Friday, March 31, 2017

HELP WANTED: Kona Coffee-Spiked Banana Muffins

Yes, I made it! I pledged to write one blog post per month… at least the first three. This was to match my record last year. Now, I need to beat it... but it may need to wait until May.

Coffee-spiked banana muffins
This post really is a call for help. During our last trip to Kona, I was inspired to make Kona coffee banana bread or muffins. I think I was inspired after indulging in way too much Kona and Ka’u coffee. Oh, that magical Hawaiian elixir is so ono and so mild that it did not upset my tummy. It did not help that Kona coffee was all over the place in Kona (duh). There were several cool coffee places overlooking the ocean (again, duh). Oh yes, there was that trip to the coffee plantation too.  Needless to say, that trip was #caffeinated.

The banana bread part comes from the upcountry in the Big Island. Banana bread is a standard treat in Hawaii. When you go Captain Cook or coffee country, there is no lack of stores that sell banana bread. I always get a slice or three when we’re up there so I have provisions for the rest of trip.

Once we came back home, I looked for a recipe as a starter. I think the most promising one was an old recipe from the Washington Post on a coffee-spiked banana bread. I healthified and Maddified it with tropical ingredients like coconut oil and macadamia nuts. Since the weather is getting warmer, I muffinized it to cut down on baking time. 

Sheesh, who am I kidding... I LOVE MUFFINS!

Here’s the call for help: I baked it twice but the coffee flavor does not pop. Don’t get me wrong – the muffins were delicious, but it seems to me that the coffee should be more prominent. I tried to add coffee grounds in it (I don't think that helped with flavor, but it did on caffeine content). I even consulted the original recipe in the Mosswood Cookbook (Yes, It happened to be in my collection).

So... Here’s what I have so far.  Does it need more coffee or am I getting too caffeinated? Or perhaps Kona coffee is just too mellow.  Anyways, as the Hawaiian’s would say… Please kokua. Mahalo nui.

Mad Gourmet’s (In Progress) Kona Coffee Spiked Banana Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup strongly brewed black Kona coffee
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts
  • 1 Tbsp ground Kona coffee (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or line them with liners. 
  2. Whisk together the flour, the salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir together the mashed bananas and coffee in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.
  4. Combine the oil and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low speed until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well blended, then add the vanilla and almond extracts.
  5. Gradually and alternately add the flour mixture and the banana mixture to the beaten egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour one. Do not overmix, or the batter will be tough. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pans.

P.S. I'm thinking of renaming these to Caffeinated Muffins. What do you think?