Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

This is a guest post from a talented chef with a great recipe for a unique twist on banana muffins.

Banana Strawberry Spelt Muffins

From Chef Thomas:

“I love eating bananas raw, but I am very specific about my raw bananas. They have to be all yellow, or yellow and green; no spots! Once the brown spots start to form, I just don’t like the flavor. But I can’t throw spotty bananas away, so what should I do? I guess I could make some sort of baked good… *twist my arm!*

But baked goods typically have a ton of butter and sugar … what about my diet? I decided to take a basic banana bread recipe and try to put a healthy twist on it.

As I started to throw ingredients together, I became bored with the idea of just plain old banana bread. I started to think of things that are usually combined with bananas and it hit me. Strawberries!! My first go at it, I used almond flour, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, etc. I used the measurements from an online recipe I found. I had really high hopes. I put the mix in the oven for sixty minutes. I was so excited as I paced back and forth, waiting for the bread to be done. The buzzer went off and I strutted to the oven, confident I would find an amazing loaf of strawberry-banana bread! I swung the door open and was greeted by a goopy mess. Disheartened, I left the loaf in for several more minutes before giving up…for the day. I would make this work!

I told Maggie what had happened and we began to brainstorm about how to make this recipe work. She told me not to use only almond flour because it well make for a very wet bread. Maybe we could put some oatmeal in there to soak up some of that moisture. Maybe add a bit more flour. Sunday she came over and we began to put our recipe together. We added a bit of lemon zest and some oatmeal to the banana mixture. We  used two cups of spelt flour instead of a cup and a half of almond flour. We put some chopped cashews in there for some texture. The mixture looked great, we had high hopes. Then we started talking about how we would cook this mixture. While banana bread is great, it is not the most practical form of food for those of us on the go. We decided muffins would be perfect! We threw them in and enjoyed a beer while we waited. As we swung the oven door down we were met with an intoxicating smell and the sight of perfectly cooked muffins. We put the muffins on a cooling rack and they taunted us, daring us to take a bite …

The next thing I knew, our friend Ruth was taking a bite of one and her face said it all. Maggie and I joined Ruth in pure muffin bliss. We had done it! We came up with an amazing strawberry banana muffin recipe. I hope it brings you all the same amount of happiness that it brought us!”

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 7 strawberries, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews (or any other nut you prefer)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, strawberries, lemon zest, and oatmeal. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and pure maple syrup in a stand mixer and blend together for one minute, or until creamed. Mix in eggs, salt, vanilla, and then add oatmeal mixture. Slowly, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, mixing only until combined. Fold in cashews.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 mins, but keep an eye on them. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched.

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Single Serving Oatmeal Cookie

Single Oatmeal Cookie 3

Sometimes I really impress myself. It almost always happens when I’m desperate and hungry.

Today, I wanted a cookie for breakfast. Like, a healthy cookie. But I found myself without. So I attempted to make one. Yes, just one. And it was pretty successful!

Single Oatmeal Cookie

It’s not so much a recipe as it is a technique. You just take a little leftover cooked oatmeal (I used steel-cut oats), about 1/4 cup, and add in whatever extras you want. This time I added honey, dried cranberries, cinnamon and unsweetened coconut. Next time, I will add peanut butter and raisins. If I had thought of the peanut butter thing this time, I would have done that first.

You mix it all up in a little ramekin and press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. Then you microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the oatmeal mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the ramekin and has dried out a little.

At this point, I was able (with the help of an oven mitt – it’s hot!) to simply flip the ramekin over onto a little plate and out popped my single-serving cookie. It was perfect with my espresso and just what I wanted. Great start to October … it’s the little things.

Single Oatmeal Cookie 2

Banana Nut Granola

Banana Nut Granola

Well, I found out this weekend that I cannot handle being alone with a bowl of granola. Or a box of cereal, or a bag of popcorn kernels … you get the idea. Let’s just say, this granola never saw me coming. Poor thing was gone in less than 24 hours.

This recipe was kind of an experiment, but it came out surprisingly well! I’ve never made a granola with actual fruit blended and cooked with it before. It added a nice level of sweetness and actually sort of made granola clusters. It really did taste like a delicious deconstructed banana nut bread with raisins.

This is the kind of recipe you can adapt easily based on what you like. Next time I might try pumpkin instead of banana and chocolate chips or cranberries instead of raisins. You can use whatever nuts you like, whatever spices you like, even add ingredients like shredded coconut or seeds. Enjoy!

Banana Nut Granola 2

Banana Nut Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats (I used a rolled grain blend with all kinds a good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup raisins

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place banana in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Sounds bizarre I know, but I learned this trick from America’s Test Kitchen, my absolute favorite PBS show. Cooking the banana releases sugar and juices and helps it infuse even more sweetness into what you’re baking. It also softens the banana so it can be easily blended with the other wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the softened banana, coconut oil, honey or syrup, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, spices, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and toss to coat until everything is well saturated.

Pour the granola onto the prepared pan and spread out to make an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the granola is dried out and toasty. Every 10 minutes take the pan out and toss the granola so it doesn’t burn. Toss hot granola with raisins so they plump a bit.

Banana Nut Granola 3

Road Trip Granola Bars

Homemade Granola

Along with the Spiced Nuts from my last post, I also made some homemade granola bars for my road trip. They’re easy to make, really delicious, and a healthy snack to have on hand.

Granola bars are great because you can “make it your own,” as Simon Cowell would say an infinite amount of times on American Idol circa 2003. You can change the nuts and fruit to suit your preferences, and also make them super healthy or less healthy by playing around with the sweeteners and binders. For example, the recipe I based mine off of used butter and brown sugar, but I swapped in honey, pure maple syrup and olive oil instead. I used pecans in place of almonds, and I also added in natural peanut butter because I apparently cannot live a single day without peanut butter. I aaaaallmost drizzled some dark chocolate over top, but thought it might make a mess if they’re left in a hot car. One thing to note, is that these granola bars don’t hold together quite as well as others when you cut them, I’ll have to investigate that issue further once I’m off the road. Otherwise, they’re cute little bundles of delicious joy!

Homemade Granola 2

Road Trip Granola Bars

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the olive oil, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute. Add in vanilla, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the apricots and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Homemade Granola 1

 

Granola Bars 3