Almond and Oat, Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

I grew up in a cake household.

Every now and then my mum would make muffins or friands. Rarely cupcakes. Quite often pikelets and loaves. But, as a rule, if we were to have one baked good on the countertop, it would be a cake. This cake, whether orange and almond, banana or chocolate, would sit proudly on a cake stand in the kitchen. My brothers and I would attempt to cut the tiniest of slivers, one by one, in the hope of not getting caught sneaking extra cake. Life lesson: there are only so many slivers one can slice before the cake actually disappears.

If this cake were to have icing, there would be numerous inconsistencies in it's form. I feel I perfected the art of sneaking swipes of icing from the cake's sides, however no matter how skilled I was there were always bare spots and a discernible amount of thinning across certain sections. A balding cake, if you will. I asked mum about this last month, whether she noticed my greedy finger marks (how rude). She denied knowing any better. Either she's a forgiving fibber or I'm more stealth than I give myself credit for. I did want to be a spy when I was a child. Perhaps there's merit in that still present aspiration...

Anyway, where was I? Yes, I grew up in a house that favoured our baked goods in cake form. And so naturally whenever I feel the baking urge, I gravitate towards a single circular creation. Only on occasion do I have any desire to make different shaped goods. Although I love the idea of a warm breakfast muffin, they do not sit at the forefront of my mind. So when I do get the desire to form individual muffin mounds, I roll with it. One Sunday afternoon, after quite a rambunctious brunch with friends, I felt this desire. And so I made muffins.

I wanted to steer clear of regular flour, in favour of a brighter bite, something that would sit in our bellies affectionately after our eager morning meal. These muffins did just that, they're deliriously light...they're golden. In

so many


do I find them to be golden. The soft glow on the inside speaks of banana and golden ground almonds, and is very easy on the eye. The outside gives a sharper golden tinge, caramel even. A sweet, golden, crisp crust. And with every delicate crumb, I find myself glowing from the inside out with golden glee.

For those of you who do not love bananas, the flavour is certainly not overwhelming. And if you're so inclined, try replacing the chocolate with cranberries, dried or fresh. Maybe throw some coconut in the mix as well. One more tip, I encourage you to warm these muffins in the microwave if eating the next day - it really helps to bring out the sweetness.

Almond and Oat, Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

Makes 5 medium muffins.

This recipe requires a hand blender to make your oat flour.

1 cup Rolled Oats, plus extra for scattering on top
1 & 3/4 cup Almond Meal
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar, plus extra for scattering on top
2 Eggs
1 very ripe Banana (medium-large sized, ~190g when skin on)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Milk
2-3 tablespoons Dark Chocolate Chips (depending on how chippy you like it)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, convection setting.
2. Pulse the oats in a hand blender until it resembles a flour (don't over-pulse it, some more whole pieces scattered throughout are fine).
3. Into a large bowl add the oat flour, almond meal and salt. Stir. Sift in the baking powder and brown sugar. Stir.
4. Whisk the eggs in a smaller mixing bowl. Add the banana and vanilla extract and mash it all together. Add the milk and stir.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold through. Add the chocolate chips and gently fold once more.
6. Place paper muffin cups (or a little baking paper) in your muffin tray holes (without them these muffins can be hard to remove from the pan), and spray with spray oil. Spoon the mixture into the trays, filling them 3/4 and smoothing the surface.
7. Sprinkle rolled oats and a little brown sugar over the muffins, then pop into the oven.
8. Cook for 15 minutes then rotate the pan and cover with foil (so as to not over-brown the tops). Cook for a further 7 minutes (22 minutes total cooking time). The muffins are cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook them, as they will become very dry.
9. Cool in the muffin tray for 20 minutes before loosening the muffins with a knife and carefully lifting out. If you remove them too early the bottom of the muffins might catch on the bottom of the tray. Serve warm.

Heidi xo