There is an incredible little store called “Health Nuts” down the street on the corner of 99th and Broadway. They have a variety of gluten-free mixes, cookies, flowers etc., about 20 different flavors of Stevia extract (didn’t even know it came in any more than one) and, of course, many vegan ingredients. This may sound odd, but on the way home from school, I sometimes walk into the store and just look around for ideas of what to make next. The other day I simply decided that I was going to make a through-and-through moist and savory batch of banana muffins. I found a recipe on my favorite cooking site (http://minimalistbaker.com) and was surprised to see the simplicity of cooking vegan. My goal of making these was to finally use flax-eggs (I had just bought a bag of ground flax at health nuts), and ultimately make a vegan recipe that even non-vegans would love.
I handed out a bunch to my vegan friends at school and everyone devoured them. One of my friends was so excited to to finally eat a muffins that actually tasted good, that she ate three for lunch. She also tricked her non-vegan friend into thinking that they were regular banana cupcakes and he ate the entire thing. Only after did she mention that it was vegan.
I hope you enjoy as much as my friends and I did!
2 flax eggs
4 medium ripe bananas (don’t worry about measurements – it’s forgiving)
heaping 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all purpose)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup raw sugar
5 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a standard size muffin tin (will make 10-11 muffins)
- Prepare flax egg in a large mixing bowl. Let set for 5 minutes.
- Add banana and mash, leaving just a bit of texture.
- Add brown sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for one minute.
- Stir in vanilla, melted butter and mix.
- Add flour and oats and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined. Lastly, fold in walnuts (optional).
- Divide batter evenly among 10-11 muffin tins, filling a generous 3/4 full (I fill mine practically full for aesthetic effect).
- Quickly wipe your mixing bowl and add crumble ingredients. Prepare crumble top by mashing ingredients together with a fork until crumbly like wet sand. Generously top muffins with streusel. You should have leftovers.
- Bake for 17-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, remove from muffin tin and serve warm. Once completely cooled, store in a covered container at room temp for several days. Freeze for longer term storage.
Thanks to Minimalist Baker for the incredible recipes!!
For a while, I have been intrigued by the fascination (including my own) of pancakes. I understand cakes, cookies, pies etc. and maybe even waffles… but why pancakes? They’re simply discs of flour, milk, a tiny bit of sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, and butter; why are they any more beloved than a slightly sweetened piece of bread? After thinking about this wayyyy too deeply for a while, I realized that it isn’t simply the flavor, but the experiences that pancakes create and symbolize that make them so special (to at least my family and I). The memories of my family and I making pancakes on a Saturday, or at least sitting down to a delicious breakfast together are what make the simple food full of complex and happy feelings; there was no work for my parents to worry about, school days felt miles away, and there were endless things that we could do with the day. Pancakes simply introduce the best day of my week with the people that love me the most.
As I have gotten older, and my workload has increased along with the stress of my parent’s joband Saturday family breakfasts have become more and more irregular. I woke up early last Saturday (no idea why, it was probably a siren or noise outside/the sun or something), after going months without touching a pancake, and realized that I wanted to surprise my parents with the best family pancake breakfast of their year. I, being the spontaneity-driven person that I am, decided to spice up the recipe a bit, with some apples and cinnamon.
An hour later, my mom, my dad, and I (brother was away at college 😦 ) sat down to a nice family breakfast and my childhood seemed to come shooting back at me. We spent the entire day together, grocery shopping at Trader Joes, listening to music, having dinner with my great-grandmother. The reasoning behind my love for pancakes has never been clearer.
2 medium apples (any kind), peeled and diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced apples, butter and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, or about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and whisk until well-combined. Batter may be slightly lumpy.
- Heat a nonstick griddle (or large nonstick skillet) to medium-high heat, and wait until the surface is hot enough that a drop of water jumps around the pan when dropped onto it (if the water evaporates immediately, the pan is too hot).
- Add batter onto pan in dollops (approx 1/4-1/3 cup) and cook until the surface of the pancake starts to bubble. Add about 1 tbsp of the sautéed apples to the pancake. Continue to cook until the bottom of the pancake is golden, then flip and cook the second side until golden.
- Serve immediately, with maple syrup and more diced apples.
Although Gluten-Free cooking and baking rarely tastes as good as cooking with Gluten, making gluten free recipes hasn’t proved as difficult to me as I expected. The wide variety of different gluten free tricks and ingredients has made being gluten-free in the 21st century relatively easy if you set your mind to it. BUT, surprisingly, one of the most difficult gluten-free challenges that I have faced are completely homemade gluten free pancakes.
