Pillowy-soft gluten free chocolate chip banana muffins – take a bite and be swept away! These banana muffins are lightly studded with tasty chocolaty bits and crowned with a bonus crumb topping. Delightful for dessert, or as part of a balanced snack or breakfast!
Don’t need to eat gluten free foods? Just exchange the gluten free flour blend for whole white wheat flour for a perfect whole grain muffin!
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I don’t know about you, but my eyes pop wide open whenever I walk past the bakery section in my local grocery store and catch a glimpse of those beautiful bakery-style muffins.
It’s mainly the ones with the bumpy crumb topping that woo me. Oh! The melt-in-your mouth buttery sweet crumb topping. LOVE it! That love definitely goes back my mother’s Dutch Apple Pie. Hmmm.
It’s a good thing they are not fresh out of the oven and are sealed up so I can’t smell them…I know, right?
But you know, deep down in my
stomach heart, I KNOW those store-bought muffins are not as good as homemade. I know they are not nearly as nutritious as the ones I can easily make at home, either. Chocolate chip banana muffins are rarely gluten free anyway.
…And the high calories coupled with the high price? At a whopping 350-500 calories per store-bought muffin, and at $7.50 (on sale?!?) for only four gluten free chocolate chip banana muffins? No thanks! Don’t pay for the convenience; make your own, and get more in the end!
What Do I Need to Make the Best Banana Muffins?
This simple recipe uses basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Here is an overview of what you’ll need for this tasty banana classic:
- Gluten Free Flour – I have had the best results with King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour in my muffin recipes. That being said, I usually add small amounts of other flours to achieve the desirable texture found in gluten-containing muffins.
- Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon & Salt – These are traditional necessary leavening agents and flavor enhancers used in many baked goods.
- Toasted Walnuts – While shown as optional, if you don’t have a tree nut allergy, please consider tossing them in. Toasting walnuts intensifies their rich flavor and makes them crunchier. And the crunch from walnuts adds appealing texture in muffins!
- To toast nuts, I heat a skillet on the stove on medium-low heat, and lightly brown the walnuts for about 6-7 minutes. Be sure to stir every 2 minutes to prevent burning. Walnuts couple so well with banana – I just love them together!
- Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Chocolate! Need I say more? Just a little bit truly goes a long way here. And using mini chips ensures you’ll have a bit of chocolate goodness in every bite!
- My recipe uses mini chocolate chips in both the batter AND in the crumb topping! That’s a rare sighting for crumb-topped chocolate chip banana muffins of any kind!
- Brown Sugar – I like pairing light brown sugar in baked banana goodies. It adds a bit of moisture due to the molasses content, but also a depth of flavor that marries so well with those bananas.
- Butter and Applesauce – To lower total fat, saturated fat, and calorie content, I substitute half the butter with unsweetened applesauce. This simple swap works perfectly very well in nearly all the muffins and quick breads I make. It will result in a moist muffin without even noticing that part of the fat is gone.
- Not-too-ripe Banana – This banana muffin recipe is loaded with bananas. Some recipes try to squeak by with just a banana or two, but not my recipe. You’ll likely need 3 medium to medium/large bananas to get 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana. The bananas I used here weighed in at 1 1/4 pounds!
- I say not-too-ripe because we are aiming for a really fresh banana flavor. See Recipe FAQ below for more details.
- Egg – Just one egg is needed in these gluten free chocolate chip banana muffins. It has an important role by adding structure and lift, a tender texture, and flavor to the recipe.
- Vanilla – I love vanilla in muffins and other baked goods – and in mostly all desserts – and I don’t skimp on it. Vanilla enhances the sweet flavors in banana muffins.
Oh, and did I mention there is a Buttery Crumb Topping?
- King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Light Brown Sugar
- Chilled Unsalted Butter
- Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.
These four ingredients together create a sweet sandy-like buttery crunch that contrasts perfectly with the pillowy-soft banana muffin on which it sits.
Why Make Your Own Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins?
- Homemade muffins are definitely more cost effective than buying pre-made muffins (see my initial post comments above).
- It’s hard to find fresh gluten free muffins of any kind. Plus these gluten free muffins are truly delectable. Seriously. Nobody will ever guess these chocolate chip banana muffins are gluten free.
