Spa Sweets : Chocolate Banana Muffins

What's the first thing you think of when you think of going to a spa?  Food, right?
I know, it's strange, but when I think of spas, my mind wanders to thoughts of "spa cuisine" (especially if it involves the HERSHEY SPA)!

So, when Chevy sent a friend and me to the spa for 1-hour massages, my mind naturally went to Chocolate Banana Muffins.  Lori from Recipe Girl (love!) featured a recipe from The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook , Chocolate Banana Bread last year and it's delicious!

I changed it up just a bit and made Chocolate Banana Muffins.  They may just be the unhealthiest, healthy muffins you've ever eaten.  No added sugar...except for the chocolate chips and banana chips, and well, the sprinkling of sugar on top.

They also have a secret ingredient: PRUNES!

Spa Chocolate Banana Muffins
{adapted from Recipe Girl &The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook }

10 oz. pitted dried prunes
2 c. water
1 c. minus 1 TBSP all-purpose (or WHITE whole wheat) flour
1/2 c. dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
2 eggs
1/2 c. chocolate-covered banana chips (or reg. banana chips)
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli)
sparkling or sanding sugar (optional)

Combine the prunes and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer  and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.  Butter 12 cups of a muffin tin.  If you are really paranoid like me, line the bottoms of the muffin cups with a small circle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.  Set aside.

Process the prunes and bananas in a food processor until smooth.  Add eggs and process until combined.

Stir the prune mixture into the flour until combined. Add in the banana chips and chocolate chips.  Spoon into prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

Bake 16-20 minutes until the tops bounce back when lightly pressed.  Cool on a cooling rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely.  Enjoy!

{And thank you, Chevy, for the massage! }
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