Now that the weather is turning ever so slightly warmer, I’ve been thinking about summer. It’s still a long way off, but I can still dream about it. Tropical flavors scream summer-time and vacations to me. Looking around in my pantry, I realized I had a big bag of coconut flakes, just begging to be used. I also found a spare can of coconut milk that needed to be used up, so it was clear I was baking something coconut-flavored today! Now, as you know, I like to use a lot of different substitutes in baking. So, mashed banana in the place of an egg in this recipe would be the perfect substitute in an already-tropical inspired muffin! The other thing I like about this recipe, is there aren’t very many ingredients. Not having a slew of items all over my counter for once was pretty nice.
The base of this muffin is simple, and quite similar to the light lemon muffins I made a few weeks ago. Don’t mess with perfection, I say. So, I began by combining gluten-free flour, white sugar, baking soda, and salt. Like I said, simple:
The wet ingredients are where a lot of the tropical flavor is added to this muffin. In a separate bowl from the dry ingredients, I mashed one medium-sized, ripe banana.
Then, I added vegetable oil and yummy unsweetened coconut milk. The coconut milk adds a delicious creamy base without using dairy, and will really help to pump up the flavor. I mixed together the wet ingredients, and between the oil and coconut milk, it didn’t look too appetizing yet – mostly a separated (but eventually tasty) mess:
To really highlight the coconut flavor, I added sweetened coconut flakes. To avoid all of the coconut sinking to the bottom, I mixed my sweetened coconut flakes straight into the dry ingredients, so that they would be well-coated with flour. You can barely see the coconut in the batter below, but trust me, the flavor is in there!
I thoroughly combined the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. This is not a watery batter – it is pretty thick when you are finished stirring everything together. It also looks completely delicious with the banana bits peeking out.
I lined my muffin tins with muffin cup liners and filled each cup about 2/3 full. This completely filled 12 regular-sized muffin cups. To jazz things up a bit, I sprinkled some of my shredded coconut on top. You could also add some crushed up macadamia nuts or crushed dehydrated banana chips on top, as well.
I baked my muffins at 400 degrees, for about 20 minutes. After about 8 minutes, I needed to place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the muffins, to avoid burning my already-nicely-toasted coconut flakes. The coconut topping toasts beautifully, but can turn to over-toasted or burned pretty quickly! They came out gorgeous, in the end, with a strong coconut flavor. Definitely a new favorite of mine!
Gluten-Free Coconut Banana Muffins
• 2 cups of gluten-free flour
• ½ cup of white sugar
• ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 medium banana, well-mashed
• ⅓ cup of vegetable oil
• ¾ cup of sweetened shredded coconut
• extra shredded coconut, or crushed macadamia nuts, or crushed dehydrated fruit, to sprinkle on top
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine gluten-free flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine well-mashed banana, vegetable oil, and unsweetened coconut milk. Add the shredded coconut to the dry ingredients and stir well. Then, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine well. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 muffin cup liners, and add the batter to each cup until 2/3 full per cup. This will make exactly 12 muffins. Add a sprinkle of shredded coconut to the top of each muffin, or other desired topping. If using the shredded coconut, make sure to cover the muffins with aluminum foil about 5-8 minutes into baking, to avoid over-toasting and burning the flakes. Bake muffins in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins on baking rack.