Lately I have been trying to eat healthier breakfasts and lunches so that I feel a little less guilty about splurging when dinner time rolls around. However, herein lies the problem….I love chocolate. More specifically, I love having chocolate for breakfast. Usually, this means that whatever I’m eating for breakfasts is sugary and delicious, but perhaps not so healthy. After making a couple batches of banana bread, I realized that since bananas are already used in so many baking recipes there had to be a way to work with them in a healthy fashion.
I began my research of healthy baking in two directions, first, looking at sugar substitutes, and second, trying to discover the differences between baking with whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. The whole wheat flour was easy, but looking at various charts comparing sugar ratios to honey ratios was much more challenging. It took quite a few rounds of trial and error, but I have finally created a muffin that is delicious, and that I don’t feel guilty eating. If you are trying to find healthy substitutes for sugary breakfasts, look no further!
4 Bananas – Ripe/Brown
1/2 cup Butter – Melted
⅔ cup Honey
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
¼ cup Cocoa Powder – (I split this between dark and regular)
2 tsp Baking Soda
¼ cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
⅔ cup Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp Sugar
*Optional* Chopped Pecans
Kitchen Tip 1: Whenever bananas on my counter get too brown to eat as a snack I throw them in the freezer. This causes them to brown even further, but it also makes them PERFECT baking bananas. Then, when I need them, I throw them in a bag and soak them in a hot water bath until they are thawed. Something about being in the freezer brings the banana flavor out even more, giving baked goods a richer taste.
1. Use a mixer to break the bananas down into a smooth liquid consistency. The goal should be to eliminate as many chunks as possible.
2. Melt the butter and let it cool for a short amount of time before adding it to the bananas.
3. Once the butter has cooled, add in the eggs, butter, and honey at the same time and beat until smooth.
4. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, and mix until combined.
Kitchen Tip 2: For a more elaborate flavor I like to use a combination of dark cocoa powder and regular. I am a big fan of dark chocolate flavor, but if you typically shy away from dark chocolate, you may prefer the entire ¼ cup to be regular cocoa powder instead.
5. Once the batter has been combined, add in the coconut flakes and chocolate chips, and mix well.
6. Divide the batter out among 24 lined muffin tins. These are not tall muffins, so the tins will most likely only be filled ½ to ⅔ of the way full.
7. Next, divide the teaspoon of granulated sugar sprinkled evenly over the top of the muffins. This is not much sugar, but it is just enough to add the touch of sweetness that pushes these muffins over the edge from good to great.
8. Finally, this last step is optional, for all the nut lovers out there. To add one last layer to these muffins, chop pecans into small pieces and sprinkle a tiny amount over the top of each muffin. Make sure to push the nuts down a little so that they will stick to the batter and won’t fall off after they are done baking.
9. Bake at 355 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
These muffins come together so quickly, and are delicious! You would never guess that they are a low-sugar recipe while eating them. Personally, I like to freeze mine so that they retain their freshness for longer. Each morning when I want two, I just pull them out, peel the liner off and microwave them for 20 seconds. By only reheating them for 20 seconds the middle still has a slight coolness, but I have found that I prefer baked banana goods when they are slightly cool instead of the warm baked goods that are so often advertised in other places. Sometimes I even spread a layer of chocolate almond butter over the top of them. The almond butter serves as a frosting of sorts and makes it seem like you are eating a cupcake for breakfast!
If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping to a healthier diet, give this recipe a shot! Enjoy!