Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate makes the world go 'round. Well, at least it makes my world go 'round. I savor simple chocolates like a good book I've read a thousand times—slowly, reveling in the familiarity, letting the flavors (and words) linger on my tongue. I've always found something sensual about chocolate. The way warmed chocolate falls off a spoon or the glean and glisten on a pot of melted chocolate make my mouth begin to water. I love the way chocolate pairs with a heady glass of red wine, fashioning a rich ending to a heavy meal.

I'm certain if we gave it a chance, chocolate alone could bring about world peace.

Chocolate always finds a way to sneak into my day. In the morning, I love a hint of cocoa in my hot cereal. At lunch, I always sneak a sweet treat for dessert, nibbling on bits of chocolate cake or swiping my finger through a tub of chocolate buttercream. In the evening, I grab a few chocolate chips to preempt my inevitable nighttime cravings.

I'm a monster.

Some days I'm certain chocolate runs through my veins.

Because of my fervent fondness for the cocoa bean, I've been adventurous with my chocolate flavor combinations. Certainly the standard combinations have been done: chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and pear. But it's the more unique combinations that bring me greater excitement—chocolate and lemon, chocolate and figs, and chocolate and beets.

Chocolate and pickles, however, is a little too "unique." Let's just say that was never a very good idea.

These Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins are decadent, addictive muffins that are everything a muffin should be—moist and dense. Imagine a loaf of banana bread in bite-sized form; these are it. The flavors of banana and chocolate blend together easily, but the espresso powder adds a slight twist. Though the espresso flavor is very subtle (in fact, I couldn't find it unless I was really looking), it adds so much flavor depth. The chocolate tones are richer and deeper. The banana flavor is bold and beautiful. Just a hint of something new, creates a different muffin entirely—a muffin you are sure to love.

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Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Adapted from Baked

Yields 12 muffins

4 medium over-ripe bananas (1 1/2 cups), mashed
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, whisked
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a mixer, combine mashed bananas, sugar, and butter. Mix until well blended. Add milk and egg. Slowly add the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth. Add in the chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve warm with a small pat of butter. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.