Honest Recipes: Banana Flax Muffins

I haven’t done a recipe post in a while. (Maybe several years.)

Anyway, we tend to like muffins in this house. (And by we, I mean, the toddler likes to eat them and I like to not think too hard about packing her weekday breakfasts. Win win.) I often find myself hiding vegetables, fiber, and other nutrient dense items in these muffins because let’s face it, toddlers aren’t going to eat it alone.

My usual Spinach Banana muffin standby recipe was thwarted by under-estimating how much spinach this household goes through. Alas, no more spinach left. Since I’m not going to Target for the 5th time this week, I decided to be resourceful and use what I had in my kitchen.

Banana Flax Muffins

My pantry tends to be a breeding ground for good intentions that never see the light of day. I go on Pinterest and find cool recipes with obscure ingredients, buy said ingredients, and then never do anything with them. (Usually, because those recipes feature even more obscure ingredients I forgot to purchase.) This is the one occasion where Pinterest did not steer me wrong, so I must share.

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Banana flax muffins sound as about as interesting as the backside of my hand, but they are actually really good. I’m sure the toddler will find them most appealing in her morning fare; especially because they crumble into pieces of sweet allergen-free banana bread flavor quite easily. (I can hear the “Mommy, I made mess” from the backseat of my car now.)

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Why are they so crumbly? Well, that would be the rice flour and the flax meal… and not a lick of eggs, flour, dairy, or refined sugar or fun to be seen here. I literally have no idea why I had brown rice flour in my pantry. It was sealed and old – so I definitely brought it over during our move because I felt guilty for paying so much for it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decent recipe that uses only rice flour?

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And flax meal – well, bonus for me as I’ve been looking to incorporate more fiber-rich whole grains into my diet. Apparently, flax can help lower LDL cholesterol. Cool – I’ll scarf down a few of these a week and maybe that will get my endocrinologist off my back. (Don’t worry – my LDL level is okay-ish for a normal person. Just not a person with diabetes.)

Thank goodness they taste pretty damn awesome.

Without further ado, I present Banana Flax Muffins.

Banana Flax Muffins

Banana Flax Muffins

Makes 16
Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup golden flaxseed meal
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 medium)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup (or agave, or whatever liquid sweetener you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 – 1 cup water or milk of choice (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line 2 muffin pans with 16 muffin papers. Spray liners with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed meal, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash bananas very well. Stir in oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and water or milk until well mixed. (I used a Kitchen Aid mixer on the lowest setting.)
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in raisins, if using.
  5. Fill the muffin tins to the rim with batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool completely before serving.

Notes

  1. The dough is going to look odd if you don’t normally bake with alternate flours. It almost had a gelatinous, gooey look to it. It’ll come together – flax is often subbed out for eggs.
  2. There was a note about the muffins sticking to the liners – solve that by spraying the liners with cooking spray. Or use silicone ones.

 

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Pinstrosity in the Making

Idle hands and minds lead to unexpected results, no? (Which is precisely why I’m not blogging every day anymore… I’m suddenly busier.)

To start: we had a bake off at the studio on Friday. I wanted to explore my Pin Boards for something fun, but universally enjoyable by everyone. I opted to make the vegan red velvet cupcakes I made earlier last year, but wanted to switch them to a Blue Velvet cake instead. This is why.

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However, I also ended up with these by mistake/quick thinking.

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My downfall? I forgot how much red dye is actually needed to make red velvet cupcakes. I usually pour in a good tablespoon or three. For some reason, I thought that I needed less blue dye to make blue velvet.

Turns out that this:

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Plus this:

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Equals this ugliness on the left.

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Now, as you can see, I did end up with blue cakes. But that was some white cake box mix made with a cup of plain greek yogurt and a cup of water. (And then a lot of blue dye.) And then they were conveniently frosted electric blue canister frosting from Target. (Because I was just lazy at that point.)

But I had two dozen greenish brown cupcakes that were completely edible, but ewwww… gross.

So they became Grouches after some dairy-free frosting was made.

The recipe for the Mostly Vegan Cupcakes (dyed to your preference):

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic cane… you can use vegan. Or Splenda. Or whatever.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (though, I probably would have preferred coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring (I didn’t go vegan on this. I’ve seen recipes put in as much as 2T of gel color or a bottle of dye.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, refined sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together the grape seed oil, milk, vanilla extract and food coloring. Stir the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, then stir in the distilled white vinegar. Pour the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 18- 20 minutes or until cupcakes come out clean after a toothpick test.

For the frosting, I mixed one stick of Nucoa plus 2 cups+ of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of almond milk. Then dyed it. The problem with Nucoa is that it doesn’t really mix THAT well. But it doesn’t have soy additives either. If you can, use some other non-dairy spread like Earth Balance or whatever.

Taste verdicts:

The vegan cupcakes were really moist. I probably could have baked them a little longer and they would have been fine. The original recipe called for a 10 minute bake time and that was NOT enough. They also weren’t very sweet, which was nice.

The Greek Yogurt Box Mix wasn’t bad either. Just kind of had a chewy texture. It was a little bizarre honestly.

Frosting the cakes:

So – for the fuzzy Muppet-ness, I used a Wilton #233 tip (Grass) to frost the cakes. I used white chocolate candy melts for the eyes and then dotted them with some Wilton brown gel. I DID buy some edible writers which did NOT work on the white chocolate. (They are getting returned to the store.) If you have the patience to make and dye your own additional frosting, feel free. I didn’t. For Cookie Monster, shove half a Chips Ahoy cookie where the mouth should be and viola! A Muppet.

Enjoy!