Lately, I’ve been on a greens kick. After discovering I could puree spinach and kale into my smoothies without affecting the taste, I started experimenting with hidden, pureed greens in EVERYTHING. And you know what? It totally works.
We’re going through at least TWO giant bags of fresh greens per week at my house without my kids knowing they’ve eaten even a single bite of the stuff! In fact, Jamie will swear up and down he hates spinach and kale, when in fact, he eats it daily without knowing.
Meanwhile, not a single Ritter has gotten sick this entire winter. Coincidence? You decide.
The trick, I’m learning, is to sneak pureed Superfoods into recipes that will mask the green tint. Thus, cocoa powder is my new best friend.
When I mentioned experimenting with these cocoa-banana muffins on Facebook last weekend, one of my girlfriends read it and realized she had all the ingredients in her kitchen already and gave it a whirl as well. Within an hour or so, she’d hopped back on Facebook with a winning review of them. I decided that meant I should post the recipe here, even though I hadn’t planned to or taken instructional photos. These are SUPER easy to make, and bake quickly. Your kids will be amazed that you’re letting them eat so many, but with low sugar/fat and rich in vitamins and fiber, you’ll be smiling every time you see them cram another muffin into their pie holes.
Also, I calculated my muffins to be around 2 Weight Watchers points each (old WW points), so you can eat them all day if you want!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 overripe (brownish) bananas
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (regular will work, too)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (6-oz) container fat free fruit yogurt (I used Yoplait cherry lite)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- about 4 loose cups of fresh spinach or kale leaves (I used both)
- 1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute, which I used)
- handful of miniature chocolate chips (which go way further than regular-sized)
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place 18 cupcake liners in muffin tins.
In a mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour with baking powder and cinnamon; set aside.
In your blender, layer the following from the bottom up: 1.) two bananas, peeled and broken into large chunks, 2.) the spinach or kale, crammed down as far as you can, 3.) yogurt, 4.) vanilla extract, 5.) egg or egg substitute.
Puree the mixture. You may have to stop the blender once or twice to push the spinach down closer to the blade, but I assure you it will all puree into a smooth, thick green liquid with no discernible leaf bits once it’s all worked in.
Pour this mixture into the dry flour mixture and stir until evenly distributed. Add the cocoa powder and miniature chocolate chips; stir just until mixed.
Spoon the batter into muffin liners, making each about 1/2 full to get 18 muffins.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until tops are firm but inside is still soft. Pull from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to airtight containers (I use large ziploc bags) as soon as they are cool enough. This will help them develop that wonderful stick-muffin-top over an hour or two. And we love sticky muffin tops.
These would probably freeze beautifully if individually wrapped, but my kids and I couldn’t keep our mitts out of them long enough to find out. They are good fresh from the oven, but oh-so-much better after they’ve been in the airtight container for a few hours. The moisture from the soft-cooked centers distributes evenly through the whole muffin and they’re just so moist and fudgy. Mm-mmm!