- You can control exactly what goes into your muffins. As a result, you can add or limit specific ingredients to improve the nutritional content (see next section)!
- Not all muffins are created equal. Most commercially made muffins are made with much more sugar and much more fat than is really necessary.
- When you can cut excess calories that come from sugars and fats – that’s a WIN!
- By eating less convenience foods and reducing sugar and fat in our own recipes (specifically saturated and trans fat), you can help keep your weight in check. This will help to decrease your risk for developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.♡
- The American Heart Association recommends that for an average adult who needs to consume about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of those calories should come from saturated fat; that equates to about 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
- While this recipe does contain butter (which contributes saturated fat), the batter portion has very little. In fact, each muffin has only 1/2 teaspoon of butter in the batter. The tasty crumb topping adds one more teaspoon of butter per muffin for a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter per muffin.
- Each muffin contains 12 grams of total fat with just 5 grams coming from saturated fat. Therefore, it can be enjoyed well within the American Heart Association recommendations!
The Star Nutrients That Shine in These Gluten Free Muffins
- Fiber – Each muffin contains 3 grams of fiber. That may not sound like much, but in combination with other fiber-rich foods eaten throughout the day, it can help women reach the recommended amount of 25 grams of fiber per day and help men reach 38 grams of fiber per day recommended for men.
- Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot break apart easily. Because of this, it helps to slow the passage of food from the stomach into the small intestine. This can help to make us feel full longer, which can help with weight management.
- Because fiber slows the digestion process, it may help to control blood sugar levels and improve the frequency of bowel movements as well.
- Adequate intakes of fiber may also help to lower cholesterol levels; this can aid in the prevention of heart disease.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid – The addition of walnuts contributes a unique source of heart healthy fats to these muffins. Walnuts provide a high amount of the plant-based omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Many people struggle to get enough of these essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make on its own.
- Omega-3’s play an important role in the membrane of every single body cell and for proper function in your blood vessels, heart and lungs. They are important also for many functions in your immune system and endocrine system.
- Potassium – Anytime you can add fruit to a muffin, you’ll have nutrition benefits. Bananas are rich in potassium, which plays a helpful role in the prevention of cardiac disease and stroke.
- Additionally, higher potassium intakes may lower the risk of kidney stones.
Recipe FAQ For Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Here are some common questions you may ask as you prepare this recipe:
Can I Use a Different Gluten Free Flour?
Yes. While I prefer to use King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour in this recipe, I have used both Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Krusteaz Gluten Free All Purpose Flour in similar baked goods with good results.
-It is important to note that all three of these flour options contain Xanthan Gum, which is an important ingredient that helps with binding; it provides elasticity and structure in batters that do not contain gluten.
-If you choose a gluten free flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, I would recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon per cup of gluten free flour used in a muffin recipe. Without it, muffins will likely crumble apart after just a bite or two.
How Ripe Should My Bananas Be?
That answer is really up to personal preference, so it’s up to you. Some people prefer to use the darkest brown bananas possible, while others just can’t wait to bake and use yellow bananas that have just a few brown spots.
Over the years I have come to appreciate a fresher banana flavor in my baked goods that contain banana, so I choose to use bananas that are still fairly firm and are yellow, but are mottled halfway with brown spots and streaks.
Should the Mashed Banana be Completely Smooth or Still Chunky?
Again, this is up to your own personal preference. When the mashed banana is beaten into the other ingredients, it will continue to break down into smaller bits.
For most of my banana recipes that call for mashed banana, I mashed it with a fork until it is creamy but still a little lumpy. You decide!
Can I Use Frozen Bananas I Have in the Freezer for This Recipe?
Oh, I want to say yes, but I have to say no; I would not use thawed frozen bananas in a muffin recipe in most cases. Baking is more of a science…a delicate balance between wet ingredients and dry ingredients especially in muffin and quick bread recipes.
Save those frozen bananas to blend in smoothies, to use in baked oatmeal, or in convenient jars of overnight oats! Find recipes for these items on themarchingapron.com sometime soon!
That being said, if you are on a pinch and must use frozen bananas, thaw the bananas on paper towels to absorb as much excess moisture as possible before mashing for this recipe.
Can You Make These Muffins Vegan?
Yes you can! To make these vegan, simply swap out the following:
– Replace the butter with vegan margarine – such as Earth Balance Buttery Spread or Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks.
– Replace the egg with one flax egg – combine 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and allow to sit for 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
– Replace mini chocolate chips with the vegan brands – such as Enjoy Life, Nestle Toll House Allergen Free (this Nestle variety is currently standard chip size only)
In making these changes, the recipe would automatically become egg-free as well as dairy-free.That’s really easy for those who need to avoid eggs or dairy.♡
Can I Omit the Walnuts or Use a Different Type of Nut?
Yes. Nuts can be removed from the recipe all together, or you could substitute chopped toasted pecans or almonds for a crunch of a different flavor. Nuts add an occasional delightful crunch in these muffins as well as some healthy fat and fiber increasing their nutritional benefits.
Why do You Change the Baking Temperature While These Muffins Bake?
Starting muffins in a hotter oven (but not too hot) provides a burst of heat, thus activating the rise process much more quickly. This will lead to a bigger taller muffin with that pretty domed feature that is so alluring!
What’s the Best Way to Store These Muffins?
Because the crumb topping can soften over time, these are best eaten in a few days. Store at room temperature in a larger container (to allow for air circulation) for up to 3 days loosely covered in a container, or chill loosely covered for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins that are Crumb-topped?
Yes! For best results, wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. This double-layering will help to prevent water crystals from building up within the crumb topping.
To thaw, unwrap each muffin and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and then then bring to room temperature.
What to Serve with Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins?
It kind of depends on which course you are serving them!
–For Dessert: This is my favorite way to enjoy these muffins! After a nice meal, simply warm this muffin in the microwave for 10-15 seconds for a classic melty-chocolaty banana after-meal treat. Enjoy with a bit of low-fat milk! It’s so good!
–For Breakfast: Considering that one muffin alone would not be filling enough to eat on its one for a meal, I recommend adding a protein-rich food to go along with it to help you feel satisfied until the next meal. Try perhaps some Greek yogurt, or a hard boiled or fried egg. Or how about a serving of turkey sausage links?
Together with a glass of low-fat milk, maybe your morning coffee or tea, and even some fresh fruit, you can be happy that you’ve started out your day in fun balanced fashion!
–For a Delightful Snack: Again, use the microwave here to warm a homemade muffin for 10-15 seconds. Savor it with a tall glass of low-fat milk. Yum!
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
- 1 cup gluten free flour blend *spooned and leveled
- 2 Tbsp almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped, if desired
- 2 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 cups mashed banana not too ripe
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend *spooned and leveled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter chilled
- 3 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 400℉. Place 12 foil baking cup liners in a standard muffin pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together gluten free flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; combine well. Whisk in toasted walnuts and mini chocolate chips; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 c gluten free flour and 1/2 cup brown sugar for crumb topping. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or with two forks. Stir in chocolate chips; set aside. (Be sure NOT to confuse this bowl with the dry ingredients bowl!)
- In a large bow, combine 1/3 c brown sugar, 2 T softened butter, and 2 T applesauce, beating with a hand mixer on low speed initially; then beat on medium speed until creamy, about two minutes. Add mashed banana, egg, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for an additional minute, or until well mixed.
- Stir flour mixture into banana mixture with a spoon or spatula just until moistened; batter will be fairly thick. Using a large cookie scoop, divide batter evenly into prepared muffin liners so that each one is about 3/4 full of batter. Spoon crumb topping evenly over the tops of each muffin.
- Place muffin pan on middle rack in hot oven and bake at 400℉ for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350℉ and bake an additional 18-20 minutes, or until muffin tops are a light golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. For more even baking, rotate the pan front to back halfway through baking time.
- Remove pan from oven and allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Using a small fork, gently wedge it down between each muffin and the pan; gently lift each muffin out, transferring to a wire rack to cool completely…or almost completely. ENJOY!
Your Own Notes
I hope you enjoy these delectable muffins! And don’t be afraid to share them with others – you can’t even tell they are gluten free!
When you try these muffins, please consider leaving a recipe rating and comment below!
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