Banana chocolate swirl muffins

I am big on routine.  I get set in my ways and need to remind myself to loosen up and mix things up sometimes.  Lately, we've been adjusting to a new morning routine. With my son starting middle school this year, it means an earlier start to the day. We're out the door closer to around 7:30am rather than the 8am or so timeframe we were accustomed to.  So far, I think I actually prefer the new schedule but I happen to be a morning person.
So when you think morning, you must think breakfast!  With the earlier start to the day, I need a lineup of quick and easy things for us to eat during the weekday mornings. Since my son eats lunch quite early with his fellow 6th graders at school, breakfast doesn't have to be big.  It isn't always a muffin but muffins definitely make the cut for weekday breakfast.  It's one of those things my son eats quickly and it's just so convenient for everyone.

So I've got breakfast and, specifically, muffins on my mind these days. When I saw these chocolate banana swirl muffins in a recent issue of Bake from Scratch magazine, I was happy to try it.  The original recipe was for banana chocolate espresso muffins but I kept it a bit more kid-friendly with just chocolate.
Think marble cake...for these muffins, you mix up a banana muffin batter, then set some of it aside and stir in melted chocolate to make a chocolate version to go with it. I baked the muffins in regular muffin tins rather than jumbo-sized ones as the recipe intended.  I found the thick batter difficult to swirl so I basically ended up with dual components - plain banana muffin on the bottom and banana chocolate on top. Visually, it would be fun to have more of a swirl throughout but I think dolloping the two muffin batters alternatively into the muffin cups - instead of dropping the plain batter in first, followed by the chocolate one, and then swirling - would likely do the trick for a more even incorporation of the two.
All that said, these banana muffins disappeared quickly.  They're moist, fragrant, and flavorful.  It's classic banana muffins, with a punch of chocolate thrown in, making for an interesting bite that you want another one of as soon as you take the first.  It's a pretty good way to start the morning, if you ask me!


You know how much I love chocolate but I have to say banana muffins/banana breads are so good just plain.  I found myself thinking this recipe might actually work better with a slightly smaller ratio of chocolate batter to plain. I'm not complaining though!
As I mentioned, I baked the muffins in regular-size muffin tins instead of jumbo.  You place the plain batter into the bottom of the muffin cups, then try to make a trench for the chocolate batter to go into and on top of the plain.  Well, I found it impossible to make the trench so I spooned the chocolate batter into the plain, pushing the spoon down a bit.
Perhaps there'd be some more wiggle room if using large/jumbo-size muffin tins to bake these in but in my case, it was hard to swirl the batter.  i did my best and in retrospect, it would probably have been better to place alternating dollops of each batter (like this) and then giving it a swirl.  It'll taste very good either way.  We're talking moist banana muffins, flavored with not only the bananas and dark chocolate but also cinnamon and nutmeg.  Basically, if you like banana muffins, you really can't go wrong with making a batch of these.
Well, the freezer is stacked with waffles, I'm stowing away pancakes, and I have a feeling I'll be making muffins on a fairly regular basis.  I don't need much incentive to bake muffins anyway - I think it's one of the simplest, most relaxing yet rewarding, things to bake.  

And we're adjusting to our new middle school schedule pretty well so far.  The day starts a little earlier and I'm switching up my routine when it comes to everything from meals to exercising and running errands.  All in, I like it so far, which just goes to show that change is not only inevitable but often for the better!

Recipe:

Banana Chocolate Swirl Muffins 
Adapted from Bake from Scratch

- For 12 regular-size muffins (or about 8 jumbo ones) - 

1 cup (175g) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (158g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (2g) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (100g) vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon (22g) molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the 12 cups of a regular-size muffin tin with paper liners.  

Melt chocolate chips with espresso in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of just simmering water.  Remove from heat and let cool.  

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  In another bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, buttermilk, molasses, and vanilla.  Add mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

To make the chocolate batter, transfer about 1 1/2 cups (330g) of the prepared batter into a separate bowl, and stir in the melted chocolate to combine.

Fill the muffin cups.  First, spoon the regular banana muffin batter into the muffin cups, filling each them about two-thirds full.  Next, spoon the chocolate banana batter into the center of each, gently pushing the spoon down into the center as you fill (the batter will reach near the top of the muffin cups).  Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl the batter together.  [Alternative: I found it difficult to swirl the plain and chocolate batter together so for a more even distribution of the two, you could try placing alternating spoonfuls of the batters into the muffin cups and then swirling.]

