Banana Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Nutella

Today we were having trouble with one of our cars, so going to the gym to work out wasn’t really possible. Evidently it needs a new starter, so we were down to one car. I did my long run yesterday, so it was supposed to be a recovery day anyway. However, when I don’t go to the gym I need to find something to do to keep Oleg (and myself) entertained. He likes helping with baking, so I decided to bake up some muffins. I had some old bananas around that were just right for making banana muffins, so I decided to go with that, with a few special tweaks. For instance we don’t put nuts in muffins – we put chocolate chips. Because they are better that way.

By the way, did you know that you can store overripe bananas in the freezer? It’s true. They always seem to go bad one or two at a time and you usually need 3 or 4 for baking. Just freeze them as they go bad and use them for muffins or banana bread once you have enough.

These are the muffins we made and they are every bit as ridiculously awesome as the name suggests.

Banana Spice Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Nutella

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour (1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup white)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
4 overripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Add Ins
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Nutella

Ready? Let’s go. Gather your ingredients.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl (I actually just used a large measuring cup), stir together the dry ingredients until they are well mixed. Set aside. Oleg wants you to know he was in charge of this part. He did a very good job.

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In a large bowl (I just throw everything into the bowl of a large stand mixer), pour in and mix together the wet ingredients.

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When all wet ingredients are incorporated, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

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Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Grease a muffin tin with butter. Kids can help with this part.

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Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, filling each cup about 1/2 full (should fill all cups of one muffin tin). When tins are filled, scoop a small dollop of Nutella (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) onto the top of each muffin batter.

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Swirl a toothpick around in the Nutella and batter to give a marbled effect.

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Bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean (a little Nutella may stick, but the batter should not). Makes 12 muffins.

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Oleg gives these his seal of approval. You can trust him. Not only is he an excellent baking assistant, he’s also a noted connoisseur of baked goods. His first English word was “cookie,” after all.

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Welcome Fall!

I have to admit that the end of summer and the coming of the Fall season makes me feel a little melancholy, since living here in the Seattle area means that the rainy, cloudy season will soon be upon us. No more days at the beach with the kids, no more need for sunscreen when I run, and pretty soon we’ll have to turn on the heat. I’ll even have to keep my jacket on when I run.

But there are some bright spots – one is the tastes of Fall. When it comes to autumn flavors, the ones I like best come in the form of pumpkin and spice. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and muffins – anything but that nasty Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Seriously, that stuff is gross.

So to welcome Fall and keep looking on the bright side, I made pumpkin muffins today.

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My recipe is a slightly healthier variation on the recipe from the Libby’s website. You could healthy it up even more by substituting some applesauce for the oil but I never like how things turn out when you do that. So mine is a full fat, full sugar, slightly more fiber version.

Welcome Fall Pumpkin Muffins

Dry Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Wet Ingredients
4 eggs
15 oz. can pumpkin purée (NOT pie filling)
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup apple juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or paper line two large baking tins (24 medium muffins). In a large bowl (I use a stand mixer), blend together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until light yellow, then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix with a hand or stand mixer on low until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Scoop about 1/3 cup of muffin batter into each muffin tin, about 2/3 or 3/4 full. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from the tins to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with coffee or Market Spice Tea, and think happy autumnal thoughts. Be sure to allow someone you love to lick the beater.

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