Almond Butter Stuffed Banana Muffins


While working on the post for preserving nuts (see here), I made a lot of chocolate almond butter. I mean, really, a LOT. So I started looking for creative ways to use some of it in recipes (stuffed pancakes, anyone?). Earlier in the summer, we posted a recipe for Whole Wheat Linzer Muffins (almond muffins stuffed with raspberry jam) and that got me thinking–would using almond butter as stuffing work? Turns out, the answer is a delicious YES!

These muffins are satisfying and filling. I used a regular banana muffin recipe and filled the muffin cups with a tablespoon of batter. I topped that bit of batter with a small ball of chocolate almond butter, then filled the muffin cups the rest of the way. Very easy and, if you have a small helper with you, they could make the little balls of almond butter for you and get some real world application for their budding play dough skills!

Almond Butter Stuffed Banana Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
  • 3/4 cup organic coconut sugar (or organic cane sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 large farm egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the cups of a muffin pan with paper liners or oil. Set aside.
  3. Make 12-1″ balls from the almond butter and set aside.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well.
  5. In a larger bowl, wisk together the bananas, sugar, egg and butter. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the dry ingredients and mix just until all the flour is moistened.
  6. Drop a tablespoon or so of batter into each muffin cup. Place one ball of almond butter into each muffin cup.
  7. Fill the cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes. Check for doneness using a toothpick. Tops should be browned and the toothpick should come out clean.
  8. Let cool in muffin cups for 10 minutes. Remove muffins to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  9. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen in individual freezer bags for up to 6 months.

Chocolate Cookie Bowl Part 2–Ghiradelli Whopper


The State of North Carolina says these cookies are tops. We think they are pretty awesome, too. I won my first blue ribbon at the State Fair with these cookies and they are a long-time favorite. I made these cookies to thank the maternity nurses who helped me welcome Ellie into the world. They are cookies for special people. Made of dark chocolate, coffee and just enough flour to hold them together, these are definitely grown up cookies. They are also huge, so one cookie wrapped in a nice package makes a terrific “thank you” gift for a teacher, a friend or someone special (like your Valentine!). The original recipe comes from a terrific cookie book, Maida Heatter’s Cookies.

We had these cookies pitted against our Baltimore Berger cookies in our Super Bowl chocolate smack down. While Baltimore won the game, these cookies, made with San Francisco chocolate, won dessert. For the Super Bowl, we left them unadorned, but we have served them with peppermint ice cream (amazing) and with salted caramel ice cream (amazing through the roof). Hope you enjoy! And don’t forget that chocolate is an antioxidant 🙂

Here are some tips for these cookies.

  • Use your best chocolate here. For some cookies, it won’t matter, but it will here.
  • Same goes for your coffee. I use powdered Greek or Turkish coffee when I have it. Definitely use powdered coffee–NOT instant.
  • Toast your nuts. You heard me. Don’t skimp on this step. The flavor is worth it.
  • These cookies are huge. The recipe makes 10 cookies, but you can feed quite a few people with one batch.
  • These cookies are expensive, but they rock out a bake sale, especially if parents are buying. I package them individually and can usually get $2.00 per cookie. Once people buy one, they will be back for more.

Ghiradelli Whoppers (makes 10 very large cookies)

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces Ghiradelli unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 ounces Ghiradelli dark chocolate
  • 4 ounces Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
  • 2 farm eggs
  • 3/4 cup organic, unbleached sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 2 tsp. powdered Turkish coffee (Starbucks also makes a powdered coffee)
  • 2 cups chopped, toasted North Carolina pecans
  • 1 cup Ghiradelli chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a glass, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, unsweet chocolate, dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate in 1 minute increments. Stir after each just until the chocolate is smooth. Do NOT overheat or your chocolate will seize. I typically only need 2 minutes and I stir the chocolate mixture until it is all melted. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer, blend the eggs, sugar, coffee and vanilla at high speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the chocolate to the egg mixture.
  6. Gradually add the flour to the mixer bowl. Remove bowl from the mixer.
  7. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.
  8. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to measure out the cookies. Drop the large dollops of dough onto the baking sheets, fitting 5 cookies per sheet. Leave approximately 2-3 inches between cookies.
  9. Arrange baking racks in your oven so they divide the oven into thirds. Place both racks in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes, then switch the racks. Bake for 8 minutes more.
  10. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool 5 minutes on the sheets. Use a large spatula to move the cookies from the sheets to cooling racks. If cookies are not firm enough to move them, let them cool a bit longer.
  11. Let them cool completely on the cooling racks (like THAT is possible). Serve slightly warm.

These cookies will keep in an air tight container for 3-4 days, but they are best within 48 hours of baking.

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