Recipe // Chocolate Tahini Banana Muffins

Part 2 of my journey to like tahini more!

Recently, I have been regularly going to an Indian/Middle Eastern supermarket a few blocks away from my apartment. It is a great, hole-in-the-wall, no-one-speaks-English little store that is jam-packed with ingredients I don’t recognize and a great frozen food section. They also sell tahini by the gallon.

The tahini from this store comes what looks like a large peanut butter jar, and has no label. It is runnier than the other tahini I have tried, so the taste is a little more diluted. I have yet to figure out what consistency tahini is actually supposed to be like.

These muffins turned out exactly how I wanted them to. A slight nuttiness from the tahini, but not overpowering in anyway. They are rich and chocolate-y, but not too sweet because it is banana-based.

I love quick breads because you can just throw everything together. This recipe started off as regular tahini banana muffins, but I felt like adding cocoa powder and I didn’t want to use my butter. The end result were these super-rich, not-too-sweet, nutty chocolate muffins!

Chocolate Tahini Banana Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

3 bananas
1/3 c Greek yogurt
1/3 c tahini, well-stirred
1/3 c oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
sugar, for sprinkling (technically optional, but definitely not optional)*

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and generously spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Combine banana, yogurt, tahini, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs until combined
  3. Add sugars, beat until combined
  4. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, mixing until a few streaks of flour remain. Gently fold in the chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin pans and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

* Since I did this for restaurant downtown I staged for, I’ve started sprinkling sugar on all quick breads at home. It’s SO good – this is what makes the top crunchy and beautiful!

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Exploring Philly // Pizza Brain

Often advertised as a “pizza museum,” Pizza Brain in Fishtown is the proud holder of the Guinness record for “the world’s largest collection of pizza-related items.” I was expected a museum-style format to the back of the restaurant, but really it is just a collection. The walls are covered with antique photos of people holding pizzas, records that feature songs related to pizza (Sesame Street’s “Pizza Box Dance,” among others), and well as pizza advertisements. I was surprised to learn that pizza didn’t come to mainstream America until the 1950s, considering it is a go-to staple today!

$4 seemed like a hefty price for by-the-slice, but once you see the 22-inch slices you will realize it is more than a good deal for a full meal. Their crust is thin and a little crispy – not my usual favorite – but considering the size, it is a good choice.

Overall, another great Fishtown find!

Recipe // PB Banana Muffins

Inspired by The Pancake Princess’ scientific approach to finding the optimal ratio of ingredients in pumpkin bread, I have started compiling a similar excel spreadsheet for banana bread. What is best: oil or butter? Greek yogurt or buttermilk?

I have yet to do the taste-off (I need to organize a group of people willing to eat 10 different banana breads), but it is a definite goal of this semester.

For now, I have these thrown-together, kinda-healthy-but-not-really, peanut butter banana muffins. The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of peanut butter and I had about 1/2 a cup left, so I decided to just throw all the ingredients together without measuring anything.

Quick breads are usually very forgiving as long as you don’t overmix them, and these turned out beautifully. They have 1/2 a cup of flaxseed in replacement of flour which has been my favorite “secret” ingredient in banana bread recently. It adds an extra nuttiness and richness that ordinary flour can’t achieve. Plus, it means you’re allowed to call them “healthy!”

Peanut Butter Bananas
makes 12 muffins

Adapted from myrecipes

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup greek  yogurt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan well.
  2. Mix banana, yogurt, peanut butter, oil, and eggs until well combined. Add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well.
  3. Mix flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl. Add to the wet mixture and be careful not to overmix.
  4. Gently fold in chopped nuts.
  5. Fill muffin tin, and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.