Banana & Green Tea Milk Chocolate Chunk Muffins and my entry into the Nuts About Oats contest

by Irvin on March 8, 2012 · 11 comments

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Chocolate for breakfast. Start the day off right.

Every now and then I have friends ask me how I come up with the recipes that I do. They assume that I have tons of time on my hands to be constantly baking and that I spend loads of money on groceries tracking down the fancy ridiculous ingredients I have in the pantry. However the reality is that I NEVER seem to have enough times on my hands, and I’m pretty darn frugal when it comes to spending money (hello, freelancer here, I’m perpetually broke). Now, one of the perks of having a food blog is that you occasionally get samples of ingredients from companies that want you to review their products, even when I tell them that I normally don’t do reviews. However, even if I didn’t get those samples, the fact is, most of my baking and food making revolves around a desperate attempt to use up food that we have in the house that would otherwise go bad. So when a bunch of bananas sitting on my counter were about to give up their ghost, I tried to figure out what to do with them that didn’t involve banana bread (having already posted two different banana bread recipes on here already). Thus the Banana & Green Tea Milk Chocolate Chunk Muffin was born.

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Banana, green tea, chocolate combined together for a breakfast of champions.

I used to be a chocolate snob, saying that I only love dark chocolate…the darker the better. After all, I’m not a child anymore, stuffing my face with the sweet creamy Hershey’s or Nestle’s milk chocolate bars that I got at Halloween, which always gave me shivers of pleasure (though maybe that was just the sugar coursing through my veins, making me hyper). As I got older, I “outgrew” milk chocolate and I found myself reaching for rich, barely sweet, deep dark chocolate with hints of tobacco and dark berries over the sweet milk chocolate that childhood Irvin used to crave. Of course, there was a tipping point where I realized that super dark doesn’t necessarily mean tastier to me. Eventually I realized anything over 80% cacao was usually too chalky for me and I preferred the 55-65% range, which I affectionately called “my sweet spot” of dark chocolate percentages. However, lately I’ve come to appreciate quality milk chocolate for what it is, especially as small, well-crafted chocolatiers have taken on the challenge of creating superior milk chocolate. Good milk chocolate makes me nostalgic for my younger self, without resorting to eating the waxy sugary chocolate from the grocery stores.

AJ is a fan of the muffin and coffee breakfast. He has often told me that he would prefer I make more muffins and less cookies, cakes and brownies, as somehow it seems totally socially acceptable to eat a muffin in the morning, but not a slice of cake, cookies or brownie (silly society). In turn, I have been making a number or muffins lately, all of which are occupying room in my freezer next to the chicken and turkey stock I have in there, as we can’t really eat a batch of muffins in a day or two. These include the pistachio cherry cornmeal muffins I made for the penguin in my dreams a few weeks ago and a different batch of muffins I developed recently for a collaborative contest with Peanut Butter & Co. and Bob’s Red Mill. Those particular muffins, a Strawberry Jam filled Banana Peanut Butter Oat Muffin with Oatmeal Crumb Topping, are bad-ass (if you don’t mind me tooting my own horn). You can check them out and find their recipe over at the Nuts about Oats website. While you’re at it, bounce over there and take the extra time to check out the other entries and vote for your favorite one – I’m in good company and they are all fantastic.

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Strawberry Jam filled Banana Peanut Butter Oat Muffins with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Of course, while developing the banana peanut butter oat recipe, I ended up buying extra ingredients (like bananas) to make sure that I had enough, in case something went awry in the development process. Thankfully I didn’t have to do too many rounds with that particular recipe, which meant I had extra bananas lying around getting more and more speckled and brown. So in the end, I took a look at my pantry, realized I hadn’t played with my canister of matcha green powder in awhile and I had some milk chocolate bars floating in the back that the excellent Theo Chocolate sent to me to play with in the kitchen and these muffins were born. I’m not complaining, and neither is AJ. After all I got rid of the bananas, and he gets to eat more muffins.

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Chocolate is full of anti-oxidants right? So this is a healthy muffin.

Special thanks to Peanut Butter & Co. and Bob’s Red Mill for inviting me to participate in their Nuts about Oats contest. I was compensated with a small honorarium for developing the recipe for the contest. Please be sure to check out the awesome other contributing bloggers, including An Edible Mosaic, Always Order Dessert, So Good and Tasty, Lemons and Lavender and Thyme in our Kitchen. They all created some wonderful breakfast and brunch items and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be included in their company. Be sure to vote for your favorite item, as you could win a prize pack from both Peanut Butter & Co. and Bob’s Red Mill of product worth $100.

Also special thanks to Theo Chocolate for sending me samples of their milk chocolate to play with in the kitchen. Though I did receive the chocolate free of charge, all opinions stated above are my own and I was not compensated for this post.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa March 8, 2012 at 6:38 am

This looks like a surefire winner to me. That topping is beyond awesome!

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Lori @ Lemons and Lavender March 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hey Irvin! Thanks for the shout out and link to my blog. I have to admit, once I saw that you were one of the other bloggers in this contest I knew my chances were slim! I think I need to start calling you The Muffin Man because the contest muffins and these ones look incredible. Then again, I expect nothing less from you ;)

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Irvin March 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Ha! What are you talking about? I love your breakfast pizza! Talk about fierce competition.

Though, in truth, all the bloggers have awesome recipes. It’s a total toss up as to who gets what votes!

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Bugarska Leto March 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

Tasty combination. Can’t fail. I can not wait to try it.

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thelittleloaf March 9, 2012 at 1:43 am

I’ve never baked with matcha but do really like the flavour of green tea so would love to taste these. Totally agree with you about chocolate too – life’s too short to be a snob about it and some milk chocolate is seriously good :-)

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merri March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

mmm these look good. i might make them sometime, i can always bring the rest into work!

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susan March 10, 2012 at 7:46 am

What a great way to start ones day! These look delish and you can’t really go wrong with chocolate and bananas!

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Visda March 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

I would have never come up with the idea of green tea in muffins. That sounds very delicious. I already made some banana bread yesterday since I had some old bananas. I should try you recipe next week. Have a great Sunday.

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Jonathan March 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Chocolate and green tea are an awesome combination, and I bet swirling the batters, besides being fun and aesthetically pleasing, really allows you to appreciate the interplay and harmony between the two. These sound wonderful, Irvin – Thank you for sharing.

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beti March 24, 2012 at 10:04 am

I can’t wait to try them, they look healthy and perfect for dessert/snack

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Chocolate tea March 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Thanks like chocolate tea and green tea .you give me best information

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