Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins (Gluten Free)

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins

If you ask me it should never be less than 65 degrees and sunny. Really I don’t know how people live in places that are cold, rainy or dark more than half the year. It was 82 and sunny just three days ago, but it’s been under 60, gray and wet since then. I am already feeling the negative effects of the dreary weather. A day curled up with a warm cup of tea, a cozy sweatshirt and your favorite magazine is nice once in a while but when you need to leave the house it is not so fun.

Thankfully this week I have had my awesome new blog and followers to keep me smiling. All of your positive responses mean so much to me! Thank you for following fairly blindly with so little content up at the moment. As promised, that will be changing soon!

Today’s weather is screaming for some baking. Am I the only one that might turn the oven on to preheat a little early so I can stand with the door open to warm up first?! There is something so cozy and comforting about getting out your mixing bowls and all your ingredients and creating something so warm and sweet that you might just stick a toothpick in it a little early to accidentally have some come out on the stick to taste… especially if there is chocolate involved 🙂

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffin Mix

Today’s inspiration comes from some late night Pinterest searching for healthy ways to use bananas on their last leg. Unless I cut my bananas up and freeze them for smoothies right away, I end up with an entire bunch of over ripened bananas that are too mushy to eat for a snack but not mushy enough to rationalize throwing away.

Banana Applesauce

As everyone knows, this is the perfect stage of a banana’s life to throw it in a loaf of banana bread and call it a day. While I love banana bread (especially with added goodies like chocolate chips or walnuts) I wanted to try something new and a little healthier than the typical banana bread conceptions loaded with white sugar, flour and butter.

*Even muffin batter deserves a good mixer licking! And no raw egg to worry about!*

I found hundreds of healthy banana bread options and even more banana oat cookie/energy bites (which I love and have made more times than I can count… I will definitely add a recipe for some sometime soon) but I really wanted to try something different. I was inspired by Michelle at Healthy Recipe Ecstasy and her dark chocolate banana bread brownies!

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffin Batter

I’ve been experimenting lately with chia and flax eggs as replacements for actual eggs in baking with pretty great success. The flavor ends up a little nuttier with flax seeds but the texture is great in my opinion. This method also cuts out all cholesterol. Win!

How Fun is this?!

Unfortunately, something crazy happens when you cut out butter… you tend to cut out the life and lovely fluffy texture of your favorite baked goods.  There are many great vegan substitutes to butter including low fat options: unsweetened apple sauce and bananas.  The apple sauce shouldn’t effect the flavor at all and the banana will only slightly sweeten the mixture (you can cut back very slightly on the sweetener if you want when using this method).

A chunk of chocolate perfectly wedged itself in my mixer when I sprinkled it on top!

Ironically the two natural substitutes for butter are already ingredients in this recipe. Instead of trying to keep these light and fluffy I decided to go the opposite route and aim for chewy and soft instead. While I actually like the semi-gooey texture that low fat baking tends to have, I know this is not typical.

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffin Batter

This is a great article that explains why butter is used in baking and how to substitute it properly in different recipes. Enjoying baked goods without butter or less fat can take some getting used to for sure so feel free to play around with your favorite substitutes. Have a favorite butter or egg substitute? Let me know! I always love trying new ideas!

Now on to the muffins!! These muffins are full of healthy, vegan sources of fiber, protein and iron… three things every vegetarian can’t get enough of! Check out the notes at the end of the recipe. Enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins (gluten free and easily vegan!)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12 large muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories per serving: 103

Fat per serving: 2.9

Chewy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins (gluten free and easily vegan!)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Use a blender, coffee grinder, magic bullet or some other similar product to grind your Chia Seeds.
  3. In a small dish combine ground chia seeds and water to make a chia egg. Gently stir together and let sit for at least five minutes. The mixture will form the texture of an egg.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl combine Flaxseed Meal, All-Purpose Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Coconut Flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Make sure all ingredients are completely mixed together.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl mash up your ripe bananas. Place in the microwave for 45 seconds to slightly caramelize them and bring out their natural sweetness even more.
  6. Place applesauce, chia egg and vanilla into bowl with warm bananas. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (or a medium whisk and a strong arm!).
  7. Add your dry ingredients into large mixing bowl with your wet ingredient mixture. Beat at a low speed until combined and moist through out batter.
  8. Use whatever handy tool you ground your chia seeds up with the gently chop your Chocolate Chunks into smaller pieces. (feel free to use any chocolate you like or even Enjoy Life chocolate chips to make this vegan!)
  9. Mix chocolate chunks into your batter with a spatula.
  10. Spoon batter into your muffin tin. I made 12 large muffins but you could easily make two smaller batches or use a mini muffin tin.
  11. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes... checking at about 20 minutes with a wooden toothpick. If you use any other sort of muffin tins you might need to adjust the time accordingly.
  12. Now your goal... let cool before burning your tongue on sweet banana gooeyness and melted chocolate deliciousness!

