Espresso-chocolate Banana Muffins2 cups whole grain barley flour
2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1-1/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
6 T. softened, unsalted butter
1/4 cup turbinado natural cane sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 lg. omega 3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half (or 1 cup plain yogurt)
1-1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 3 large)
6 squares Ghardelli intense dark chocolate w/ espresso, chopped
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. and line muffin cups with paper liners (original recipe says it makes 12, mine made 20)
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup of walnuts and chopped chocolate in a bowl. Whisk to combine well.
In a separate large bowl or a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and agave, then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, half-and-half or yogurt, and masked bananas. Briefly and gently mix in the dry ingredients; over-mixing will result in tough muffins.
Spoon into the prepared muffin pan (I used a Pampered Chef stoneware pan) and top with the remaining walnuts. Bake until golden, about 25-35 minutes. Mine were a little gooey at 25 minutes, but still very moist after 35. The yogurt might make them a little less soft, but when my sister made her variation of them when I was there, they were still very moist.
The changes I made were the flour, in her recipe she uses white whole-wheat flour,
the chocolate, which she does not put in, but adds 1 T fine espresso powder,
and the sugar, which she uses 3/4 cup natural cane sugar and I substituted in the agave for a lower glycemic load. The recipe calls for yogurt instead of half-and-half, but I didn't have any yogurt, so I used what I had on hand. I probably should have cut it back a bit more.