Carrots, bananas and chocolate come together to form the muffin dream team in this unusual but delicious recipe. Plus, making them gluten-free means everyone can enjoy a bite

Where banana is naturally sweet and moist, its strong flavour can sometimes dominate a recipe; queue carrots. With their subtle flavour, they work to balance out the banana and add some sweetness of their own. Carrots also add a pop of colour and texture to the classic banana chocolate chip muffin.

I found the original recipe here and really liked that they used canola oil instead of butter, but then decided to modify it a bit to suit my cravings.

First off, I decided to make muffins instead of bread because muffins bake more quickly and are easier to take on the go – just pop 'em out of the tray and head out the door.

I then decided to make them gluten-free. Although I’m not celiac, gluten doesn’t always agree with me, and seeing that many people are looking to cut out gluten without missing out on their favourite baked goods, I wanted to demonstrate that almost any recipe can be made allergy friendly.

The key is to use a blend of alternative flours that can be used cup-for-cup in the place of regular wheat flour. While you can concoct this yourself, and many gluten-free recipes offer an overwhelming list of ingredients and measurements for you to try, I find  it easiest to go with a pre-made mixture. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour has worked the best for me.

This wheat alternative has taken the headache out of baking, and time after time yields better results than when I try blending something myself.

While this mix can be used just like regular flour, you will need to add a thickening agent like xantham gum or guar gum (available in any health food store) to achieve the desired consistency. Xantham is corn-based while Guar is bean-based, but otherwise there is little difference between the two and whichever you can find will get the job done.

My last modification was to add a ½ cup of chocolate chips (or more depending on your sweet tooth) because I love chocolate.

I also cut out the pecans, but that’s not to say that they won't taste good, I just didn’t have any kicking around my pantry. Any nut you like will add an extra crunch and earthy flavour to contrast the sweetness of these muffins.

Prep time: 10 min. Bake: 25 – 30 mins. Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1 tsp. guar gum (or xantham gum)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 medium bananas)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup grated carrots (1 large carrot)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (or nuts of your choice) (or 1/3 cup of each!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (180 Celsius).
  2. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, guar gum (or xantham gum), sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together bananas, eggs and canola oil. Then combine the wet mixture with the dry and stir until moistened.
  5. Finally, fold in carrots and chocolate chips (or nuts).
  6. Fill muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool further.

Muffins taste best when eaten within the first few days of having made them, but can be stored in the fridge to last longer and even frozen for future cravings. 

If frozen, they make great work snacks – just toss one your purse and by the time that mid-day snack attack rolls around, it’ll be defrosted and ready to eat.

Super simple and quick to make, these muffins are packed with banana chocolate veggie goodness, making them perfect for breakfast on the go, snacking or dessert.