Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins October 15, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Muffins — annalope @ 4:45 am
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Why does the world need yet another recipe for banana muffins? It’s true, there are plenty of them out there, and I know there are a lot of bakers who find a decent recipe and never deviate from it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. My mother-in-law makes the same banana bread every time there are extra ripe bananas around, using a family recipe that has withstood the test of time, and I do absolutely love it. But when it comes to making banana bread or muffins in my own kitchen I find it impossible to not tinker with whatever recipe I might start out with (if there is one). These came about when I had set out to make Banana Mocha Muffins – a recipe I’d recently come up with and really loved, but by the time I’d blended the first few ingredients I started mentally drafting something drastically different. I’m not sure if this suggests creativity or just a lack of focus, but either way the results make me happy and appreciative of my restless mind.

One reason you should try this recipe is because the taste of molasses, coffee, and bananas together is pretty unbeatable. Or you could try my Banana Mocha Muffin recipe which also uses these ingredients. This recipe also has less sugar and less butter than your typical muffin, and uses only whole grains.

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Muffins

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup natural cane sugar

1 T. molasses + brown rice syrup to equal ¼ cup

1 t. vanilla

½ cup milk or milk substitute

½ cup coffee, room temperature or cold

1 egg

1 egg white

2 extra ripe bananas, mashed

1 T. flax meal

4 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 ½ cup white whole wheat flour

½ cup + 2 T. whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup ground walnuts, reserving 2 T. to garnish muffins

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine butter, applesauce, sugar and molasses/rice syrup in medium bowl; blend well. Add eggs and bananas, mix well. In measuring glass combine vanilla, milk and coffee. In separate bowl combine all dry ingredients, including the walnuts. Add flour and milk mixtures to butter mix alternately; gently mix to fully incorporate.

Butter and flour 12 large muffin tins (or 18 small cups). Pour a heaping ¼ cup of batter into each (or fill small cups ¾ full); top with ground walnuts for garnish. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Muffins freeze well once completely cool. I suggest eating half a batch and freezing the other half, which means less time before you get to try/create yet another muffin recipe!

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The Pancake Stands Alone September 29, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Pancakes — annalope @ 5:07 am
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As a kid my mom whipped up a batch of crepes for dinner once a month for me and my three siblings.  We each filled our own thin pancake with jam or jelly, rolled it like a burrito, doused it in powdered sugar and inhaled our creation as quickly as possible without choking on powdered sugar dust. No one seemed concerned with the amount of sugar inside or outside the pancake and, not surprisingly, this was a favorite meal for us kids. The recipe for the thin crepes was always made with Bisquick, just like all the other pancakes we made at home. It was the way Grandma had made them, and Mom followed suit teaching me the recipe by the time I was ten. What I’ve come to realize though is that Bisquick pancakes, like most super-refined products, taste unremarkable and require large amounts of jam, butter, or syrup to make them edible.

So my original love of pancakes must have come from the sugar my parents permitted me to load on top of them, but today my appreciation for the simple pancake is something different entirely. Over the years I have refined my love of the humble pancake and the cravings come now more than ever. The reason they never grow old? – No Bisquick, no standard recipe, no rules. Total creative freedom every time I grab the mixing bowl. And because they’re so easy to make healthy, there’s no guilt when eating to my heart’s content, no heavy belly dragging me down, no sugar crash. When quality ingredients are used, the pancake stands alone, no sugar coating necessary.

The pancake possibilities are endless, the results available to taste test in mere minutes, flavor and consistency alterable as you fry and sample. Think outside the circle; pancakes taste better (at least to kids) when shaped like turtles, balloons, snakes, trees and letters. It’s easy to incorporate a variety of whole grains, protein and fruit into your batter, giving you a secretly nutritious breakfast that doesn’t leave you reaching for the syrup bottle and won’t leave you eyeing the couch after eating.

Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes with Crystallized Ginger

1 cup white whole wheat flour

¼ cup buckwheat flour

¼ cup quick cooking oats

3 T. flax meal (ground flax seeds)

½  – ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (depending on preferred consistency)

¼ t. salt

1 T. baking powder

1  ½ t. ground cinnamon

1 cup milk or milk alternative

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract

2 T. maple syrup

2 large eggs

1 T. melted Earth Balance vegan spread or butter + extra to fry

½ cup chopped walnuts

3 T. chopped crystallized ginger

Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl (wheat flour – cinnamon). Combine liquid ingredients (milk – butter) in a quart sized measuring glass, or just make a well in your dry ingredients where you can whisk them together. Gently mix together. Add walnuts and ginger and mix gently once more.

Preheat your frying pan over medium heat, adding just enough butter or Earth Balance spread to coat your pan. Once it’s hot…you know what to do. Stay close to the pan and remember to coat with butter between batches.