Notes

These little guys definitely pack a healthy punch with naturally sweet flavor and absolutely no guilt. No added sugar (other than the chocolate chips which you could easily replace with chopped nuts of dried fruit of your choice), gluten free and vegan with the simple change ideas above for cutting out sugar! They are perfect for an afternoon snack pick me up, a breakfast on the run or even dessert with a side of fresh strawberries.

Warning: when they cool they do become a little dense. I suggest warming them back up in the oven or in a pan before eating. But hey if you like the dense chewiness please eat up!

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/06/chewy-chocolate-banana-flax-muffins-gluten-free/

Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!

Chewy Chocolate Banana Muffin

Reader Feedback:

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Gluten-Free Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (DF easily)

Gluten-Free Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (DF easily)

How do you decide what to put up for your very first post on your new blog?! Seriously the options are endless! Do I make some crunchy gluten free granola, a big batch of slurp worthy soups, some “hard to believe there is no added sugar” energy bites, or of course there was the obvious option of whipping up some delicious ice cream. Naturally I went a completely different route and made my first casserole since going gluten free… which turned out amazing!

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Raw Cauliflower & Broccoli

I was hesitant to have my very first post be something so healthy and not necessarily fun on the spectrum of ice cream to cruciferous vegetables!

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Raw Onions & Garlic

But what’s a girl to do when it’s dinner time and a recent trip to the farmers market left her fridge full of broccoli and cauliflower she has been itching to make something new with. I love cauliflower mash and roasted broccoli as much as the next vegetarian but it was time to spice things up a little bit.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Sauteed Onion and Garlic

This recipe can easily be halved or doubled for smaller or larger gatherings. It can also be made dairy free by simply leaving out the Parmesan cheese or substituting it with a DF cheese such as Daiya.

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Sauce

If you do not require a gluten free diet, any all-purpose flour will do in place of the Bob’s Red Mill. And finally, feel free to your any milk of your choice in place of the coconut milk (I promise you can not taste the coconut at all though once it is cooked!)

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Raw Veggies and Sauce

I hope you love this recipe as much as I did! 🙂

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole - Pre-Baking

I promise to have more posts coming very soon! Thanks so much for checking out my blog!

Gluten-Free Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (DF easily)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 cups - Depends on size of broccoli and cauliflower

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 103

Fat per serving: 4.1

Gluten-Free Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (DF easily)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut up broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Mix together and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Dice onion and garlic cloves how ever you prefer… I minced the garlic and diced the onion into large chunks.
  4. Melt 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (add more if this does not coat your whole pan, this will increase final calorie count) in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Sprinkle gluten free flour, salt, pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of Italian seasoning over the onions and garlic. Slowly add unsweetened coconut milk and stir together until slightly thickened and bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese into this mixture and gently stir for one more minute to melt the cheese.
  7. I highly suggest you taste this delicious concoction before going to the next step! You can thank me later for this idea!
  8. Remove onion garlic mixture from heat and pour over broccoli cauliflower in large bowl.
  9. Stir just enough to thoroughly coat all vegetables.
  10. Grease a large glass baking dish with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil and spoon in vegetable mixture.
  11. Sprinkle last 2 teaspoons of parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning over the dish.
  12. Bake for 40 minutes, checking around the 30 minute point to make sure your oven is cooking everything evenly (the back of my oven cooks everything so much faster 🙁 this is easily taken care of with one flip half way through cooking but it is definitely important to know your oven's idiosyncrasies). The vegetables should be tender and the top should be lightly browned when it is ready!
  13. Let cool for a few minutes before serving… if you are as impatient as I am just be careful not to burn your mouth… like I did! Oops! 🙂 Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Info calculated using MyFitnessPal

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/05/99/

Inspired by this Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole Recipe.

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