better-for-you double chocolate banana muffins, a “smitten kitchen” makeover

double chocolate banana muffins for kids, foodlets (680)
THERE ARE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE WHO LOVE MUFFINS. And we’ve made a lot of them. Banana muffins with millet, banana oat, chocolate zucchini and more. But none, not a single mini muffin, bug-shaped muffin or big ol’ muffin in the bunch compares to these. I have a toddler who now cries at the sight of them–if he’s not clutching one in his doughy hand–to prove it. (Two were lost during the 5-minute photo shoot, RIP.)

These muffins came by way of Smitten Kitchen, one of the dreamiest food blogs around. When I saw the post about that decadent double chocolate banana bread on Facebook, I had to recreate it here. Except I lost some sugar, added chia seeds, maple syrup and more.

Like the rest of our recipe makeovers, my aim is usually twofold: 1. remove the sugar and 2. stuff in as much of the good stuff as I can get away with. Butter I’m not so worried about, especially when it’s nice sweet cream butter and even better when it’s organic. The trick to winnowing out sugar though, is adding other flavors. So we doubled the vanilla and added an extra banana, maple syrup plus the cinnamon labeled “optional” in the original recipe. Then came the chia seeds and whole oats.

The munchkins helped, each one taking turns dumping in flour, brown sugar and vanilla. And to his delight, even George got to stir yesterday. It’s a one-bowl recipe that takes 13 minutes to bake so if you don’t have your small chefs in the kitchen when you make these, consider that it’s just about the time it takes to watch one episode of Backyardigans. Coincidence?

Better-For-You Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teas cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease mini muffin pan or use liners (I use softened butter on a paper towel).

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Melt butter and pour over the top of bananas (dairy has a magical quality to pick up flavors and better distribute through the rest of the batter, so do this first). Stir. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and maple syrup and combine well.

Set a metal sifter over the top of your mixing bowl and pour in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Sift and remove sifter. Add chia seeds, whole oats and chocolate chips. Stir until everything is JUST combined.

Fill muffin cups to the top and bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool before removing. Store in refrigerator or inside a large zip-top bag in the freezer.



  1. charityc says

    Hi everyone. Rachel wrote to me by email and asked a question that I thought you may have too. With her permission, I’m posting it here:

    The double chocolate banana muffin recipe looks great. If I want to use regular size muffin tins instead of mini muffin tins, do I need to adjust the cooking time and/or temperature? Also, if I omit the chia seeds, do I need to replace with anything or can I just leave it out? I’m thinking maybe almond meal or wheat germ as a replacement if that would be necessary.


    • charityc says

      Hi Rachel!

      You’d just need to cook the muffins for longer with a regular muffin tin pan. Probably closer to 17 or 18 minutes, even up to 20. They’re done when you can press your finger on the tops and they spring right back.

      And you don’t need to replace the chia seeds but you certainly could. Almond meal would be delicious. Wheat germ has more flavor but you could still probably get away with it. I like chia seeds because the don’t really have a flavor, just tons of Omega 3s. :)

      Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

      • Rachel says

        I made these during the week and my 7 year old boy couldn’t get enough of them. My newly minted 5 year old girl did not like them because she recently decided that she does not like bananas (or blueberries for that matter) in muffins. It’s her loss! My husband and I both liked them a lot as well. I did not end up using chia, wheat germ or almond meal, but I may try wheat germ next time. I’m also wondering if there is anything I could add to make them a bit moister.

  2. Dani says

    I am new to chia seeds and I have both seeds and ground – which would be better in this recipe? I’m thinking the ground but I’m not sure!!

    • charityc says

      Either one would be great, Dani. You probably won’t taste or notice the ground chia seeds, while whole seeds taste kind of like poppy seeds. There’s a very small crunch. Let us know which you try and how it all turns out? And in the meantime, thanks for coming to Foodlets!

      • Dani says

        I used the ground and the muffins turned out well! Just waiting for them to cool enough to let my kids try them. Thanks for the recipe!


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