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Java Monkey Muffins

One day last month I saw a post at Little Red Bike Café that began with a photo and the following description:

Vegan Monkey Muffins
banana bread muffin with oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and espresso glaze

It was followed by a number of other items on their Saturday menu but it was those muffins I couldn’t stop thinking about. Funny, because I’m not that crazy about banana bread and there used to be nothing about coconut that appealed to me.

Ever since I was a girl I have avoided sweetened flaked coconut. Something about it just bothered me. Maybe it was the artificial tasting sweetness. Maybe it was the stringy texture. Whatever it was, though I couldn’t actually tell you what coconut tasted like, I felt safe in the knowledge that I didn’t like it.

But then I discovered that there can be something wonderfully adventurous about eating the creamy flesh of a coconut and enjoying the flavor of its milk. It has come to have some interesting associations for my family.

This year I also discovered unsweetened shredded coconut. It has a finer texture than the sweetened flaked coconut I grew up avoiding in cookies, on cakes and on southern fruit salads. Best of all the flavor is fantastic! I could just eat it by the handful. Tropical, exotic and nutty, it actually tastes like fresh coconut.

While I still don’t like the sweet stringiness of sweetened flaked coconut I have discovered that I do like the flavor, and even the texture, of almost every other natural coconut product I have tried. So when I read the description of Vegan Monkey Muffins my mind began to play with the flavor combination in a scrumptious way. I began to envision one of my favorite muffin recipes, made with coconut milk instead of buttermilk, augmented with nutritious tropical fruit and fragrant ginger then punctuated with a jolt of chocolate and espresso. I liked the idea of creamy coconut and soft banana contrasting the texture of old fashioned oats, nuggets of bittersweet chocolate and nutty bits of shredded coconut. The recipe I ended up with is a study in happy contrasts that will brighten the start of any day!

Java Monkey Muffins

1 cup old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 very ripe bananas, smashed
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 – 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons sugar (use vanilla sugar if you have it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Mix oats and coconut milk in a medium bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Add egg whites, butter, bananas, ginger and vanilla, mixing until well blended.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Stir dry ingredients into the banana mixture, just until moistened.

Gently fold in chocolate chips and coconut.

Fill muffin cups nearly full.

Sprinkle a bit of coconut over the tops.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool muffins in tins on a wire rack. After 5 minutes remove muffins from pan.

When cool, drizzle with Espresso Glaze.

Serve and Enjoy!

Yield: 12 muffins

Espresso Glaze

1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 ½ Tablespoons hot water
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water. Add ¼ teaspoon vanilla and mix gently.

In a small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon of the espresso mixture into the confectioners’ sugar. Add more of the espresso mixture, one teaspoon at a time, until it is a nice consistency for a glaze.

When thoroughly mixed drizzle from a spoon over cooled muffins, or put the glaze in a quart sized ziplock bag, seal the bag, snip of ¼ inch of a lower corner, and squeeze the glaze in a random pattern over the muffins.

Serve and enjoy!


Ricki said...

OMG do those ever sound (and look!) amazing. Lucky for us you passed that cafe! I am saving this recipe. :)

pam said...

I agree with Ricki, those look and sound amazing! The glaze really just puts it over the top!

Donna-FFW said...

These sound so over the top delicious. Love them Love!! I would so have 2 for breakfast..

Debbie said...

They look delicious....I think coconut adds a nice flavor to cakes and muffins!

grace said...

lisa, these are FANTASTIC! i actually do love the sweetened coconut, but i much prefer it toasted to balance out some of that sweetness. back to my point--i love everything about these, from the coconut milk to the amazing glaze.

Ivy said...

What an amazing combo!
If I want to impress, I will make these. :)

MaryBeth said...

OMG...these sound fantastic.Please come by my blog and enter my new cookbook giveaway!

Bunny said...

These look absolutely fantastic!! Boy am I glad you tried this recipe so we could have it!! LOL!!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I'm so glad you posted this recipe. I've always been afraid that the coconut milk would be too heavy for muffins. Good to know there is no problem.

Elyse said...

Wow! Not only are these muffins completely gorgeous, but the flavors just sound out of this world, too. I used to have the same problems with the sweetened flaked coconut, although I just love the unsweetened stuff!

Robin Sue said...

This is a fantastic muffin with so many great flavors going on. The glaze has to be the best though, drinkable even! I have spotted shaved coconut in our local Indian market which are such nice big pieces which look like alot of fun to try in something.

Stef said...

Those look so tasty! The combination of flavors sounds just perfect! My husband never liked shredded coconut either, but he really loved it when I made myself. You should definitely try the homemade version sometime. It's so much better.

Kim said...

Oh boy, did I miss something grand! These look fabulous and are on my to bake list.

Melinda Mullen said...


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