Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Well, I wish I had a fun story to tell about these muffins, but I don’t. These Double Chocolate Banana Muffins are pretty much out of this world, so that’s the story itself, I suppose. They are utterly chocolately, perfectly fluffy, and even a smidge on the healthy side. You should totally make them, stat. Need I say more?

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.com

Like any banana bread or baked treat, these are best made with ultra ripe, almost too disgusting to look at, much less touch bananas. These are nowhere near ready… they should be almost completely black. The darker the banana, the sweeter the flavor, I say. [Even though I basically have to have Ben deal with the grossness.]

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.com

These muffins get their amazing, rich flavor from not one, not two, but THREE kinds of chocolate. I know I called them Double Chocolate, but I may have lied a bit. Cocoa powder, white chocolate chips, and mini chocolate chips are ALL necessary for success here, folks. In a cupcake, I’d pretty much never use all three things at once. But in these muffins? Totally works. Especially because these muffins are a bit on the healthy side thanks to the use of applesauce, flax seed, and whole wheat flour. What more could you ask for?

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | thepajamachef.com

a year ago… Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 
two years ago… Recipe Repeat: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
three years ago… Potato Soup

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins [from Amy's Cooking Adventures]
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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine bananas, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, flax seed, cocoa powder, and baking soda.

Fold dry ingredients into the wet, then add chocolate chips and gently mix until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.

Spoon into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 14-16 muffins.

Notes: Use or freeze within 3 days. These muffins freeze well!

LInked up with: Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck.

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Strawberry Muffins

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. Last fall, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

this post is originally from August 9, 2012

Ever since I can remember, strawberries have been my absolute favorite berry. Not that I don’t love blueberries or blackberries or raspberries, but strawberries have a special place in my heart [and in my mouth!]. Oddly enough, I’m not a fan of strawberry flavored things like fruit and grain bars, yogurt, etc. Because of this deep love of strawberries, usually when I buy them I eat about half the package standing in front of the sink, washing “just one more.” If I want to bake with them, I need to buy them in bulk or specifically plan out a recipe, getting myself to a place of accountability by telling Ben of my plans. It’s pretty hilarious, if you think about it!

Strawberry Muffins | The Pajama Chef

Surprisingly enough, this recipe came as a result of an emergency–I had purchased several pounds of berries and for some reason, just didn’t eat them with my usual fury. So instead of letting them go to waste, I whipped up these juicy muffins one warm afternoon. They are extra pillowy and tangy thanks to the buttermilk. Each bite has the sweet scent and flavor of strawberries since the berries are crushed and not left whole. If your berries aren’t very sweet, you can add a little extra sugar but I thought they were just sweet enough as is. These muffins were a hit, but be sure to eat them quickly or freeze them after a few days–the mashed berry makes them soft in the center so they are best fresh. Enjoy!

Strawberry Muffins [from Whole Living]
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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
  • scant 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine strawberries and scant 1/2 cup sugar. Mash berries gently with pastry blender or potato masher, then set aside.

Next, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour in buttermilk mixture and fold slowly to combine. Add berries [including any juice] to batter, then stir until just mixed.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full, then sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan a few minutes before removing to wire rack. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days, then freeze any leftovers.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 18-20 muffins.

Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins

Ben and I are huge yogurt fans. Every week, without fail, our grocery cart contains at least 10 cartons of yogurt [one for each lunch of the work week plus a big tub or two for smoothies or eating at home]… some Greek, some regular, some fruity, some plain or vanilla… whatever I’m in the mood for or whatever is on sale. For awhile I was making my own yogurt in the crockpot, but then grad school began consuming my life too much and making yogurt plummeted on my priority list. There are just too many good storebought brands, right? I look forward to the yogurt in my lunch everyday…it’s my dessert of sorts.

Even though yogurt is something I love a ton, one thing that I don’t do enough of with it is baking! Yogurt is a great ingredient to bake with because it makes muffins and even cakes incredibly pillowy, light, and soft for a fraction of the fat and calories of butter or oil. The inclusion of Liberté Blueberry Greek Yogurt is the secret ingredient in these yummy Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins, and the reason [in my humble opinion] why they are so, so, so good… sweet, hardy, and soft. Perfect trifecta for muffins, I think!

Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins | The Pajama Chef

If you’ve never tried Liberté Greek and Méditerranée yogurt before, you should definitely check it out. Ben and I had tried it once or twice before I received a BzzKit from BzzAgent, but after eating this yogurt in place of our normal brands for a week, I think I’m going to become a loyal Liberté fan! The Coconut Méditerranée is amazing! Here’s some info about the yogurt… then I’ll get back to the muffins!

Liberté is not just made. It is crafted, by hand, to be the absolute best. In true artisan fashion, Liberté Méditerranée yogurt is made using whole milk and cream to achieve a silky texture in seven different rich, deep flavors. The six flavors of Liberté Greek yogurt are hand nurtured using skim milk to create a smooth, creamy, protein-rich yogurt that’s perfectly balanced and (surprise!) fat free. Each Liberté variety is punctuated with real fruit to up the taste even more in these natural, indulgent treats.

Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins | The Pajama Chef

Liberté is new to the US yogurt scene, but has a long history in Canada so I found a recipe for Raspberry Coconut Muffins on their website and modified it based on what I had on hand. I was so pleased with these muffins that they might become my basis for other yogurt muffins in the future! You can definitely modify this recipe based on the fruit, yogurt, and nuts of your choice. I usually don’t add nuts to muffins, but the toasted walnuts in these were excellent. When I baked them last Sunday afternoon, they made my whole kitchen smell absolutely divine, and then they stayed fresh all week long for a lunchbox addition. Yum-o! Can’t wait to make some more. Hope you enjoy! :)

Double Blueberry Walnut Muffins [adapted from Liberté]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 carton Liberté Blueberry Greek Yogurt [5.3 ounces]
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries [fresh or frozen]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn! Set aside to cool, then increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, yogurt, milk, and vanilla. In a larger bowl, stir together flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened.

