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Monday, May 30, 2005

Tropical Muffins Recipe

Have you discovered cocoa nibs? If you've been on the Shafffen Berger chocolate factory tour then you probably tried them and maybe even purchased some. But if you're like me, you probably haven't had many good ideas of what to do with them.

Cocoa nibs are the tiny bits of roasted cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate. They are ground into a paste with sugar to make chocolate bars and confections. But when in the nib form they are unsweetened, crunchy, nutty and chocolate-y without being too bitter. The are great in recipes that call for nuts. So far I have only used them in some biscotti I made a while back.

Coming home from Hawaii I thought about making some recipes using the kinds of tropical flavors that I enjoyed in baked goods over there, especially bananas and coconut. But then it occurred to me to use vanilla and coco nibs which are grown in the tropics too.

These muffins are deliciously tropical and at the same time fairly healthy. Pureeing the bananas makes the muffins moist without using too much fat. I like adding a pinch of nutmeg, which you won't really be able to identify in the final muffin, but I think enhances the flavor.

Note: you can buy cocoa nibs online if you can't find them in a gourmet store near you. You could also substitute chopped nuts or leave them out altogether.

Tropical Muffins
makes 10 muffins


1 cup flour
1/2 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg
2 Tablespoon shredded coconut
2 Tablespoon cocoa nibs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 banana, cut up

1 Tablespoon shredded coconut for sprinkling on top of muffins


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. Lightly coat muffin pan with cooking spray or use liners (my preference). In a blender combine milk, egg, banana, vanilla and oil. Blend until smooth. Combine wet and dry ingredients, including the nibs and coconut, and stir just until moistened. Fill muffin pans until almost full and sprinkle tops with additional coconut. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins on a rack.