So… Winter arrived and brought some muffins

I had originally planned for this entry to be part of my annual 12 Days of Christmas series but I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Papa Bear Muffins ©FrogDiva Photography

Out of sheer frustration with the impending holiday isolation, the dreary weather in Berlin at the moment, and guilt for ignoring the muffin tray and oven for so long, I rolled up my sleeves and went spelunking around Pinterest. There is really no point in doing major holiday baking this year, since there are no parties to attend, trips to embark on, or even picnics to join. Quite frankly, ice cream is messy to work with while writing or reading.

As always, I never go for the usual or classic recipes, which is why it takes me so long to find the right recipe and then tweak it to my dietary needs. I’ve been living in Europe long enough to adjust the sweetness of my tastebuds, having lived primarily in countries where the sugar levels are out of this world. I suppose growing up painfully aware that diabetes runs in the family made me over cautious with my sugar levels over the years, so I adjusted in whichever way I could. Sweet coffee, for example, makes me nauseous, as I disciplined myself to drink it sugar free over the years. Having said that, I always, always reduce the sugar quantities in baked goods, especially if I have to share them with European palates.

These are banana muffins with coconut and chocolate chips. I love banana bread almost as much as banana muffins, as they have that special depth to them. The trick to this recipe is to use overripe bananas, regardless of the variety you use. For all intents and purposes I used the only available kind here in Germany, which is the awful Chiquita banana. I would much rather have used the Filipino or Indian varieties, Lacatan or Cavendish.

FrogDiva Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup spelt or whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup regular white flour 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon* 
3 ripe bananas (essentially you are after 1 3/4 cups pureed banana)  
1/3 cup brown sugar**
1 large egg 
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1/3 cup desiccated  coconut 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 240C. Puree bananas and set aside.
Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside 
Beat the egg, gradually add sugar and banana puree, vanilla, melted butter. Gradually add the dry ingredients, fold in the coconut and chocolate chips. Bake for 18 minutes at 200C. 
Yields 12 muffins 
* I don’t like nutmeg much so I ditched it altogether. If you have a preference for it, then reduce the cinnamon to 1 tsp and add 12 tsp ground nutmeg.
** Original quantity is 1/2 cup, so if you prefer things in the sweeter side then adjust accordingly.
*** Nuts of any kind are of course welcome, so if you want to use them, I strongly recommend 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts , pistachio, or cashew, definitely not walnuts or pecan!

As you may notice there is a very prominent felt teddy bear in the photograph as well. The back story to that is HERE. This was the very first felt Christmas ornament that my mother sewed upon joining the Mormon Ladies arts and crafts group in Mexico. She was proud as punch when she brought him home and he is always the first one on the tree. Two years ago I accidentally forgot to pack him up along with the rest of the holiday decorations, so he hung around in the conservatory. Last year I deliberately left him out and he watches over me in my sleeping corner. So although I’m not putting up a tree this year, my Papa Bear is supervising the baking projects in the kitchen.

Related blogs in the series:

So… Winter arrived and brought some baggage

So… Winter arrived and brought some ice (cream)

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