There are many different gluten free pancake mixes that make incredible pancakes, but for some reason making gluten-free pancakes from scratch is really hard for me. They seem to always be too dry, not puffy enough, too dense or just tasteless. The other day, I found a recipe on the back of a gluten-free all-purpose flour bag and decided to try it out…. they were soooooo good! If I was given a plate of regular pancakes and a plate of these gluten-free ones, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell which is which. They were very moist, fluffy and flavorful. My mom and I didn’t even need syrup to enjoy them! I hope they come out as good for you as they did for me!
3⁄4 cup gluten-free flour (I use Gluten-Free Flour Blend)
1⁄2 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1⁄2 teaspoon guar gum
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2⁄3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, eggs, and cooking oil.
- Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, and whisk until well blended.
- Let stand for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat ungreased, non-stick frying pan to medium heat.
- Pour batter by spoonfuls onto the hot pan.
- Pancakes are ready to be turned over when the edges are no longer glossy, and the bubbles that pop stay open. To check the second side for doneness, you just have to lift an edge of the pancake up with a spatula and take a peek.
If you are looking for a gluten free cookie recipe that can be considered relatively healthy, than this is the one for you. Although this doesn’t top my list for the best tasting oatmeal cookie, the use of honey instead of sugar and coconut oil instead of butter makes the flavor of the cookies very unique. I would consider this to not only be a healthy dessert, but a good option for a quick breakfast or an on the go snack.
1 cup oatmeal
¾ cup gluten-free flour (measured accurately)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil (Can substitute 1/2 cup butter)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup honey
6 tbsp fresh raspberries, diced
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the honey until evenly mixed.
- Add in the gluten free flour, carefully measured, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the raspberries. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer than 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Drop the chilled cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.) Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
This recipe was big for me in so many different ways. I struggle to successfully bake gluten-free goods and the results are always disappointing (and VERY dry). These very healthy muffins were extremely moist, flavorful and delicious. This is going to be my new go to, healthy muffin recipe.
Last month, I went on my yearly visit to my allergist. I have had an extremely severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts since I was a baby. At my last visit, my doctor said that, since my allergy to almonds and hazelnuts is very minor, I could slowly start working almonds into my diet to create a tolerance. Last Thursday, I tried my first bites of Nutella, and it, of course, was absolutely delicious. Eating these muffins was the first time that I ever consumed any trace of almonds, and it felt really weird. The muffins were so delicious that I could barely taste the almond flavor. ENJOYY!
- 1.5 flax or chia eggs (or 1.5 eggs if not vegan) see below for instructions
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1 sweet apple, finely grated
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
- 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten free flour blend
- Prepare flax or chia eggs in a large mixing bowl and preheat oven to 375
- For each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seed with 3 tablespoons of water.
- Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute.
- Prepare a muffin tin with liners or lightly grease them.
- Whisk flax eggs mashed banana, agave or maple syrup, and olive oil.
- Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
- Add almond milk and stir.
- Add grated carrot and stir.
- Add oats, almond meal, gluten free flour blend and stir.
- Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top.
- Bake for 32-36 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you press on the top it shouldn’t feel too spongey. Don’t be afraid of over baking the muffins.
- Remove from oven and let set in the pan for 10 minutes. Then flip on their sides still in the pan to let cool completely.
- Wait 30 minutes to remove from wrappers, the muffins have a tendency to stick to them.
I’m pretty sure that there is nothing better than waking up in the morning and immediately making some waffles. I decided to make them gluten-free so my mom (who can’t eat gluten) could join us. It was nice to have a “Saturday Family Waffle breakfast” like we always used to when I was younger. Enjoy!
2 cups gluten-free flour (measure as accurately as possible)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons butter
1 1⁄2 cups milk, plus some. (Feel free to use regular milk substitutions)
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Completely combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl .
- Mix together the 1 1/2 cups milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted and cooled butter.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Add additional milk until you get a batter a little thicker than pancake batter.
- Spread 1/3 cup or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Different irons have different indicators.
- Serve immediately with butter and a little syrup for the best result.
- Freeze leftovers in a plastic baggie with a sheet of wax paper in between each waffle. To warm up leftovers, defrost and heat in an oven at a low heat for 10-15 minutes or until warm.