So listen – I have called these muffins, and that is a lie. But it’s a lie we all agree on, right? Most muffins are cake, and these are no different. You won’t find me complaining – I’d be very into it if more things that were cake pretended not to be so we could eat them more often. Muffins are a top-notch disguise. Long live muffins, and by that I mean long live cake that we all agree we can eat for breakfast.
Most banana stuff, while delicious, is pretty dense. My favorite banana-themed baked goods are tremendously good, but also pretty heavy and mostly flavored with chocolate and/or peanut butter. And listen, there’s nothing at all wrong with that. Like, at all. I love you, chocolate and peanut butter flavored stuff. Never change.
But these little cakes, invented by Molly in a desperate bid to save some near-zombie bananas, are like no other banana cake I have ever had. Light as a feather, almost bouncy, due to some weird baking powder math that ended up working out, (and then getting simplified to just using self-raising flour), with enough chocolate chips to feel special but not quite full-on DECADANZA. The kind of little muffin you can happily eat 3 of and not feel like you’ve ruined your next meal.
Did I mention they’re BOUNCY? Almost VIVACIOUS? I’ve never had this before. With three bananas in the mix, they’re pretty intensely banana-y, but not in any way weighed down or claggy. They’re perfect for the mid-day snack meals, either elevenses or teatime. (11am or 4pm, obviously. Also, Americans, it is not ELEVENSIES. It is elevenses, like, “more than one elevens”. It is a dignified, mid-morning time to eat a miniature cake, not a cutesy baby-talk hobbit meme. Please. Have some decorum.)
(CAN I JUST SAY THOUGH while we’re on the subject, there’s been a Tesco ad for Easter specials on TV for the last few months that features a Scottish guy making a middle-eastern lamb feast for his wife, and it’s very cute, but I aurally fixated on the part where he says he “toasts the spices” because in his accent it does sound like he says he “toasts the spicies”. I have a Scottish friend (hi Martin sorry Martin) who also has this accent feature – anything that ends in an “s” sound but is plural, like horses or houses, sounds in his accent like horsies or housies. It’s delightful. So I guess for Scottish people it is elevensies. But only for them. Don’t get cute.)
(Okay, so I just looked it up, and Billy Boyd, who plays Pippin in Lord of the Rings, is FROM GLASGOW and is doing what I assume is a version of his normal accent in the movie, which is why it sounds like he says elevensies and why a generation of American LOTR fans have been saying “elevenses” wrong for 20 full years. Cook Instead: Come for the recipes, stay for the linguistic analysis.)
Jaunty, fluffy little banana cakes! Flecked with enough chocolate to feel special, but not indulgent! Not at all trying for health, but with no need for frosting, icing, or glaze! Soft, not crackly. Effervescent, not dense. More than a muffin, less than a full cake. Not a girl, not yet a woman. Spiritually akin to those weirdly moist yet undeniably addictive Little Debbie blueberry mini-muffins that came in a plastic bag in the vending machines in high school. You know the ones. But, like, orders of magnitude better, fresher, tastier, less processed. You could be eating these in an hour or less, if you hurry. Never wonder what to do with your bananas-on-death’s-door ever again.
MOLLY’S BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
100g salted butter, softened. Usually we don’t use salted butter in baking because you can’t really control the salt levels, but these are pretty sweet with all the fruit and chocolate so the salted butter helps even things out. If you don’t have it don’t worry, just throw in an extra pinch (1/4 tsp) of salt with the flour.
175g/ ½ c sugar
3 tbsp milk
245g self-raising flour (or, like, ¾ cup? I don’t know, it’s a weird recipe)
3 bananas, mashed. The older the better (to a point, obviously)
70g dark chocolate, chopped fine
30g semisweet chocolate chips
OKAY LOOK I am not trying to make your life difficult here. But the more different kinds of chocolate you have, the better. Of course you can just use chocolate chips. Of course you can use milk chocolate if you want. White chocolate would probably be too sweet, but don’t let me tell you how to live your life. Just get 100g (3 to 4 ounces) of tasty chocolate pieces in there.
Chopped walnuts, if you want. I think these are simpler and better without, but Molly loves walnuts in everything and this is her recipe, so. She says two handfuls should be good.
CAKE-MAKING SPEED RUN
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Line a cupcake tin
- Cream together the butter and sugar, as you do.
- Add eggs one at a time, and make sure they’re fully incorporated.
- Add the milk and incorporate well
- You know the drill! Add that flour! Mix just until the batter’s uniform, too much mixing makes for tough muffins.
- Stir in the bananas, it’s fine if they stay lumpy
- Mix in your chocolate, and walnuts if you want
- Fill the cups!
- Bake for about 25 minutes, but start checking at 20. When they’re done, they should be lightly golden and bounce back when tapped with a finger. Use a tester if you’re not sure – it should come out clean unless you hit a chunk of banana and/or chocolate
- They’re best day-of, but they’ll keep in a cookie jar for like 3 days. You can probably freeze them, too, if you want.