These muffins are perfection when it comes to banana bread! Wonderfully moist and delicious, with ooey-gooey chocolate and dates throughout, this is most delicious comfort treat for rainy days like the autumn season! The cinnamon and spice paired with the sweetness of dates and bananas is a favorite treat for my family and friends. My favorite part is the bittersweet chocolate in these little cakes; they balance the sweet dates and cinnamon spice so nicely. I also love to serve this as a cake with a walnut streusel on top (if my nut-allergy husband isn’t around). These make for an excellent breakfast muffin or snack because they are so light and energizing with plenty of dates and less sugar and fat than most banana breads!
I recently enjoyed one of the most perfect banana breads last winter courtesy of my father-in-law’s nurse, Karen. It was so delicious with dried cherries throughout. She has thus inspired me to bake A LOT of banana bread since then. I also learned an important trick from her recipe: to mix in the flour VERY last will prevent you from over-mixing the batter. Over-mixing banana bread batter is what makes it tough, or rubbery. Problem solved.
My version of banana bread is a bit lighter. I have completely omitted the butter and added coconut oil instead to make these muffins supremely moist with a hint of coconut. I have also cut the sugar in half and added gooey sweet dates instead. You may have read in my other posts about the plentiful health benefits of dates. They are a low glycemic sweetener and energizer, with a bounty of nutrients and minerals our bodies need.
Then, I add CHUNKS of bittersweet chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Here is my secret: use a high-quality bittersweet chocolate bar, and chop it. Thank me later.
Finally, and most importantly, I infuse some warmth and spice with my stash of high quality spices: a couple of heaping spoons of cinnamon, a pinch of himalayan pink salt, and a dash of ground cloves and cardamom. The sweet and spicey aroma is incredible and is the perfect flavor for this comfort treat.
I bake these in a muffin pan to make 12 jumbo bakery-style muffins, or I bake 6 muffins and pour the other half of the batter into a 9 inch round pan with a walnut streusel on the bottom. Simply toss chopped walnuts with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a spoon of cinnamon and sugar; spread along the bottom of the pan. The more cinnamon-sugar coated nuts, the merrier. The walnuts pair perfectly with this cake and dresses it up just enough to serve to guests. Just be sure to bake this on the top rack so that the bottom of the cake doesn’t brown too much, since you will end up flipping it to serve.
This recipe is very easy. You don’t even need a mixer. Mash up ripe bananas with the coconut oil. I like to soak my pitted dates in hot water to get them really juicy and gooey. I then mash the plump dates with the bananas. Add the sugar, eggs, spices, and mix-ins (chopped chocolate and dates). Add the flour last and only stir gently until incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX. Bake for about 30 minutes, and enjoy!
Do it right, and enjoy these sweet gooey muffins or a slice of cake with a cup of tea. <3
- 6 ripe bananas
- 2/3 c coconut oil
- 1.5 c sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 c Medjool dates, pitted and halved
- 1 c chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3 c flour
- chopped walnuts, plus extra coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (F) because you will be done mixing in no time.
- Soak 1/2 c of the dates in hot water so that they become plump and soft for about 5 minutes. Drain the water from the dates.
- Smash the peeled bananas, soaked dates, and coconut oil together.
- Mix in the sugar and spices.
- Add the eggs with the vanilla.
- Chop the remaining dates into smaller pieces and stir into the batter along with the chocolate.
- Add the baking soda and then the flour last. Stir until incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
- Scoop the batter into a muffin pan or into two 9 inch round pans. If you want to dress up the round cake, prepare a walnut mixture on the bottom of the pan by mixing chopped nuts with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar. Pour the batter on top and bake on the top rack of your oven.
- You may also choose to spread the chopped nuts smothered in coconut oil, cinnamon, and sugar along the bottom of the muffin pans as well. The nuts pair very nicely with this cake!
- Bake on the middle to upper rack of the oven, and check after 30 minutes. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.