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Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Cacao Nibs

Mmmmm… Mom, what smells so good?  If this is the first thing your children want to know when they walk into the kitchen, it’s a pretty good sign you’ve got a winner of a recipe on your hands. Not only do these Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Cacao Nibs smell wonderful as they bake, they taste fantastic, too.  These moist, lightly sweet banana muffins are chock-full of toasted walnuts, dark chocolate, bittersweet cacao nibs and whole grain goodness from Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Flour. They remind me of my favorite banana bread, but with a more sophisticated flavor from the buckwheat flour, dark chocolate and cacao nibs.

Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour, Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Flour, Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Flour, over-ripe bananas and two types of chocolate (dark chocolate and cacao nibs) are the main ingredients in these muffins.  Sounds like a pretty good start, doesn’t it? 

If you’re unfamiliar with buckwheat flour, it has a somewhat nutty taste and adds protein, beneficial nutrients (like zinc, potassium and copper) and soluble fiber (which helps balance blood sugar levels) to baked goods.   I’ve become a big fan of Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Flour, with Blackberry Cardamom Hand Pies with Buckwheat Crust, Buckwheat-Almond Citrus Sables and these muffins being my favorite recipes to use it in so far.  Another ingredient that might be new to you is cacao nibs.  They’re small pieces of cacao beans (used to make chocolate), that are lightly roasted and have a nutty, slightly chocolate flavor. Cacao nibs aren’t sweet like chocolate chips, and are most often used to enhance the flavor of other chocolate (like the dark chocolate in these muffins) and to add a crunchy texture.  They can be left out or replaced with additional walnuts and dark chocolate if you prefer, but I think they add a nice flavor; plus using them makes me feel a bit more gourmet.

 Also, if gluten is a problem, the white flour in this recipe can be replaced with Hodgson Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour to make these muffins gluten-free.  (Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Flour are naturally gluten free, but are milled on shared equipment, and are not guaranteed 100% gluten free for those with a severe gluten intolerance.)

Start off by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth, 3 minutes.   Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix in the vanilla.  Stir in the mashed banana.

Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in the dark chocolate, cacao nibs and toasted walnuts; be sure to have a little extra of each to sprinkle on top of the muffins before they’re baked.  I chopped my dark chocolate into very fine, almost minced pieces, so it would be more like flecks instead of large chunks.  I like how the little bits add a subtle chocolate flavor without overpowering the sweet banana.

Divide the batter evenly into a muffin pan lined with paper liners.  Place a few pieces of toasted walnut, dark chocolate and cacao nibs on top of each muffin along with a sprinkle of flaky salt.  The salt is optional, but highly recommended. 

Bake the muffins in a 350°F oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out mostly clean.

Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 10 more minutes before eating (them all).

I love how the walnuts, chocolate and cacao nibs on top of these muffins give them a fancy look and add an extra layer of flavor that just takes them over the top.  The sprinkle of salt gives them a bit of sparkle and a salty-sweet flavor much like that found in my Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Nutella®.  So good!

These Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Cacao Nibs are the best way I’ve used up brown bananas in a long time.  They’re moist and tender from the bananas and cream cheese and are hearty enough from the Hodgson Mill whole grain flour to be the perfect quick breakfast or afternoon snack.  The addition of dark chocolate, toasted walnuts and cacao nibs take these banana muffins up a whole other level by giving them a delicious and more sophisticated flavor than your average muffin.  I wasn’t sure if my kids were going to like these muffins because of the extra ingredients (they tend to like their muffins plain and simple), but they couldn’t get enough – especially after they smelled them baking in the oven.

My little guy helped me make these muffins (he’s a master at mashing bananas) and even he gives them a thumbs-up as to how great they taste.  Do yourself a favor and buy a few extra bananas on your next shopping trip to set aside for these muffins. They’re easy to put together, delicious and are a much better-for-you muffin than most any kind you could buy at a restaurant or store.  Enjoy! 

Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Cacao Nibs

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
  • 1/2 cup Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/4 cup Hodgson Mill Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts roughly chopped, plus extra for the tops
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for the tops
  • 2 Tbsp. cacao nibs, plus extra for the tops
  • flaky salt, for the tops (optional)

Instructions

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth, 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix in the vanilla.  Stir in the mashed banana.  Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in the chopped chocolate, cacao nibs and toasted walnuts. Divide the batter evenly into a muffin pan lined with paper liners.  Place a few pieces of toasted walnut, chopped chocolate and cacao nibs on top of each muffin along with a sprinkle of flaky salt.  Bake the muffins in a 350°F oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out mostly clean.  Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 10 more minutes before eating. Completely cooled muffins can be stored in an air tight container for up to 4 days. 

Notes

You may substitute Hodgson Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour for the Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour. Please keep in mind Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Flour and Buckwheat Flour are naturally gluten free products, but are processed on shared equipment, and so cannot be guaranteed 100% gluten free for those with a severe gluten intolerance.

Servings

Makes approximately 18 muffins

Adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

You can find Banana Buckwheat Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Walnuts and Cacao Nibs and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.


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Author: Holly






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