Guilt-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins

by Cathy Pollak
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Noble-Pig-Guilt-Free-Chocolate-Banana-MuffinsWhat is a guilt-free muffin anyway? I guess that means something different to everyone. Let's face it, muffins do not usually equal health food, but there are ways to make them better for you. A healthier muffin to me means, a little protein and fiber, with a lot less cholesterol causing ingredients and lower in calories.

I am literally shocked at how good this muffin tastes with just a few little ingredient changes. There is no oil or butter in these muffins! And they are satisfying and sweet; dense, but in a good way. They are also completely moist, even after four days. 

I used my tips and tricks for the Best Banana Nut Muffin and applied them to this recipe. The two-cup method does work when it comes to creating a banana muffin you will love.

Consider it the perfect gateway snack in between meals, with a cup of black coffee of course.

One of the things I did was get rid of some the white flour by using oatmeal and whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is different than whole wheat flour, which often makes baked goods very dense (but not in a good way).

Whole wheat pastry flour comes from the soft wheat berry, which has more carbs and less protein and gluten compared to the hard wheat berry (where whole wheat flour originates). While the whole wheat berry (germ & bran) is utilized in the making of whole wheat pastry flour, it does not impart that strong "wheaty" and tannic taste whole wheat flour brings to the table. Just for that reason, whole wheat pastry flour is perfect for baking. 

Whole wheat pastry flour is available everywhere. I usually purchase the Bob's Red Mill brand, which I see in every grocery store. Now, anytime I use whole wheat flour, regular or otherwise, I always let the batter sit (about 30 minutes) before baking. Mostly, because whole wheat flour is not as fine as white flour, it does take more time for the liquid to absorb into the fiber dense flour. This is probably less important with whole wheat pastry flour, but I like to let it sit anyways. I do think it helps.

Make sure to freeze your whole wheat flour as soon as you open it. It does begin to oxidize right away. Let it defrost 15 minutes before use.

Guilt-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins
Recipe Created by Cathy Pollak for | Serves: 12


2 medium, ripe bananas (about 209 g, 7.25 oz)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup original apple sauce
2 Tablespoons very strong coffee
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste (you can use regular vanilla, but this is far superior)
nonfat milk add only enough to make your wet ingredients equal two cups (will be about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (not whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa (this means sift, then measure ~ cocoa is lumpy)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped dates


First, your wet ingredients shouldn't exceed a total of two cups. I use a 1 quart measuring cup when putting my wet ingredients together to keep track. Because bananas are different sizes, the addition of wet ingredients can vary, which is why I use the 1 quart cup for easy measurement.

Mash your bananas well with a fork and place them into your measuring bowl. Add egg, apple sauce, coffee, agave and enough milk to make a total of two cups. The addition of milk will only be enough to make a total of two cups of all the ingredients. Do not add more.

In a large bowl combine both flours, oats, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Now, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the chocolate chips and dates, folding them very carefully into each other. Do not mix more than about 10 strokes. Batter will be lumpy. If you mix until the batter is runny, your muffins will be average, and a little tough.

Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. This is where I preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, prepare my muffin pan and clean up the kitchen.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (coconut oil spray if you have) (do not use cupcakes liners, they stick). Add 1/4 cup batter to each muffin cup. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let sit 10 minutes in the pan before removing. Some will just pop out, others will need a little nudge with a knife.


Cathy owns a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer forDavis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She lives with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at

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