Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I’ve been staring at a blank screen for hours. I made muffins, and I don’t know what to say about them. I’ve been writing this blog for almost 7 years, and but the past year has been so inconsistent, and now I’m struggling to put down words. Hopefully I will work through this writer’s block… So I’m just gonna write some words. About muffins. Also, I think I’m gonna eat a muffin while writing about muffins.

Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I made muffins. I have nothing against them whatsoever, but I don’t make them very often for some reason. I guess when I think about what I want for breakfast, it usually involves eggs and cheese?? Our last recipe for Baked Sunday Mornings was Orange Almond Blueberry Muffins, and they just didn’t speak to me. But this week we’re making Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins from BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking, and the idea of those very much piqued my interest. While not a fan of raw bananas, I love me some banana bread, especially when chocolate is involved. Throw in a little espresso powder and I was even more intrigued! But still, I felt like the recipe was missing something… a topping? YES. Streusel is what these muffins needed. In fact, I could probably make the argument that every muffin needs crisp, buttery crumbs on top. In this case, I used the crumbs as a vehicle for even more chocolate chips and espresso… as you do.

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Like most muffins, these are very easy to pull together and require no mixer (which I appreciated, since I don’t have my kitchen fully set up in my new apartment). I started by making the streusel topping as follows:

  • ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup (55g) micro or mini chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick/56g) unsalted butter, melted

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, espresso powder, and salt in a medium bowl, then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour in the melted butter and stir it into the dry ingredients to form small clusters about the size of peas. Place the bowl in the freezer while you prepare the muffin batter.

Meanwhile for the muffins, you’ll combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, white and light brown sugars, melted butter, and egg until the mixture is more or less smooth (except for some banana lumps). You’ll then pour this mix into the dry ingredients and fold everything together just until smooth. Finally add the chocolate chips– there’s a heavy ratio of chocolate chips to batter, of which I wholly approve. P.S. I used mini chips for greater chocolate distribution.

I decided to use those pretty tulip papers in the hopes of getting tall muffins rather than wide muffin tops. Plus, adding the streusel meant that the muffins needed more space to expand upwards, as well as a containment barrier, so these muffin papers worked well. Once you divide the batter among a dozen muffin cups, scatter streusel crumbs generously on top of each, completely covering the muffin batter. I had a bit of the crumb mixture left over, which made for a nice snackie while the muffins baked. The crumbs are strongly flavored with espresso and chocolate, just the way I wanted.

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I thought the muffins would need extra time in the oven because of the topping, so I baked them for 26 minutes, but wished I’d pulled them a minute sooner. The crumbs adhered nicely to the muffin batter– I’d been worried that they would just fall off. They were just a smidge denser than I was hoping because of the extra minute of baking, but still utterly delicious.

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Usually when I bake, I bring my wares to work so I don’t eat them all, but during the summer when school’s out… it’s just me and some sugar bombs. Fortunately I was invited to dinner at some friends’ house, so I was able to foist some muffins on them, which they enjoyed for breakfast this morning! I just loved these– they’re my favorite muffins that I’ve made in a long time. All the flavors shine through: banana, chocolate, and espresso. They are well balanced and nothing overpowers. I really liked the addition of the crispy crumbles on top, and I would add those again when making these in the future.

Grab some ripe bananas, chocolate, and espresso powder and get baking– someone you know needs these tomorrow morning! You can find the recipe for Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins over at Baked Sunday Mornings, and please take a look at the other bakers’ muffins while you’re there!

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© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2019.

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