Gluten Free Marbled Pumpkin Banana Bread

Two weeks ago I had some old bananas and wanted to attempt a new healthy bread recipe. I decided to go with pumpkin as an added flavour. I followed a very simplified recipe I found online that called for an entire can of pumpkin puree. This ultimately killed my bread and my spirit when after baking for 1 hour 20 minutes, the top was charring and the middle a wet mess. Straight into the garbage.

Feeling a bit silly, I needed to redeem myself. I found a recipe that called for whole wheat flour. Not finding any in the pantry, I thought why not try a gluten free flour blend, which I've never done myself. I read that white rice flour could work if you add thickening agents. I luckily had it, cornstarch and almond flour. I hope this isn't another flop, I thought.

The recipe also called for applesauce and honey for natural sweetening. I decided to use bananas instead for tastier/moister bread. I kept the honey and glad I did, the bread has a light sweetness but not overly, so the honey should be included.

I also wanted this bread to be prettier than the average pumpkin bread, so I created a marble effect with chocolate. Cocoa powder would do the trick but I was out of that as well.

Note that there is 1 cup of pumpkin puree, not an entire can ;)

This bread came out INCREDIBLE! So moist and DELICIOUS, with a crisper top. It earns a spot on the blog and I will definitely be making it again soon.

RECIPE

1 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 heaping cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (plus a bit more for garnish)

2 oz of melted semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a bread pan with parchment paper, making sure there is enough paper on the edges to lift the bread out after.

Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.

Add the bananas to a larger mixing bowl, mash, and then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix together with a spoon until fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and the walnuts. Mix together.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bread pan.

Melt the chocolate. Take 1/2 of the remaining batter and add the chocolate to it. Dollop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter into the bread pan, then dollop the remaining regular batter. Shimmy the pan side to side until batter is flatter.

Sprinkle the top with a handful of chopped walnuts.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Once out, gently remove by lifting the parchment paper and let cool on a rack. Slice after 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cinnamon and Hazelnut Macarons

Anyone who knows me very well is aware that I've spent 6 months trying to master the French Macaron. I didn't even care for them much growing up but they've become a passion now and my cravings have become a problem. I essentially work out so that I can eat more macarons. My boyfriend, who's not as utterly obsessed with sweets like I am, has been taking note of the amount of times I've tried and failed. The thing to remember if you haven't made macarons before, is that you will likely fail, and not just once. But if you love to bake pretty things, it's worth every discouraging moment you look inside the oven and wonder what the hell happened. Trust me.

I started using a few different recipes that just did not work for me. I nearly gave up entirely when I found this amazing YouTube video from Cupcake Jenna that saved me. Using their instructions, and some tweaks of my own, I've pieced together this drop-to-the-floor amazing cinnamon/hazelnut macaron! Regularly I get flavours by using what's currently in my pantry, and I'm so thankful for hazelnut butter right now.

And how beautiful are these? They make the perfect gifts. I tend to make them for my family or friends, freezing a few gift bags at a time (so that I don't eat them all myself). I'm currently dieting for Hawaii so I've eaten 2 of these in total and it's killing me to give away the rest this Easter weekend.

Remember to watch the video if you're unsure about my instructions below, it's honestly the best one I've watched.

Enjoy and let me know how it went!

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CINNAMON MACARON SHELLS

-205g powdered sugar

-190g ground almonds

-4 large egg whites

-2-3 tsp of cinnamon

-190g caster sugar

-1/4 cup water

-Candy thermometer

 

HAZELNUT BUTTERCREAM FILLING

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 heaping tbsp hazelnut butter

 

MACARON SHELL DIRECTIONS

Sift the icing sugar and almond flour into a bowl. Dispose of clumps.

Pour half of the egg whites and the cinnamon into the sugar/almond mixture and combine with a spatula until fully incorporated. You don’t need to be gentle at this stage. The mixture will become very thick. Cover with cling wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.

Add the rest of the egg whites to a standing mixer and leave them until ready.

Melt the caster sugar and water over medium heat. It should bubble softly for a couple of minutes. Do not stir or the sugar will crystallize.

Once the sugar reached 110 degrees, start to beat the egg whites on medium-high so that they become foamy by the time the sugar is ready.

Remove sugar syrup from the stove top once 118 degrees. This is pertinent to  achieving a chewy macaron consistency.

Slowly poor the sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl while the eggs are beating, try to avoid the whisks so it doesn’t fly the egg whites back onto the side of the bowl. 

Whip on high until room temperature about 4 minutes. Should be glossy and thick, the peak should flop over when you hold the mixer head upright.

Add a large dollop of the meringue into the sugar/almond mixture and mix with a spatula until combined, to make the rest easier to fold. 

Dollop the remaining egg whites in and gently FOLD by scrapping the sides of the bowl and occasionally cutting through the middle (as to not knock the air out). Consistency is absolute key. When ready, it should slowly but consistently ribbon off the spatula when held up. If it clumps off the spatula you need to keep working it. Do not overwork, if you do, the ribbons will melt back in with the rest of the batter - and this is why you may get cracks in the macaron shells with no feet.

