School started last week, it’s the first time I’ve stepped into a classroom in 30 years as a student. Feeling out of my element was an understatement, but it’s good to have a purpose and place to go every day. I am firmly in that mid-life reinvention portion of my life. The beauty of going back to school at my age is that I’m past that awkward phase where embarrassment and insecurity hold you back and keeps you hiding in the corner. I’m fortunate to have the ability to take some time to figure out where life is going to lead me and plan on enjoying every minute of it.
I’m using this term to ease back into things and explore what has always interested me but never found the time to learn. Ceramics have always fascinated me, and I fondly remember wheel-throwing back in high school, so I’m taking it just for the sheer pleasure of working with my hands.
My son is taking first year Japanese and wants us to plan a trip to Japan for his high school graduation, so I’ve decided to tackle my fear of language and learn along with him. In the past, I have always struggled tremendously, but I’m hoping that I have the time and mindset to get past my limitations. My mother is from Okinawa and it makes me tremendously pleased that he is expressing interest in learning about our families culture and language. Studying together and learning something simultaneously allows me to spend some quality time with him that is growing far too short. This year is full of college explorations and future plans so I’m grateful for the opportunity to share an experience together.
With our busy schedules, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the time to cook on a daily basis so prepping slow cooker meals and items like these banana almond chocolate chip muffins have become invaluable. I’ve made these about half a dozen times in the last few weeks, and they never last more than a few days. I have tweaked the recipe several times and even had an instance where I forgot to add the sugar. It resulted in me in pulling the muffins from the oven, scraping the batter back into a bowl and adding the sugar. The chocolate had melted slightly, so they became more chocolate than chocolate chip muffins.
I experimented with different ratios of flours, but this is the version we both agreed was the best combination. Instead of conventional wheat flour, they are made with a combination of almond, oat and rice flours. I prefer to use chopped chocolate but feel free to substitute chocolate chips instead. I also made a version where I replaced the coconut oil and chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of almond butter and they were delicious. I will most likely be sharing a few more variations over the coming months since they are becoming a weekly ritual in our household.
If you’d like to make a vegan version of this recipe, replace the egg with 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed mixed with two tablespoons of water. Let the mixture gel for five minutes and then add to the wet ingredients.
They should also freeze well for up to a month, just let them thaw out on the counter or pop them into the microwave for a minute.
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #scalingback on Instagram so I can see what you came up with!
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup oat flour
- 2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 banana
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup natural cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (about ½ cup)
- sliced almonds
- turbinado sugar
- flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (for sprinkling)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Combine the almond flour, oat flour, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl add the banana and with a fork mash until fairly smooth. Add the egg and whisk to combine then add the cane sugar, vanilla extract, almond milk, and melted coconut oil and whisk well. Add the flour mixture and stir gently to combine and then fold in the chopped chocolate. Sprinkle the tops with sliced almonds, turbinado sugar and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are browned and firm to the touch. Allow
to coolon a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning them out to cool completely.
- Vegan version:
- If you'd like to make a vegan version of this recipe, MIx 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let the mixture gel for five minutes and then add to the wet ingredients, and omit the egg.