Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Banana Muffins, the Vegan Way

Observing the pile of bananas on my counter looking dangerously brown, I realized it was time to make them into something scrumptious. Usually the kids scarf up all the bananas before they are remotely decent and squishy enough for banana bread, but due to some recent fabulous bananas prices in my shopping district, leading to an influx on our counter, even the Banana Scarfers couldn't keep up.

Liking to shake it up a little now and then, I pulled out a cookbook I haven't had the pleasure of baking from yet:
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Baking." 

No dairy, which is a plus since Caleb is usually sensitive to it, and no eggs, which is handy when one is out of eggs or wants a break from them.

I made two fairly small substitutions. First, the recipe called for banana extract, of which I had none, so I used maple extract instead. Also, instead of the roasted sunflower seeds, which didn't appeal to me in this recipe, I substituted thinly sliced almonds.

The finished muffins were truly delicious. Light, fluffy, and full of flavor. I intended them for breakfast tomorrow morning, but we couldn't resist them hot and buttered! (Oops-I guess that made them non-vegan!)

Here is the original recipe:

Banana Muffins

4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 TB aluminum free baking powder
1 TB cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 TB ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups soy, rice, or almond milk (I used a combination of all three!)
3/4 cup flaxseed egg substitute (easy-see recipe below)
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp banana extract (or pure vanilla extract)
1 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup Florida Crystals or unbleached cane sugar
2-3 extra ripe bananas, peeled and mashed well (1 cup)
1 cup sunflower seeds, hulled and roasted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 16-20 muffin cups with paper liners. (I got over 2 dozen muffins!)

2. Into a large bowl, sift whole-wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt, or blend with a wire whisk.

3. In a separate bowl, and using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on high speed (I used a hand mixer), beat milk, flaxseed egg substitute, canola oil, vanilla extract, banana extract, Florida crystals, and bananas for 1 or 2 minutes or until light in texture and color. Add sunflower seeds (or in my case, sliced almonds), and mix well.

4. Using a large rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until moistened. Do not over-mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. Using a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little Florida crystals on each muffin (I left that part out). Bake for 22-26 minutes (mine only took 20 minutes) or until muffin tops spring back when lightly touched.

6. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Carefully release muffins from the pan, and cool completely. Store in an airtight container, or freeze in zipper-lock bags.

Flaxseed Egg Substitute

1/4 cup flaxseeds
3/4 cup water
1. In a small grinder, grind flaxseeds until mixture resembles a fine powder.
2. In a blender, combine ground flaxseeds and water, and blend on high speed for 1 or 2 minutes or until thick.
3. Chill for at least 1 hour to set up. It can be used now, but it'll have a more egg-like consistency if allowed to chill. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
1/4 cup=1 large egg

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