EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

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**Please note that memo2munch caters toward a vegetarian/vegan diet and while food memories of all kinds are welcomed, recipes shared on the site may be adjusted.**

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

I like to call the above photo, “The Evolution of Banana Bread.”

This is a natural progression, right? Once bananas get ripe enough they just morph into banana bread? And the chocolate chips just appear at some point, and we’re just like “Oh, youuuu,” all exasperated but really we don’t mind one bit.

Hey, stranger things have happened. (Like sweet potato cupcakes?!)

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Growing up, my momma would make banana bread for us fairly often. Whenever I saw a few forgotten bananas resting on the counter, speckled with brown, I would internally fist-pump because I knew banana bread was in my near future. (Still happens, honestly. Except now when I’m at school I have to make it.)

The days leading up to the “Momma Cake,” as we called it, bake day seemed to drag on. We like to let the bananas get reallllly ripe and black. That’s when they’re the sweetest and add the most flavor to baked goods. So every day after school I would peer over the counter and check on the ripeness of the bananas to see if they were ready yet, like a very small, very hungry serious scientist tracking the progress of an experiment.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Then, when the bananas were FINALLY LIKE UGH COME ON ready, my mom would let my sister or me mash them with a fork while she measured out the other ingredients.

Ok quick note: banana mashing is so fun. Can I say cathartic? It’s cathartic. None of that blender or food processor stuff, plz. Use a fork.

There’s another “Evolution of Banana Bread” in this story, and that’s the shape the finished product would take. In my earliest memories of my mom’s banana bread, she always made it in a square pan. And I was the brat that would only eat middle pieces because children hate edges on anything??! Pizza crust—->no. Corner brownies—->not a chance. I would like to say, though, that I never took the edges off my Smucker’s Uncrustables. Never.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Anyway, the original recipe my mom used called for the bread to be baked in a loaf pan. She switched to the square pan after having issues getting the bread to bake through. But then there was the problem of the sunken middle…

As in, the bread would be a baked all the way, but the middle would sink into a kind of banana bread dome once it cooled. But Mom persevered and found a solution! *clapclapclap*

Now she makes the recipe in a Bundt pan. The sunken middle issue is taken entirely out of the equation, and the cake cooks through fine because the batter is more spread out. Innovation!

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Banana bread will always make me think of “Momma Cake,” but for the recipe today I made a few tweaks. We’ve got cute banana muffins that are vegan and very forgiving. You can’t mess them up. They’re also sprinkled with coconut, which Momma never did because she hates coconut. But I like it, soooo.

The recipe is based on one my friend and I found the other day when it was raining and we wanted dessert and she happened to have three very ripe bananas so what choice did we have? She is also responsible for the coconut topping idea. Thank you, Esther <3

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

We made our version with a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips, which was i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. So if you aren’t vegan, I would highly suggest that.

Hope you enjoy the muffins! Don’t forget to tell me about your food memories!!! memo2molly@gmail.com

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins
(makes about 12 muffins)

Ingredients

3 very ripe, medium bananas
1/3 cup Earth Balance or any margarine, melted (can sub butter if not vegan)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ – 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Coconut flakes for sprinkling (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C and grease a muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork until smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the melted Earth Balance.

Add the sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix completely. Gently stir in the flour until no large lumps remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan, filling each well ¾ full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack briefly before enjoying. Muffins are great days after, especially heated for 12 seconds in the microwave.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies

Sometimes I wonder if my priorities are in the wrong place. Let me give you an example.

The other day I purchased an entire package of mini candy canes so I could crush two and sprinkle them on top of these cookies. Yet, I’ve settled for sandwich bags without zip tops—you know, the ones that just fold over the top and do NOTHING to keep things fresh—because I was at the c-store and could use meal points so, “I’ll just deal with it.”

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies | memo2munch

What does that mean, do you think? I’m trying not to look too much into it. It’s too late in the semester to reevaluate my life decisions.

Besides, look how glamorous these cookies are. Clearly it was all worth it.

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies | memo2munch

(Side note, can cookies be glamorous? I don’t think I’ve even described a person as glamorous before. I don’t think I’ve even used the word glamorous before. Oh no, I take that back. Definitely belted some Fergie back in 2007.)

One of my favorite places in Bloomington, BluBoy Café and Cakery, has some holiday drinks right now, one being peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint marshmallows. I know, it sounds divine. But when you’re me, and you have a carb problem love, you start to think things like, “This is a great idea for a cookie.”

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies | memo2munch

So, I went with it. Hot cocoa in cookie form, right down to the peppermint marshmallows, which in this case just means marshmallow fluff and peppermint extract. In the middle of each cookie. Because how satisfying is it to break open a cookie and find GOOEY MARSHMALLOW inside??

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies | memo2munch

Pro tip: marshmallow fluff can be obnoxious. It sticks to the spoon and your fingers and somehow finds a way onto your face even though you swear you never touched your face. Avoid frustration; run your spoon under hot water before scooping the fluff. (New motto)

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies | memo2munch

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies
(Adapted from Top with Cinnamon)

Ingredients
½ c. (110g) butter – vegan or dairy
1.5 c. (350g) brown sugar
½ c. (55g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking powder
2 c. (260g) all-purpose flour
½ c. (100g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Approx. half of a 7 oz container of marshmallow fluff (99g)
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
Crushed candy cane, for sprinkling (optional)
Sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Stir in the brown sugar eggs (let the butter cool briefly if it is very hot before adding the eggs), and cocoa powder. Add the salt, baking powder, and flour and stir until no clumps of flour remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, microwave the marshmallow fluff for 10-15 seconds. TIP: dip spoon in hot water before working with fluff to make it easier to deal with. Stir in the peppermint extract and set aside.

Roll 1 heaped tbsp. of dough into 14-15 balls and place on baking sheet, saving the leftover dough to top the cookies later. Using your fingers, make a large indentation in the center of each ball. Fill the indentations with small blobs of the marshmallow fluff. Top with a flattened tablespoon of dough and seal the edges.

Sprinkle with candy cane and/or sea salt if desired and bake for 8-10 minutes.