But really, there’s a lot to love about this time of year.
There’s Christmas, obviously.
There are pretty lights.
There’s hot chocolate.
There’s cinnamon coffee.
And there’s baking. Lots of it.
To disclose how many times I’ve made these beauties over the past week would be incriminating, since I’m technically supposed to be baking a variety of things to keep this blog going or something. I will say that I’ve made them enough times to discover that it is entirely possible to whip up the batter, get the muffins in the oven, and wash the dishes in about 20 minutes if your favorite TV show is coming on and you need muffins pronto. (The 20 minutes assumes you outsource the job of chocolate-chopping to a handy friend.)
These muffins are deeply chocolatey and banana-y, with crunch from nuts and cacao nibs. They’re gluten free, too! And the texture is ON POINT. So impressive… impressive enough to completely fool one of my gluten-loving family members who’s a stickler for the real thing.
I hope you make these. I hope they become a favorite.
3 ounces oat flour
2¾ ounces sweet white rice flour
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4½ ounces light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces peeled) ripe banana, mashed (about 2 large bananas)
2 ounces toasted pecans, chopped
3 ounces dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour, sweet rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and banana.
On low speed, mix in the dry ingredient mixture until just combined.
In a small prep bowl, mix the pecans, chocolate, and cocoa nibs. Remove 2 tablespoons to use on the tops of the muffins. Add the rest of the mixture to the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula until distributed throughout.
Scoop equal amounts of batter into each muffin cup. They will be quite full. Sprinkle the reserved nut/chocolate mixture over the tops of all of the muffins, then give each muffin a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pan, then bake for 10 more minutes (25 minutes total). A toothpick will come out mostly clean, with just a few clingy crumbs attached. Allow the muffins to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.