Recipe: Flourless Double Chocolate Muffins
by Janelle Zakour RD
For those who know me, know that I'm obsessed with anything stamped 'local'. It's how I became part of Slow Food in the first place. And being able to find ways to combine local ingredients with my Middle Eastern heritage, pretty much sends me over the edge.
These nut-free muffins are WINNERS.
These muffins combine chocolate that was locally grown and produced here in Trinidad with TAHINI. Tahini is a paste made from ground toasted sesame seeds and you'll usually find it in savoury dishes like hummus, babaganoush and samke harra. It tastes like childhood.
But there is something special about the fruity notes of chocolate combined with the subtle nuttiess of the tahini that just WORKED. I won't lie, it's almost impossible to stop at just one muffin.
In all fairness, this recipe was originally developed by my little sister. My only role here is official taste tester... of half the batch...
Just in case they all don't taste the same.
She grew bored of using peanut butter in her muffin recipes and decided to experiment a day. So so happy that she did. I'm quite tempted to replace all nut butters with tahini from now on.
In this recipe, I use single estate Cocobel cocoa powder. I do have a special fondness (and potential bias) for Cocobel as its creator Isabel Brash and I have been members of Slow Food for many years. She is an architect-turned-chocolatier that has represented Trinidad and Tobago in Turin, Italy for Slow Food's Terra Madre event every other year for as long as I can remember, and is now the convivium leader of Slow Food T&T. Cocobel was born out of Isabel's simple desire to make chocolate with the cacao beans from her brother's Rancho Quemado estate, and has blossomed into becoming the leader of artisanal chocolates in the country.
As much as I love our local chocolate makers and what they do, I will be honest and admit that I swear that Cocobel is the best chocolate ever. There is just so much character in each locally-inspired bon-bon, bar and bark. As often as I can, I use her cocoa powder and couverture in almost all of my chocolate recipes.
The bananas that I get are most commonly locally grown Lacatan bananas, but Gros Michel bananas make a great substitute. Or even better, 1 large Lacatan can be replaced by 4 Chiquito figs or 2 Silk figs.
Flourless Double Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yields 9 muffins
Adapted from Running with Spoons
1/2 cup tahini
1 large ripe Lacatan banana
1 egg (local and pasture-raised)**
1/4 cup honey***
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Cocobel)
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying 9 cavities with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
3. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
To make vegan:
** Replace the egg with 1 flax or chia-egg:
Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water.
***And replace the honey with maple syrup.
The muffins are light and airy thanks to the egg + baking soda + cocoa combo. If you want to boost the chocolate flavour just an oomph more, mix in a little instant coffee in the vanilla until dissolved before adding to the other ingredients.
You'll never believe that these do not have flour in them! Good luck stopping at a single muffin :P
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Calories: 147 kcal
QUICK NOTE ABOUT THE SEED BUTTER
The tahini can be replaced by any nut butter or peanut butter. The original recipe actually calls for almond butter... but the tahini takes the cake... err muffin. It has an awesome flavour similar to sunflower seed butter.
Since this is a hybrid post that has elements of my ethnicity in there, I'll end the post with the traditional Arabic 'bon appetit' type saying.