Last Minute Banana Chocolate Chip Brownies

Happy 4th of July! I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post today but I whipped up these amazing brownies to bring to a barbecue and I had to share. If you’re looking for an easy, quick dessert to bring to a gathering, try these delectable bites of bliss. This recipe requires having a few very ripe bananas (like the stage before they turn brown) on hand. If you don’t have bananas, try an equal amount of apple sauce or dairy-free yogurt.

Last Minute Banana Chocolate Chip BrowniesFullSizeRender-19

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I always use whole grain flour for extra fiber in my baked goods, but if you don’t have it, all-purpose flour will also work)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use trader joe’s brand)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil or almond oil (or you can use vegetable or canola oil if you have those instead)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups vegan chocolate chips (I use trader joe’s dark chocolate chips which happen to be vegan)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a large bowl, measure and mix all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder)
  • In another bowl, measure and mix wet ingredients (maple syrup/agave, mashed bananas, almond/soy milk, vanilla extract, oil).
  • Mix the wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and stir.
  • Spray a 9×12 baking pan with non-stick spray, pour batter into the pan, and bake for 30 minutes
  • Allow to cool and then cut and share with family and friends!

 

Enjoy these chocolatey treats and have a great 4th of July!

-Jess

Fall in Love with Pumpkin Bread

Fall is my favorite season, partly because I love crisp, cool weather, but partly because there is just so much pumpkin-flavored food to enjoy! Last fall I made pumpkin spice muffins, which were good, but I needed to tweak the ratio of spices. This time I think I’ve mastered it, however, I made a pumpkin bread instead of muffins because I wanted to change up the recipe a bit more.

Pumpkin Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 1 15.2 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix–the two can look similar)
  • 2/3 cup dark agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional Icing Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tbsp. almond milk, or any non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. earth balance spread
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl, measure and mix together the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, and liquid sweeteners (agave & maple syrup)
  • Add vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, measure and mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and as you’re mixing, mix in the almond milk until the mixture is uniform
  • Grease a baking pan (I used a square pan, but you could use whatever shape you want)
  • Transfer the mixture to the pan and put in the oven
  • Allow to bake for 35-40 minutes
  • Cool sufficiently before icing
  • To make the icing: mix non-dairy milk, earthbalance , and vanilla on low heat, add powdered sugar and mix with a whisk. Remove from heat when uniform and allow to cool. Refrigerate if necessary.
  • Using a spoon, transfer a thin layer of icing to the pumpkin bread. You can either cut each piece individually and then put the icing on, or put it on the entire bread and then cut. It’s up to you.
  • Enjoy!

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-Jess

Blueberry Bliss Muffins

Something about baking makes me quite introspective (see some earlier posts here, here, and here). As I was baking these muffins, I started to reflect on how food (and really anything that brings us pleasure) is a lot more enjoyable when you actually work for it. It’s easy to buy food that other people prepare, but when you actually prepare your own food and take time to learn about what appeals to you, the result is a lot sweeter (…or saltier depending on the recipe 😉 ). Obviously, as the writer of a food blog, I’ve realized this quite a long time ago, but sometimes you have to remind yourself to enjoy your own hard work and recognize that the best things are things that you can imagine, work for, and create (and that goes way beyond the topic of food!)

Back to the muffins, the following recipe is full of fiber and antioxidants from the wild blueberries. If you can’t find wild blueberries, regular blueberries (fresh or frozen) will work just fine.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole grain flour (whole wheat, whole spelt, whole brown rice, etc. all work)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp. safflower oil
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used hemp milk for this recipe). Add more if needed.
  • 1.5 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup oat bran

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and oat bran together in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Add the oil, applesauce, non-dairy milk.
  • Add the wild blueberries (no need to defrost if you’re using frozen ones).
  • Grease a muffin tin or use muffin tin cups. Using a spoon, transfer the muffin batter into each cup evenly.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. The muffins will be ready when golden in color and if the “toothpick test” comes out clean (insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin. If done, none will remain on the toothpick after removing if from the center of the muffin).
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Enjoy!

