This past Friday I got the urge to bake. This happens fairly often, but I usually make myself check off a bunch of to-dos before I take time to relax and experiment in the kitchen. I tell myself I can bake after that work project, after I vacuum, after my conference call, after I walk the dogs, after I respond to emails…and by that point I replace baking with couch time or I’m too tired to really enjoy the process.
But on Friday, I put my to-dos aside and spent the morning brainstorming a new recipe and making a fun mess of my kitchen.
My first thought was to make something with chocolate because, well, that’s just where my mind goes ninety percent of the time. However, I’ve made a lot of brownies recently and had some very over-ripe bananas begging to be put to good use. And then I thought of banana nut bread. Scratch that. Banana nut muffins, because sometimes muffins are just more fun.
When I’m working on a recipe, I tend to gravitate towards comfort food as the base, and then I immediately start thinking about ways I can make it healthier – less sugar, naturally sweet, lower fat…I like to see how much I can edit old favorites while still creating a really good final product. This is why if you look through my old recipe archives, you might see something that uses sugar, and then I get into an agave phase, then coconut sugar, and then dates. I love figuring out all of the different substitutions.
I’m still, however, figuring out this gluten-free baking thing, and I was reading somewhere recently about how gluten-free flours tend to be less acidic than wheat flours, which can create a less-than-ideal crumb. So that’s where the lemon came into these muffins. Also, I love lemon and thought it would brighten up the banana flavor.
And the vanilla bean glaze? Well, I decided I would give these muffins to my mom for Mother’s Day and she prefers her baked goods (and coffee and everything else) not-so-subtly sweet. I blame her for my inclination as a child to eat frosting out of the can. And she blames me for those times she drank Hershey’s syrup out of the bottle when she was pregnant with me.
So, what I’m saying is, a little sugar sometimes is okay too.
- 2 Large, Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
- ¼ C. Coconut Sugar
- 2 Tbs. Coconut Oil, softened
- ¼ C. + 2 Tbs. Unsweetened Applesauce
- Juice + Zest of 2 Lemons
- 1 C. Brown Rice Flour
- ½ C. White Rice Flour
- ½ C. Arrowroot Starch
- 1½ Tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 Tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste (or Vanilla Extract)
- 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
- ½ Tsp. Xanthan Gum
- ½ Tsp. Fine Sea Salt
- ½ C. Chopped Walnuts (optional)
- ½ C. Powdered Sugar
- 2-2½ Tsp. Non-Dairy Milk
- ½ Tsp. Vanilla Bean Powder
- Pinch Fine Sea Salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a muffin pan and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, coconut sugar, coconut oil, applesauce, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla.
- Sift in the flours and arrowroot, baking soda, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Fold in the chopped walnuts.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, filling each muffin tin until it’s nearly full.
- Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While the muffins are cooling, prepare the vanilla glaze by sifting the powdered sugar into a small bowl to remove any lumps.
- Whisk in the non-dairy milk, vanilla bean powder, and pinch of sea salt until no lumps remain.
- Once the muffins have cooled completely, drizzle with the vanilla glaze and set them aside on a lined baking sheet or cooling rack to set.
- The muffins can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days, or in the fridge for 4-5 days.