Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Everyone likes blueberry muffins, almost as much as they do banana chocolate muffins. So combining the two seems like a bit of a no brainer. Banana chocolate blueberry muffins you say? It’s may be a mouthful, but a ridiculously delicious one at that. Complete with not just any blueberries, or any chocolate, but rather Marich chocolate covered blueberries, they’ve got just enough fruit in them to qualify as breakfast, and just enough chocolate to make for a satisfying dessert. That’s all the convincing you need right there.

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 large muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
  • ¾ cup Marich chocolate covered blueberries, roughly chopped
  • granola, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mash up the bananas until there aren't any lumps remaining.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and egg, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Gently fold in the remaining dry ingredients until there are no longer any bits of flour visible. Do not over-mix or you run the risk of the muffins becoming tough and tunnelled.
  4. Pour the batter into lined muffin cups and sprinkle the tops of granola.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of them comes out clean.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Holy moly what a week. It probably would not have been so bad had I actually studied for my midterms during “Reading” Week but I opted to watch the Olympics 24/7 instead which I guess is my own fault. Then the Blacklist returned Monday night which meant that another hour of potential studying was shot. Did I mention that my new life goal is to be Agent Keen when I grow up? I’m not kidding. My stress levels definitely were not helped by the fact that the steering went in my car either. Seriously, you do not realize how important power steering is until it is gone. Every time I drove it was actually an arm work-out just trying to turn the wheel. But, I can happily say that I managed to overcome all of the aforementioned obstacles and successfully (well I guess we will see about that when I get my marks) completed all of my midterms. I think some chocolate is in order.

Funny how quickly things change. At the beginning of this week I was ready to ditch sugar.   I seem to go through these cycles where I get really down on my eating habits and decide to overhaul them. This time it didn’t last very long. Within 12 hours I had already decided that it was not worth it and went reaching for a caramel. The thing is, when you look at the big picture, my diet is not unhealthy. I eat a ton of fruit and vegetables, especially as a vegetarian. The problem is that I have this habit of sucking on candy. It may only be 5 or 10 pieces a day, but over the course of a week, or even a month, that is a lot of sugar. So I make up my mind that it has got to go, only to find myself re-incorporating it into my diet. Somehow I was able to give up meat without any issues but when it comes to even just the slightest amount of sugar, my will power is virtually non-existent. Then I ask myself the basic question, “What would I gain if I gave it up?” I would probably drop a couple of pounds eventually (apparently changing your caloric intake by only 100 calories per day can lead to weight loss), not that I am trying to accomplish that. I always find myself validating the habit via what I call the “enjoyment principle”. I ask myself if I am happier with sugar than without it and the answer is invariably “yes”. Thus having determined that the pros outweigh the cons, I continue on with my candy-eating ways.

It still rides me though because otherwise, my diet is the picture of health. No pop, chips, french fries, none of that. I have not eaten it in years. More than anything, I think it bugs me because it is contradictory to everything I believe in (can you say high-fructose corn syrup?). And I still do it. But if you don’t enjoy life, what’s the point? It really reinforces my mantra that as humans, we don’t just eat to satisfy hunger. If that was the case, none of this would be a problem. Food is both social and pleasurable – or at least I think it should be. As long as I have that mentality, I don’t think my habits will be changing anytime soon.

Since I am staying on the sugar bandwagon, let’s make some vegan chocolate muffins for a little weekend treat. They are super moist and stay that way for a couple of days, thanks to the addition of mashed banana (although it does not obviously contribute to the flavour). Not that they are going to last for a couple of days. Actually I hate that cliche. Doesn’t everyone say that? “Oh it makes x amount and keeps for this long but that won’t be a problem because it will be consumed almost instantaneously.” It makes us sound like we are all malnourished and starving. So scrap the first part, let’s take the time to savour these muffins. Let them last for as long as you want to. Until they start to grow mold that is, then I would recommend trashing them.
Vegan Chocolate Muffins
Vegan Chocolate Muffins

5.0 from 3 reviews
Vegan Chocolate Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Makes 10-12 muffins
Author:
Recipe type: dessert, snack
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup neutral flavoured oil (vegetable, canola, safflower, etc.)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. cider or white vinegar
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • turbinado sugar, as needed
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 350F.
  2. Line 10-12 muffin cups with liners.
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl whisk the oil, water, banana, vanilla, brown sugar and vinegar until it is as smooth as you can get it (there will probably still be some lumps from the mashed banana, no worries).
  4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth, you don't want any lumps of flour or cocoa. The original recipe calls to pass it through a strainer if there are still lumps but I feel that this is a bit extreme. If you want to, all the power to you though.
  5. Portion the batter into the lined muffin tins. Leave them about ¾ full, you want some room for them to rise. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and eat!

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if {fill in the blank}? For instance, what if I had gone to culinary school at SAIT here in Calgary rather than the CIC in PEI? Would I still be cooking? What if I had gone into psychology first? Would I have switched to culinary instead?
Those are some pretty deep life questions and totally hypothetical. I don’t regret any of my decisions, it’s just interesting to consider the alternatives, had I gone down a different path.
Here is another life-altering “what if”; what if I had never discovered Nutella? What would my life look like then?  I probably wouldn’t have an addiction to the chocolate hazelnut spread, for one thing. Can you believe that my first time trying it was at the breakfast buffet of an all-inclusive resort in Mexico? Weird right? I came back home and the first thing on the grocery list was Nutella. I’ve tried to cut back a bit. I figure it’s not the healthiest thing to have on my toast for breakfast every morning but every now and then you’ve got to splurge. The best days are when the jar is almost empty and I get to sit there with a spoon, scraping out every last morsel. More accurately, I think I stand there with a knife, chocolate smeared across my face – there’s no finesse when it comes to cleaning out the Nutella jar.
Nutella in dessert? Make that, a cheesecake with banana oat crust? Mmhmm, we are doing it; banana Nutella cheesecake. Made with light cream cheese, no added sugar in the crust and only 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the filling (along with the Nutella), my Nutella slathered toast is probably worse in terms of nutritional value. But let’s face it, when eating Nutella do we really care about nutrition? Probably not.
I don’t know what my life would have been like without Nutella (pretty sad and pathetic really) but I sure don’t want to imagine living without it now! Maybe that’s a bit extreme, I probably would have survived. I would not have had this banana Nutella cheesecake, but I would have survived. You don’t know what you don’t know so if I had never been exposed to it, I wouldn’t have a clue what I was missing. Perhaps it would have been better that way…
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Serves 4

Ingredients

Crust
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup rolled oats

Filling
1 package (1/2 lb.) light cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 tbsp. Nutella (or as much as you need/want)

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 325F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
2. To make the crust, mix together the mashed banana and oats. Press this into your prepared loaf pan.
3. Make the filling by beating the cream cheese until smooth (either an electric hand or stand mixer works best). Once there are no lumps, add the brown sugar and beat again until smooth.
4. Add the egg, beating on low speed until it is fully incorporated.
5. Scrape this mixture into your loaf pan, right on top of the crust.
6. Distribute about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dollops of Nutella equally around the cheesecake batter. Then use a knife to swirl it in.
7. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes. The cheesecake should be fully set around the edges but still remain slightly jiggly in the centre.
8. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Let it chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving the banana Nutella cheesecake.

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake