I’ve done it again! Found a way to make a healthy treat that is absolutely delicious! These gluten-free banana bread chocolate chip muffins have no added sugar (except for the sugar in the chocolate chips). They are moist and fluffy, easy to make in one bowl, and even gluten-free for those who are gluten-sensitive. I bet no one will guess they are healthy unless you tell them.
Muffins are a convenient snack or breakfast-to-go. This recipe makes a batch of 12, that will keep well in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a week. They also freeze very well, if you are the only consumer and need to pace yourself out…
What makes them gluten-free?
The secret ingredient here is almond flour. Almond flour is made from blanched almonds that are ground and sifted into a fine flour. It is incredibly nutritious, particularly rich in vitamin E and magnesium, two important nutrients for health. It is better than conventional flours for your blood sugar, as it has a low glycemic index. High in monounsaturated fat, it is gluten-free, lower in carbs and more nutrient-dense than wheat and coconut flours. But more importantly: it’s delicious!
You will need 3 medium size very ripe bananas (with lots of brown spots on them). As bananas ripen, their starch turns into sugar, and that’s where the sweetness of the muffins comes from. There is no added sugar in this recipe, so you need bananas that are ripe enough. If they are not, you have the option to add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup to the recipe. It will still be Mediterranean Diet friendly, but will have a bit more added sugar.
This recipe uses almond flour, which is not the same as almond meal. Almond meal is typically made from raw (unpeeled) almonds, and almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds. Compared to almond meal, almond flour has a finer texture and lighter color and works better in baking.
You could use some other nut, but I love pecans in baking. They have a nice buttery flavor. They are rich in several key nutrients, including fiber, copper, thiamine, and zinc. They’ve been associated with many potential health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, heart health, and brain function.
If you can find 70% or above dark chocolate chips, that’s ideal for health purposes. Dark chocolate is recommended as part of a healthy diet as it provides an abundance of beneficial antioxidants called flavonoids. The best I can easily find where I live is 60% dark. Not quite as good as it contains a bit more sugar and fat than 70%, but there’s really a very small amount per muffin.
Do yourself a favor and splurge for the real deal. Unfortunately, 90% of the world’s vanilla extract is fake imitation vanilla that’s not a product of the plant itself. Instead, it’s flavored primarily with synthetic vanillin. Look for a label that says “pure vanilla extract”. My favorite of all times: Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract.
Spices are a great way to enhance flavor, especially when you are baking with less sugar, or cooking with less salt. Cinnamon is a traditional spice associated with banana bread, that has powerful health benefits to boot. I added some cardamom here for no other reason than I have had not one but 2 jars of cardamom in my pantry (due to merging 2 houses), and it is a spice I do not use very often…You could also add a little ginger, or a pinch of cloves or nutmeg. These are all flavors that pair well with bananas.
I guarantee these gluten-free banana bread chocolate chip muffins will be your new addiction!
Try these other recipes:
Gluten-free banana bread chocolate chip muffins
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with silicone or paper liners.
- Mash the banana with a fork in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well with a whisk until combined.
- Add the almond flour to the bowl. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom on top. Whisk until well incorporated.
- Add pecan pieces and chocolate chips to the bowl. Gently fold them into the batter with a spatula.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each (4 tablespoons). A large ice cream scoop is very convenient for this.
- Bake 28 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Let the pan stand 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the muffins with their liners from the pan and let them cool another 15 minutes on the wire rack. Once they are cool enough to handle, take them out of the liners by gently pressing on the sides and let them finish cooling.
- These muffins can frozen and reheated for a minute in a microwave oven.