So far, I’ve told you quite a few stories about my aunt and uncle in the countryside. That was our Italian side of the family. Let me introduce to you our American (well, Italian/American) relatives. Ever since I can remember, they’ve lived out by the sea, just south of Rome, in Anzio. When Marta and I were young (really young), we would often go and spend the day at the beach, eat at our uncle’s restaurant, and play around with our cousins (and their 7 pitbulls!!! – I kid you not.). But over the years, although the distance is not all that much, life seemed to get in the way of visiting each other. So for most of our lives, we’ve had our favorite cool American relatives just a tad too far away.
A few weeks ago, they hopped in their car and paid us a visit. In honor of our American roots (and my mom and her sisters’ crazy love for coffee cake), we decided to bake one. They stayed for a few days, and every night they were here we ate till we dropped, and then just before going to bed, I baked something for the next morning (in our house, desserts won’t last any longer than that!).
One night, I was completely out of resources. I had been baking so much over the past few days that we had just about (but not completely) run out of flower, sugar, and pretty much all the basic baking ingredients. On a mad hunt for something delicious to bake with not too much flour, not too much sugar, and only 1 egg, I noticed we had two bananas left in the fruit bowl (besides being out of baking ingredients, we were pretty much out of everything food related – a trip to the supermarket was definitely in order). And then I noticed the chocolate. Can you guess what I baked?
The muffins turned out incredibly moist, and soft, and stayed that way for days (the only reason I know that is because I had taken some over to a friend and we ate them 3 days later!). Banana is always a great ingredient to use if you don’t like your muffins dry. Also, if you eat them straight out of the oven (maybe let them cool for a few minutes before devouring them), you’ll have a gooey, chocolatey surprise inside. If you let them rest for a few days, the chocolate will go hard and you’ll bite into a deliciously moist muffin, with a little chocolatey bite! For this recipe, we didn’t use chocolate chips. We had an extra large bar of dark chocolate, which we roughly chopped. That way we got way bigger chunks of chocolate in the muffins!!
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (or chunks)
Heat your oven to 190˚C.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas. Add the egg, oil and vanilla, and mix well until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir just until combined (you want to avoid over mixing). Stir in the chocolate.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Try inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffin. If it comes out dry and clean the muffins are perfect. NB: the chocolate will be gooey on the inside so don’t worry about that when testing with your toothpicks.