Pipe onto parchment or silpat lined trays, attempting to make similar sizes. Print a template if you aren’t sure you can do this well.

Bang the tray plenty of times to release air bubbles, you will see a few come to the surface of the macarons.

Leave trays to rest for 30-60 minutes. Timing depends on dryness or humidity. You’ll know they are ready when you touch the top of the macaron and it doesn’t stick onto your finger. A skin should have formed. This assures the macarons will rise up, creating their signature feet.

Set the oven to 305 degrees F while you wait for the macarons to dry out.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, in the middle rack. Exact time varies by the minute if your oven isn’t calibrated. You may want to try some batches to see if one minute less or one minute more is better for your oven.

Immediately after the oven, set the parchment paper onto a cooling tray to stop them from cooking. Do not remove with parchment paper right away or they may stick to the paper a little and tear. Once cool they should pop off easily.

 

BUTTERCREAM DIRECTIONS

Add the softened butter to a standing mixer and whip for 2 minutes.-Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar, milk and hazelnut butter. Return to medium-high speed once the powder won’t fly up into the air.

Once nice a fluffy, add to your piping bag and pipe onto one macaron shell and sandwich with another.

Sprinkle the finished macarons with cinnamon (optional).

 

 
 
 
 
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No bake healthy granola bars

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I never like to skip breakfast or I feel weak and tired for longer in the mornings. But I'm also keen to get to work in my office and don't want to think about making a full breakfast. I tend to reach for granola or protein bars. There's plenty of choice in the stores, but there are simply way too many additives and unwanted cane sugar.

I stumbled upon a few granola bar recipes at home and tweaked this one based on what I had in the cupboards. I loved the result and felt it was definitely one to share! I'm currently eating a bar right now so I can vouch they are worth the effort! which I must say is still very minimal.

RECIPE

3 cup rolled oats

2 heaping tablespoons hemp protein powder

1/2 cup almond flakes

1 pinch of salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup hazelnut/almond butter

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Rough chopped dark chocolate

DIRECTIONS

Line a tray with wax paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, hemp powder, almond flakes and salt.

Add the the coconut oil, hazelnut/almond butter, honey and vanilla extract to a small pot over medium heat stirring gently, not to be brought to a boil, just until combined and smooth.

Poor the liquid mixture over the dry mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the dark chocolate.

Poor the mix onto the tray, begin to press flat, sprinkle more almond flakes on top, and pack down hard. If you don't pack firmly enough the bars may have more difficulty staying together.

Place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to set.

Enjoy!

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Healthy Dark Chocolate Rice Crispy Squares

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I desperately needed my chocolate fix this week that was toned down a notch. The summer has us on terraces, at BBQ’s and generally enjoying life too much to notice the sugar intake. I’m taking a more active approach to my diet because I know this will only get harder with Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas around the corner.

I love any chocolate dessert with a crunch, and who doesn’t love rice crispy squares? So here’s a hybrid without the processed sugar and butter that normally goes in. All natural, therefore friendlier to the waist line, and delicious as ever!

RECIPE

3 cups rice crisps (preferably brown rice)

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond, make sure to buy the one with only nuts and without extra ingredients, or make your own)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cacao powder

DIRECTIONS

Mix the nut butter, maple syrup and cacao powder together in a medium pot and heat over medium. Once the mixture is smooth and melted together poor it over the rice crisps in a large bowl. Line an 8x8 square tin with waxed paper and press the rise crispy mixture down firmly. Refrigerate for an hour and enjoy.

That easy.

 
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Banana Bread For Breakfast

Now and then you see a few bananas in your kitchen with an unappealing brown colouring. What do you do when life gives you ripe banana’s? Make banana bread!

There are actually plenty of good things you could make with ripe bananas, but I was craving a good old banana bread.

I researched a few moist options but there was always butter and/or processed sugar added. I love to cheat using butter but it really doesn’t have to be that way. With these tweaks I was able to get a moist, sweet, delicious banana bread that is healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

RECIPE

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

4 (medium size) ripe bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

Opt. toppings: dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a loaf pan and set aside, I use coconut oil and a dusting of flour.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the ripe bananas. Add the apple sauce and mix together. Next add the eggs and mix. Lastly, add the vanilla and maple syrup.

Add the wet mixture to the flour bowl and mix until just combined. No not over mix. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

 
 

Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

 
 

I made these on a Wednesday and didn't feel any remorse eating a pancake breakfast mid week, when normally I stick to yogurt, fruit, nuts and eggs. With so many great substitutions this was a no brainer! Almond milk for 2%, whole wheat flour for white, coconut oil for butter and natural apple sauce which gave all the sweetness needed! Indulging doesn't have to be a dirty word when it comes to dieting or clean eating.

RECIPE

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups natural unsweetened applesauce

DIRECTIONS

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.

Whisk the coconut oil, almond milk, egg and vanilla.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry and once integrated add the applesauce.

Grease a pan with coconut oil and cook for about 2 minutes per side over medium heat or until you get a nice colour.

All of the beautiful dinner ware thanks to Linen Chest.