ounce) cacao nibs 
Granulated sugar for sprinklling
Fleur de sel for sprinkling 

TIP This also can be made as a lovely dessert. This amount of batter is perfect for a 4-cup mini-Bundt pan. Generously butter the pan. Baking times will vary, so check after 30 minutes; the top should spring back when touched and a knife inserted into the center should come out clean.


PREHEAT THE OVEN to 325°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Put the chopped chocolate in a medium metal bowl and put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate is just melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool. Stir in the banana purée.

SIFT TOGETHER THE FLOUR, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.

IN THE BOWL OF A STAND MIXER fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, cacao nibs, and chocolate-banana mixture and beat just until combined.

DIVIDE THE BATTER equally among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops lightly with granulated sugar and fleur de sel and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. The tops should look crackled and slightly wet between the cracks. Let cool a bit before serving warm.


  1. Very cute name - and they look rather addicting with that banana puree in the center!

  2. They look terrific and so moist!



  3. Anything with chocolate gets my attention! Great name, and really nice recipe. Thanks for this.

  4. These muffins are definitely worthy of their title my friend :D
    Dying for a bite!

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. The muffins look great, and the whole cookbook sounds amazing! I'll have to check it out.

  6. Indeed...what a catchy title! And these muffins would be the greatest breakfast ever for someone like me who is crazy for chocolate and bananas!

  7. Those muffins look incredible. What a great recipe. And yes, we've all cooked and eaten blueberry muffins (which I personally love) but these have the wow factor - just gorgeous! xx

  8. I must try these, they looks awesome! I can only hope that I will have at least 1 banana left until weekend:D

  9. These muffins look very good.. Chocolate and Bananas make a delicious combination!!
    This one is a must try recipe!!

  10. Lisa, OMG that name cracked me up! You already had me with the chocolate banana combo. Then to add nut butter... heaven!
    Have a great week,

  11. i have to be honest and admit that i'm not too keen on the banana and chocolate combination, but i really haven't had it very often. i think maybe the banana split is the only place i've tried it, and i haven't had one of those for ages. on that note, these definitely seem worth a try!

  12. Muffins have never been so dangerous!

  13. I have The Sugar Cube on my bookshelf, but have just zipped by this recipe! Gosh, how is that possible? That's one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much. I often am introduced to a great recipe or book that is compelling and worth exploration. Once again, thanks for shining a light on a gem I have overlooked!

  14. Banana and chocolate-my favorite combo.. what a great recipe. Can't wait to try.. great photos.

  15. Bananagasm? So exciting to name muffins this way :p

  16. I couldn't help but smile at the name. With such a moniker, these have to be absolutely fabulous.

  17. These muffins do sound amazing, but really caught my eye (only because I have tons of cherries I picked up at the market) was the Bing Cherry Breakfast Clafoutis with an Oat Crumble Topping:D

  18. Hehe I love it! The name bananagasmic should be trademarked :P

  19. Fabulous title, Lisa. And so true. Wish I had seen this before my daughter arrived last week. She'd have gone nuts over them. Saving this for the next group of visitors!

  20. I love the name! Haha. These look very yummy :) I haven't made muffins in a long time. When I worked in a cafe, I had to make 2 dozen every morning and it did something to me!

  21. The name is perfect! ;-)

    I am guilty of blueberries and bran muffin posts, and to be honest, I am not done with either, as my beloved is a muffin-snob and no matter which recipe I try for those two, he says they don't match 'a certain muffin' from his past. So, I keep trying... ;-)

    I bet your version would please him, banana and chocolate... wow! Those cacao nibs are a fantastic addition, I love them!

  22. nice posting. thanks for sharing

  23. I've been looking a recipes from this book debating whether to buy it... the genius of these muffins have sealed the deal. Great post! I wish I had some ripe bananas sitting around to make these right now!


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