Banana Muffins with Chocolate Pretzel Topping

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After ignoring some very sad looking overripe bananas for a few days I decided muffins were in order.  I think I've baked more banana muffins, breads and cakes more than any other baked good in my life.  They're generally very basic so I decided to get a little kooky with this topping.  I knew we had pretzel sticks and a hodgepodge bag of chocolate bars, some half eaten, some for baking, I think I even found a few mallow cups in there.  

I set out to make these early on Sunday morning and made it up as I went, beginning with the chocolate topping.  I melted half a dark chocolate bar with a little bit of vegan butter (Earth Balance makes vegan buttery sticks that have really grown on me for baking), added the pretzel pieces and set them out to harden before beginning the batter.  It made things a little easier since I didn't have to wait around for the chocolate to set once the batter was finished.  Speaking of the batter and my love for baking with vegan butter... the muffins don't need it.  I've found that after reducing and substituting the butter in a lot of recipes apple sauce works particularly well for banana breads and muffins.  

These were such an experiment for me, and I'll definitely be making them again and perhaps try a different method for the topping.  If you decide to make them I'd love to know how they turn out.

 

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Pretzel Topping
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 cup non-fat greek yogurt
5 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1.5 oz. dark chocolate, for melting
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, or vegan butter
5-6 pretzel sticks, broken into pieces

Over low heat in a small sauce pan, melt dark chocolate and butter together, whisking until combined.  Add pretzel sticks and coat thoroughly.  Remove pretzels from chocolate and place on wax paper to harden.  Once the chocolate has set, chop the pretzels into small pieces for topping.  Preheat oven to 350.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the bananas, eggs, yogurt, brown sugar, apple sauce and agave until very smooth.  In a separate bowl combine all remaining dry ingredients.  Pour over banana mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the batter into prepared muffin tin, about 3/4 of the way full in each cup.  Top with chocolate pretzel pieces and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked all the way through and the edges are golden brown.  Serve warm.