I have used up the last of my ripe bananas, thank goodness. I have so many other ideas hanging out in my brain, clamoring for attention and getting jealous that I’ve been spending so much time with bananas lately. Nonetheless, I’m excited about this recipe because it gave me the perfect opportunity to use the World Market dark chocolate spread my mom gave me for Christmas. While the spread is good on toast and whatnot, I couldn’t wait to find a way to bake with it. And the opportunity finally presented itself with this recipe idea! Of course, you could use any chocolate spread – including Nutella, like the recipe over at Chef in Training that inspired this post – but I like the dark chocolate because it’s not too sweet, so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in the muffin tops.
Alright. About that. I need to come clean: I adapted the above recipe so much that it’s basically my own recipe at this point, which means I have to take full blame for these should-have-been-cookies. They have a very soft, dense-cake texture. The walnuts give a bit of a crunch, the oats add some chewiness, and the butterscotch and chocolate swirls bring in some much-appreciated sweetness. But ultimately, these don’t really taste like cookies. They’re just too soft/squishy/cake-y. Clearly, I haven’t quite mastered the art of recipe development yet! However, someone in my building took a bite and brilliantly suggested, “Call them muffin tops!” Genius, I tell you. If you eat these as cookies, you’ll wonder at the slightly strange texture. If you eat these as muffin tops, your brain won’t be confused and you’ll like every bit. So, enjoy these muffin tops! This recipe makes about 4 dozen muffin tops; I had to make a big recipe, because I needed to use up 3 ripe bananas.
DARK CHOCOLATE BANANA OATMEAL MUFFIN TOPS (WITH WALNUTS AND BUTTERSCOTCH)
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ¾ cup quick-cooking oats
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup dark chocolate spread (World Market has a great one!)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper (what I did) or greasing with baking spray.
2. In a bowl, whisk/stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and baking soda, and salt. “Cut in” the shortening (see photos below; I used two knifes and keep cutting the shortening, coating it with the mixture, cutting again, coating, etc. until you have a bunch of pea-sized clumps and there’s no “dry” powder left).
3. Using an electric hand mixer, add the eggs, vanilla, and bananas and beat until well mixed.
4. Stir in the oats, walnuts, and butterscotch chips.
5. Pour the chocolate over the dough and gently swirl it into the dough (mix carefully by folding the dough and chocolate together, or use a knife to make grooves for the chocolate – the key is to not mix it together all the way, so you still have some ribbons of color that make it look pretty).
6. Use a tablespoon to drop heaping scoops of batter on prepared cookie sheets. Leave at least 1.5-inches between drops.
7. Bake for ~12 minutes, until the muffin tops are set and spring back from your touch. Immediately remove from tray when done cooking and transfer to cooling racks.
8. Pour yourself a glass of milk and sample one fresh from the oven. You deserve it!