-Jess

Sunrise Spelt Brownies

If you’re wondering about the title of this post, let me explain. I created this recipe while being awake at 6 AM which is just a few minutes past sunrise where I am, and thinking about how I really wanted a brownie. As a nutrition enthusiast, I realize brownies are not an ideal breakfast food, but a girl can dream and dreaming leads to creating. Make no mistake, these definitely aren’t a health food, but using whole grain spelt flour adds a bit of fiber. These brownies aren’t super chocolatey, so feel free to add chocolate chips or something else to add more flavor. FullSizeRender-9

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of whole grain spelt flour or other whole grain flour of your choice (use brown rice flour to make this gluten free)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 7 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark agave nectar
  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1/2 cup earth balance vegan spread
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Measure dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder) and mix together in a large bowl.
  • Melt the earth balance spread, measure apple sauce, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and unsweetened soy milk and combine in a bowl. Mix with a whisk or spoon.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Grease a brownie pan and using a spoon, transfer the brownie mixture to the pan, spreading with the spoon if necessary.
  • Bake at 350ºF for about 27 minutes (figure 25-30 minutes is ideal, check with a toothpick for readiness).
  • After baking, allow to cool, cut the brownies, and enjoy (in moderation!)

 

-Jess

Maple-Nut Chocolate Chip Blondies

FullSizeRenderIf you haven’t noticed, I’ve been in a baking kick for the last few months. Something about the colder months makes a warm baked good even more tasty (and I don’t think anyone will ever complain about the scent of freshly baked cookies/muffins/bars etc. filling up the house). My latest recipe is a combination of a few of my favorite things: maple syrup, nuts, and chocolate chips! I made these in bar-form, but if you’d prefer a cookie, you can simply use a cookie sheet instead of an 8×8″ baking pan. You can also swap gluten-free flour for the wheat flour if you’re following a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 cup regular white baking flour (or, use 2 cups of brown rice flour or gluten-free baking flour if you’re on a gluten-free diet)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. dark molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup earth balance vegan buttery spread (melt in the microwave)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (I found them at trader joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans and/or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup gluten free or regular oats
  • cinnamon (to be sprinkled on top)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and oats
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the maple syrup, molasses, earth balance spread, apple sauce, almond milk, and vanilla extract
  • Mix the contents of the smaller bowl into the larger bowl, mixing well until uniform in consistency
  • Add the chocolate chips and nuts into the mixture
  • Spray an 8×8″ baking tin or cookie sheet with nonstick spray, spoon the batter into the pan or scoop the batter to create cookie shapes if you’re making the cookie version
  • Top with sprinkled ground cinnamon and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool, cut (if you’re making bars) and enjoy!

-Jess

 

Vegan Gingerbread Muffins

Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean you have to get out of the holiday spirit! If you went overboard on cookies and other sweet things for the past few weeks but can’t get rid of that gingerbread craving, don’t fret. The following recipe is sure to delight gingerbread fans year round and because it’s healthier than a cookie and relatively low in calories, you can have your cake and eat it too ;). It’s of course vegan, and can be made gluten-free by using brown rice flour instead of whole-wheat.

Vegan Gingerbread Muffinsphoto.PNG-14

Ingredients (makes 9-12 muffins):

  • 2 cups whole wheat, spelt, or brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. dried ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if the consistency is too dry)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with muffin paper or spray with nonstick spray
  • Measure dry ingredients and add together in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Measure wet ingredients (molasses, applesauce, almond milk) and add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together well until the batter is uniform in consistency.
  • Using an ice cream scooper or large spoon, spoon the batter into muffin tins
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. The muffins are ready when a toothpick or fork can be inserted into the center and comes out dry.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!

-Jess

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

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Having some overripe bananas in your kitchen is a great “excuse” to make this healthy, vegan, banana bread. This recipe is equal parts nutritious and delicious, especially for summer. Bananas are high in potassium and with increased sweating comes an increased need for electrolyte replenishment. Eating bananas (in whatever healthy form appeals to you) is one way to achieve this! I consider this a “treat” to be eaten in moderation, but it’s a healthy one which is a plus. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, feel free to substitute the whole wheat flour for gluten-free flour or almond meal. Also, keep in mind, when using coconut oil in a recipe like this (and in brownies or bar-shaped baked goods), you may want to eat this heated up since coconut oil is solid at room temperature and will harden after cooling.

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (vegan)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or another whole-grain, or nut-based flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 overripe bananas (the bananas I used were completely brown)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut oil (I used about 3/4 cup. My final product was super moist, but coconut oil is high in calories, so you can adjust this based on your preferences and it’s not going to have a huge effect on the taste).
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate chunks (or chips).

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar together
  • In a smaller bowl, mash bananas
  • Melt the coconut oil in the microwave (in a microwave safe dish) for a minute (it will harden quickly if it’s cooled, so do this step shortly before adding to the rest of the ingredients)
  • Add the applesauce, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl
  • Add the mashed bananas to the large bowl
  • Add in chocolate chips and cinnamon
  • Stir together until well-mixed
  • Grease a baking tin or pan (I used a Farberware 9″ square baking pan)
  • Add the ingredients to the pan and heat for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean)
  • Allow to cool for a bit, cut, and enjoy!

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-Jess