Chop cooled walnuts, then gently fold walnuts and blueberries into batter. Spoon into muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 16 muffins.

Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent and received free coupons to try out Liberté. All opinons are my own. Thanks to BzzAgent and Liberté for a great experience!

Applesauce Muffins

Sometimes simple recipes, though delicious, get overshadowed by fancy recipes or decadent recipes. Know what I mean? This is a bad habit that I have… talking up the really yummy and impressive stuff… that then pushes the simple recipes to the back burner, where they sit and sit and sit. And then I don’t blog about them, for months and months. Like these Applesauce Muffins that I made…. last summer.

Applesauce Muffins | The Pajama Chef

Sure, we ate them up in a matter of days. I don’t even think they saw the freezer. For all the muffins I make, that’s saying something. Usually at least one or two gets frozen for lunches or snacks. But no, these muffins, in all their plain glory, were enjoyed in record time. I just didn’t bother to blog about them for months. Sad day. But they are here now!

Applesauce Muffins | The Pajama Chef

No idea why that was, as they are utterly delicious. Each bite is nutty and soft, sweet with hints of applesauce and rich brown sugar. Chewy from the oats and healthy from the whole wheat flour. Satisfying as breakfast with a bit of butter and jam, and savory enough to serve with soup at dinner. Pretty versatile and excellent anytime. One of my favorite parts? They’re made with pantry ingredients, so I can make them anytime. Another favorite part? The topping! Who doesn’t love a muffin with a little streusel topping. Yum! Don’t neglect them as I have! They are great! Enjoy! :)

Applesauce Muffins [from fearless homemaker]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened [natural] applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg white

for topping

  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together applesauce, oil, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry, then spoon into muffin cups.

Prepare the topping by stirring together oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drizzle in melted butter then divide evenly on top of batter.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 muffins [or in my case, 12 muffins in my smaller silicone liners + 6 mini muffins].

 

Lemon Cranberry Muffins

Man, I am so sad that I didn’t share these Lemon Cranberry Muffins during peak cranberry season!! Boo! It got buried in my post queue and I justtttt found it. What a bummer. Don’t these muffins look divine?

Lemon Cranberry Muffins2

I really have no excuse for not sharing them until now though; I made these muffins in October. But all might not be lost–I just scored three bags of cranberries for 99 cents each at the grocery store, so maybe you can find a crazy clearance sale too, or find some frozen cranberries, or maybe you’re a planner and have already frozen some cranberries for offseason baking needs. In that case: this recipe qualifies. However…. if you’re cranberry-less, do not despair. Read on, be sad for a minute, bookmark this recipe for the fall…and comfort yourself by gazing at my cute kitty hanging out on a pile of blankets.

Sheba | The Pajama Chef Isn’t she so pretty? I think so, but I’ll admit I’m a bit biased.

But back to these muffins… cause they’re pretty too, I think. Pretty and yummy! Did you get a glimpse of these colors? Wow! And the colors aren’t all there is to it. Each bite of these decadent muffins is absolutely incredible. Have you ever had yogurt cake before? I made a lime yogurt cake in the early days of this blog [read: the post is a wee bit embarrassing, but such is life, eh?]. If yogurt cake is new to you, you must try it. It’s a moist, soft, and fluffy with a fabulous crisp top… and it’s made with little [or no] butter. Cray cray! I’ve always loved yogurt, and this is just another reason why.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins | The Pajama Chef

Now, I’m sure the lemon muffin is absolutely perfect as is. Sweet, with a little tart bite. But really, they are a little incomplete. That’s where the tart cranberries come in. These little berries really liven up a traditional muffin. I love how they pop in your mouth with each bite. :) When I read the recipe called for whole cranberriesI was a bit skeptical, and almost chopped them up, but I’m so glad I didn’t, because the whole berry really makes the muffins special. I love that these muffins are sweet and tart all at once, but if you want more sweetness, check out the original recipe for a glaze that will likely take these over the top!

I’m sure if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ve picked up that I love muffins… and everything I post on this blog is something that we have loved. But truthfully, not everything is make again. I’m sure you know those recipes. Things that are too good not to share, but not good enough that you crave it. Well, these muffins do not fall into that latter category. They are definitely make again winter after winter, year after year… in fact, I think I’ll be making them again soon! They are a perfect portable winter treat. Enjoy!

P.S. I keep forgetting to link this up, and this ‘P.S.’ is even an edit to the original post… but have you seen my interview with Healthy Page? It went live last week [I am so behind] and I’d love for you to check it out! What a great site. I am honored to be featured! Thank you, Healthy Page!

Lemon Cranberry Muffins [from Food Republik]
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together yogurt, sugar, and eggs. Then add lemon zest and vanilla extract. Lastly, stir in oil.

In a smaller bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Gently fold into wet ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add cranberries and stir until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container for up to 3 days before freezing the leftovers.

Time: 35 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 14-16 muffins.

Notes: Original recipe called for plain yogurt. Since I used [sweetened] vanilla, I decreased the sugar. If you use plain yogurt, you may want to increase the sugar to 1 cup to match original recipe.

This recipe is linked up with Weekend Potluck.