My twin boys, who are in the 4th grade and in different schools, had Valentine’s Day parties in class yesterday. As you know, that means lots of cookies, crackers, and whatever else is filled with gluten and dairy, so to prevent food infractions, and keep my boys happy, we have noted in their IEP’s (individualized education plan) to keep these foods localized in one area of the classroom for parties, which helps a great deal with any accidental reaching-to-grab-something incidents.
The teachers are wonderful about giving me notice so I can bake something to send for the party if I cannot bring it myself. Years ago in pre-school, the teacher kept cupcakes and slices of cake in their freezer for them to have at a last minute class birthday party … it felt like there was one every week at the time. Things like candy and lollipops are usually safe but most likely have high fructose corn syrup and food coloring, two things we try to avoid.
It’s a great allergen-free system we have going, and luckily with no past infractions. It could be because it’s a sweet they really, really love so don’t feel like they’re missing anything from the “unsafe” table. They do love chocolate chips and raspberries, and so raspberry chocolate chip muffins it is.
And a heaping scoop of crumb and berries on top. This is not the most Valentine’s Day themed sweet out there but given how they taste, they will eat them up. I had one, trust me, your heart (and taste buds) will go pitter-patter – and they’re actually a good-for-you kind of muffin. Shhh.
But, if you want more decadence, more richness, and not some kid-friendly treat like a raspberry muffins you might like last year’s peanut butter chocolate tart with maldon sea salt – just featured here for Fat Tuesday (see desserts) or no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie, lemon raspberry bars, or more like breakfast with simple stack of chocolate pancakes for breakfast, with champagne of course.
I did attempt to give it a bit more of the holiday touch by gently pressing fresh raspberries on top to form a heart shape. Well, that didn’t work. They rose in the oven and the raspberries spread away from each other.
Duh, of course they would. They’re muffins. They rise! Somehow that little fact went right over my head as I was preparing them. No heart shaped raspberries to top these muffins but nobody seemed to notice (could it be because I’m in a house full of boys? :)).
Before all that, my baking plan did take a detour. I was going to make heart-shaped oatmeal raisin cookies, but I spent more time than I should have looking for my heart cookie cutter. Ugh, those seasonal decoration tools are never where I last put them. I did end up making oatmeal raisin cookies since I already defrosted the dough – not in the shape of a heart, but full of love.
I know, I’m such a mushy Mom.
Anyway … so I sent these cute little things for my cute little guys to enjoy at the party, with some extra for the teachers, and aides who work with my boys. They have different personalities and nuances yet are identical twins! And love (and hate) the same foods pretty much. A muffin with berries and chocolate chips is a hit with both boys (actually all my boys – teenager, college grad and hubby included).
I made these egg free for my oldest son to enjoy as well (he’s the one with the allergy to egg) and they came out super moist (from the banana and raspberries) yet still maintained a light crumb. In my first attempt of this recipe I used xanthan gum and it turned out sticky and gummy. Without it we got a different muffin. A great tasting muffin that tastes like a muffin. With a crumble on top that is quite messy, as it should be. Messy is good.
For us, Valentine’s Day is for the kids, but it’s beginning to feel like they are not into the fuss of it anymore as they are all getting older (and all boys). But I can’t resist doing a little something, so I hope a sweet treat from Mom on Valentine’s Day doesn’t get old too soon.
So … my muffins didn’t get the heart-shaped raspberries on top, nor did I manage to find my heart-shaped cookie cutter for my cookies, but I did get lots of kisses and hugs in exchange for the muffins (and cookies) even before the big Hallmark day and that is better than any big box of chocolate!
Hope your Valentine’s Day (and every day) is filled with hugs and kisses and some good food!
Make 20 standard sized muffins
For the muffin:
6 tablespoons non dairy buttery spread, such as Earth Balance, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 1/4 oz) organic brown rice flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz) organic sweet white rice flour
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz) tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or pure extract (I use Nielsen Massey)
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1 banana, very ripe
3/4 heaping cup plain coconut yogurt (I use So Delicious)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 heaping cup fresh raspberries PLUS 36 raspberries (for topping)
1/2 cup mega chocolate chunk chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
For the crumb:
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coarse sugar, raw or turbinado
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons non dairy buttery spread, chilled
For the crumb:
Note: I like to prepare the crumb beforehand and keep it chilled while I prepare the muffin batter. Also, this amount will make extra. Cutting the amount in half does not yield enough so I make extra and use it for another muffin or loaf recipe.
Mix the dry ingredients with the buttery spread by hand until the mixture is pea-sized. There will be some large pieces, which is fine and won’t affect the crumb topping. Chill the crumb until ready to use. Can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.
For the muffin:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Line cupcake pans with liners. Combine flours, set aside. Mash banana, and add baking powder and baking soda, set aside. Combine coconut yogurt and apple cider vinegar, set aside.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream buttery spread and sugar until creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Add bananas, then coconut yogurt, mix until just combined. Add vanilla, then flour blend, mix until just combined. By hand, fold in the chocolate chunks using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Then gently fold in 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries.
Note: If you do not have a stand mixer, use a hand held mixer to cream the buttery spread and sugar, then mix the remaining ingredients with a rubber spatula or spoon.
Using a large ice cream scooper, scoop batter into each cupcake liner filling it 3/4 full. Add a large pinch, or two to each muffin then press three raspberries on top. Bake 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool about 20 minutes before serving.
Here’s the visual …
See how the berries spread? But they still looked adorable and more importantly, tasted super scrumptious and everyone loved it.
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