Flavors of the tropics – coconut, pineapple and banana – blend together in this muffin. Perfect with a cup of tea or hot chocolate for breakfast, or as a relaxing afternoon treat when you come home from holiday shopping, these little muffins bring a luxurious sensation to a chilly December day. After the holidays, when days become darker and winter’s frozen temperatures bring on fantasies of escaping to a destination with palm trees and warm, sandy beaches, these muffins may make it seem you’re already there. Sweetened only with the tropical fruits and dates, they’re also a healthy treat.
While almond flour whispers quietly in the background, allowing other flavors to be dominant, hazelnut flour steps to the forefront and shouts. This is a flour that wants to make a bold statement so other ingredients have to be carefully chosen to compliment it.
I knew chocolate would work with hazelnuts (think Nutella) but wanted a challenge, something different, so I tested recipes using various fruits and spices. What I discovered was that hazelnut flour absolutely adores fruit but doesn’t work well with spices. I’m a huge fan of cinnamon and wanted to make something with a sweet, spicy flavor but the flavors didn’t pair well. The banana in the mix brings a hint of the tropics but also gives the illusion of another flour in the muffins – the hazelnut flour without it was too dense.
These mini muffins can, of course, be made as regular size muffins, but in this compact size each bite has a generous portion of the top’s toasted coconut. I don’t have a muffin top pan, but that should also work quite well. I offer the weight of the banana and dates because bananas come in many sizes and dates are sticky and difficult to measure. Weighing isn’t necessary, though.
Tropical Escape Mini Muffins
- 1-½ cups Hazelnut Meal/Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 3 Eggs
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
- 1 medium Banana, well mashed (approx. 105 grams)
- 1/3 cup + 3 Tbsp Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 8 oz. can Crushed Pineapple, drained
- ½ cup Dates, chopped and packed in cup (approx. 90 grams)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin pan with muffin wrappers.
Mix flour, baking soda and sea salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, banana and coconut oil several minutes, until frothy. Press the remaining liquid out of the pineapple (you want the flavor not the liquid) then add it and 1/3 cup coconut to the liquids.
Press the remaining liquid out of the pineapple (you want the flavor not the liquid) then add it and 1/3 cup coconut to the liquids. If using a stand mixer, mix to combine using it. If using a hand mixer, switch to a spoon to stir here and in Step 5.
Chop the dates finely so that their sweetness will be evenly spread through the muffins, then add them to the dry mixture. Using clean hands, break up the dates and mix them thoroughly with the flour. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix just to combine.
Fill mini muffin cups about ¾ full and sprinkle the remaining three tablespoons of coconut over the tops. Bake about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 32 mini muffins.
Shannon Brown of Enjoying Gluten-Free Life wants to help others enjoy their gluten-free life. Since she limited the refined sugar she’s eating, she’s been creating recipes that are fruit sweetened but still delicious. A writer by profession, she loves research and interviews so she brings you not only recipes she’s created but interviews with authors, companies such as Bob’s Red Mill and other bloggers.