If you’re looking for a fun, new muffin recipe to try, one that has unique ingredients and also offers health benefits, then look no further. Mocha Chocolate Coconut Banana Muffins (Mo Cho Co Ba for short) are the answer to your next baking adventure.
The fun in making these muffins is in the ingredients, and in the excitement over when they are finally pulled from the oven and enjoyed with family in front of a warm, toasty fire on a cool fall evening.
First, let’s take a quick look at the top ingredients that make these muffins so tasty, and what makes them healthy.
To be honest, the banana is often taken for granted. We can buy them year-round, and usually, they are so inexpensive; we don’t give them much thought. But bananas are loaded with healthy benefits for our bodies. Here are a few of those:
- Aids Digestion. A medium-sized banana has 3.1 grams of fiber, which aids our digestive health.
- Reduces Damage of Free Radicals. Bananas contain antioxidants, including catechins and dopamine, which help reduce damage caused by free radicals.
- Supports the Heart. Bananas support the heart by providing potassium (which lowers blood pressure) and magnesium.
- Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Levels.
- Aids in Kidney Health.
- Provides Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
And to top it off, bananas taste good, even by themselves. So, imagine what they can do in a recipe!
Coconut is a healthy treat. For this recipe, we will be using both coconut oil and shredded coconut, so there will be a lot of health benefits to be had, not to mention added flavor.
Coconut has been heralded as a superfood. It contains healthy fatty acids, which have a plethora of health benefits. These include:
- Raises our good (HDL) cholesterol, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Provides Antimicrobial effects, killing off viruses, bacteria, and fungi in the body.
- Aids in weight loss, by pushing the body to burn fat and reducing appetite. It also has been found to burn abdominal fat specifically, which is often linked to chronic diseases.
Dark chocolate is well known for its healthy properties, but for this recipe, we will be using cocoa powder. So, let’s talk about that specifically.
Where does Cocoa powder come from exactly? It all starts with cacao beans. Once picked and fermented, cacao beans are dried, roasted, and ground down into a paste. From this paste, the cocoa butter is then extracted, leaving behind the dry cocoa powder.
Health benefits of cocoa powder include:
- Low calorie, high fiber content
- Contains important minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese).
- Includes plant-based flavonoids (catechin and epicatechin), which assist in preventing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and lowering blood pressure.
- Also includes phytonutrients, which may protect against such chronic diseases as diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
- May also act as an antidepressant.
Many of us have heard about Caffe Mochas, which are the yummy beverages made of a combination of espresso coffee, chocolate, and steamed milk. But mocha alone is a type of high-quality coffee which comes from, what else, a special coffee bean.
Overall, coffee contains several health benefits, including:
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Protects the liver
- Lowers risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Disease
For this particular recipe, we will be adding espresso powder. This is a dark, intense, and highly concentrated instant coffee. Actually, it’s more of a crystal than a powder.
To make this crystal-like powder, the espresso beans are brewed. The next step is to grind them, followed by drying them. These used grounds are then crushed even more until they are a fine powder.
In addition to the benefits above, espresso powder has been shown to increase attention span and has been found to reduce anxiety. When combined with chocolate, it may also help to strengthen memory.
Now that we know the health benefits of the four main ingredients, it’s time to move on to the delicious recipe itself.
Mocha Chocolate Coconut Banana (Mo Cho Co Ba) Muffins Recipe
Yield: 16 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Medium
- 3 bananas (ripe), mashed
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder (store-bought or homemade; see recipe below)
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shredded coconut (plus extra to top muffins, optional)
- 1 cup semi-sweet cholate chips (plus extra to top muffins, optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line muffin pan with paper muffin liners, or spray with cooking spray (preferably coconut oil).
- In a large bowl, mix together mashed bananas, coconut oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, and espresso powder.
- In a second bowl, combine your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
- Slowly add flour mixture to banana and coconut oil mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Add in shredded coconut and chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into muffin pan, distributing evenly.
- Add additional shredded coconut and chocolate chips to top of each muffin, if desired.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove and let cool. Move to a tightly sealed container.
Make Your Own Espresso Powder
If you can’t find espresso powder, you can easily make your own. You will need leftover espresso grounds, a coffee grinder, and your oven. Make more than you’ll need for this recipe, so you have some available for the next time.
- Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature.
- Spread used espresso grounds out flat on a baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in your oven and leave for 1-2 hours, or until the grounds become dry and somewhat crunchy.
- Pour dried grounds into your coffee grinder, and grind to a fine powder.
- Store the powder in an airtight container.
Taking the time to prepare these muffins will be well worth it in the end. Tasty and healthy, keep this recipe on hand and make them often.