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the muffins comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.


30 comments:

  1. Hi Monica, these certainly would brighten up my mornings, love the banana chocolate combo. I am also a morning person so I say most of the time the earlier the better. Wishing your son the best in 6th grade:)

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    1. Thanks so much, Cheri. I really appreciate it.

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  2. Hope your son is enjoying middle school so far. These muffins would definitely help make the earlier mornings much easier. Banana and chocolate is such an awesome combo and I love the pretty swirl!

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    1. Yes, so far so good! Totally crossing my fingers tight! : )

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  3. Chocolate and bananas...YUM! Don't you think it is silly that the schools do this.. The youngest kids that are up before the 0500 alarm and ready to go don't start school until later and the older kids that seriously need their beauty sleep are the first to start. Thank goodness you have muffins to jumpstart the day.

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    1. Yes, the early wake up has got to be rough in the high school years. I'm always thinking ahead and maybe I should do a little less of that? ; )

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  4. These look delicious and so pretty. And I agree they are so convenient and a good way to start the day! I love being a morning person and following a routine. I feel it allows more time instead of rushing.

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    1. So agree with you about mornings. I'm definitely most effective in the earlier part of the day and it's so much easier getting errands and things done when it's less crowded...

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  5. Wow, I'd enjoy one of those for breakfast, snack, lunch AND dinner!

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    1. haha - thanks. Banana muffins never fail.

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  6. These gorgeous muffins are great to kick start the morning!!

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    1. They are a nice treat on some mornings.

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  7. Oh boy these will get you up in the morning for sure! I love that they are a breakfast muffin but probably taste like dessert. The texture looks wonderful and the combination of flavors equally so! I am a morning person but with the cooler morning temperatures, I seem to want to stay in bed. Have a lovely week Monica!

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    1. Oh, you know how fragrant and sweet banana muffins are. Definitely our favorite. And it's definitely turning chilly and I don't mind getting up a tad bit later either. ; ) Thanks, Tricia.

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  8. Banana and chocolates make a great pair. I love using them together in my recipes, so I can tell they will be a hit at my place. Awesome way to start a morning.

    Anu
    http://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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    1. I hear you. Banana muffins are so good and adding chocolate never hurts! : )

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  9. One of my favorite combo. Looks so delicious. I can have this anytime of the day!

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    1. I hear you...banana bakes are so good and chocolate is so good, period. ; )

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  10. Mmmm I love banana and chocolate together! What perfect muffins!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley. We had fun eating them. : )

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  11. I'm a morning person, too! Love the idea of swirling a banana mixture with a chocolatey mixture. This looks delicious and I wish I had one to snack on right now :)

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    1. It's so interesting how some of us are morning people, some are night owls. We are all united by a love of muffins, maybe... ; )

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  12. These muffins sure would be great for breakfast...and snack...somehow the combination of chocolate and banana is very tempting...and I love how high these muffins puffed...
    Talking about morning person...once I have my cup of coffee I am good to go...not before LO...
    Hope you are having a great week Monica...

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    1. I am the same way...it wasn't always coffee for me but I do feel like I need it now. For me, I need to eat breakfast before being too social! haha

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  13. I am always a sucker for any baked goods with a swirl! There's just something about it! And with banana and chocolate? These sound fantastic! I hope your son is enjoying middle school so far! And I am totally a morning person as well! :)

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    1. I hear you...same with me, Ashley. Middle School is bringing so many changes but (knock on wood), it's good so far. My son is growing up quick before my eyes. : )
      And I have a suspicion many of us are morning people. ; )

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  14. Oh my, YUM! Muffins are my kind of breakfast food. I often don't have a huge appetite n the mornings so like to grab something I can take with me and eat when I fancy it. But if I had these muffins, I'm sure my appetite would come on pretty fast ;-)

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    1. I am usually very hungry in the morning and not functional or too pleasant (haha) until I have my breakfast. I usually go savory myself but the fellas love a good muffin and I have my favorites too. ; )

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  15. These are exactly what I need for breakfast! I have been thinking about muffins for a few days, but wasn't sure which kind. Banana and chocolate would be PERFECT!

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    1. Muffins are so easy to make and easy to love. Thanks, friend!

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