Monday, April 25, 2011

Banana Brownie Cake (Vegan)

I bought a container of roasted carob powder about a month ago, and I have been trying to incorporate it into baking recipes.  For anyone who is already lost, carob powder is a caffeine-free, lower-fat version of cocoa powder that is frequently seen in vegan baking recipes.  Carob powder is sometimes substituted for cocoa powder in vegan recipes (both pure cocoa and carob powder are 100% vegan).  Everyone knows that chocolate goes so well with bananas, so I figured carob and bananas would mesh well together also.  This recipe from "Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen" inspired my recipe below.  All I changed was the amount of bananas in the batter (I added in one more in place of the applesauce), the type of flour used (I used white whole wheat flour in place of the brown rice flour), and the type of baking pan used (I used an 8" springform pan in place of the 8x8"  square pan).  I also decided to bake my cake with banana slices on top.  They become kind of funky looking after they are baked, but I think the banana embellishment adds a lot of visual interest.

Enjoy and feel free to modify my recipe!




-3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur's Flour is my favorite brand)
-3/4 cup carob powder OR cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1 1/4 cup mashed bananas (I used 2 large bananas + 1 small banana)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup canola oil
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

-2 small bananas, sliced into coins

Preheat oven to 350F, and lightly grease an 8" springform pan with oil.

Combine all of the dry ingredients with a whisk in a medium bowl.  In a separate, larger bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingrtedients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Spread the batter into the prepared springform pan with a spatula.  Place the sliced banana coins on top of the batter in any configuration you wish.  Lightly press each slice into the batter.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a cooling rack, remove from springform pan, and serve.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Peanut Butter-Banana Granola (Vegan)

Ever since I developed this granola recipe, I have been experimenting with it.  I love the robust flavor of all-natural roasted peanut butter--the real kind of peanut butter, not the synthetic, hydrogenated peanut butter America wants you to eat.  I'm so biased, I know.  A good quality nut butter should only contain one ingredient, nuts.  Why should a peanut butter ingredient label list five ingredients?  Does the name of the product, "peanut butter", inform you of this? If processed peanut butter manufacturers were honest to their clientele, I am sure their sales would be reduced.  The same principle goes for a lot of other food products.  You have to be your own advocate.  It's cheaper for a company to manufacture a product that is full of low-quality fluff and more expensive for a company to manufacture a product chock full of high-quality real ingredients.  Buying real food does not necessarily mean buying 100% organic.  It just means being informed and educated about what you purchase.  How can you do this? Educate yourself about ingredients, look for sales, only buy what is in season, buy in bulk, and most of all, read food labels.

Back to my granola recipe! So what did I actually change about my previous granola recipe?  I used a mixture of mashed banana, agave nectar, and peanut butter in place of the 1/2 cup liquid sweetener. To compensate for the additional wet ingredients, I upped the oats by 1/2 cup.  I also added in 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.  I am very satisfied with the end product.  Enjoy!


-3 cups oats
-1/3 cup sunflower seeds
-1/3 cup ground flax seed
-1/3 cup wheat germ
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

-1 small banana, mashed
-1/4 cup agave nectar
-1/4 cup all-natural roasted peanut butter, unsalted (I used Trader Joe's ©)

Preheat oven to 300F or preheat broiler to low.

Mix oats, flax, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg together on a large metal baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the agave nectar, mashed banana, and peanut butter.  Drizzle the banana mixture over the granola, and mix well to coat. Place granola in preheated oven and bake. Be sure to stir the granola every five minutes or so to prevent burning. Your granola is ready when it is lightly browned and crispy. Remove from oven, and cool to room temperature.

Store in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Flax Muffins (Vegan)

My gingerbread cupcakes with a caramel glaze and gingerbread cheesecake should confirm that fact that I love gingerbread.  It's true---I love gingerbread.  Unfortunately, gingerbread-type recipes seem to be reserved for only Christmas time, which is an absolute shame.  Making gingerbread-inspired recipes NOT during Christmas  is a choice that only you, the chef, can make.  I decided to make Isa Moskowitz's gingerbread flax muffins with some slight variations.  I used 100% whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour, blackstrap molasses instead of light molasses, and mashed banana instead of applesauce.  I also eliminated the recommended sugar and salt.  I think gingerbread is more of a savory experience than a sweet one; this is why I let blackstrap molasses be the only sweetener.  That's about all I changed.  Isa did a wonderful job creating this recipe, so feel free to view her original version.

Here is my recipe:


Yield= 6-8 Muffins, depending on how generously you fill your muffin tins.

-1/3 cup soymilk
-1 teaspoon vinegar
-2 Tablespoons ground flax
-1 medium banana, mashed
-1/4 cup canola oil (or an additional mashed banana)
-1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

-1 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur Flour)
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 Tablespoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a muffin tin with paper liners.  I always use a non-stick silicon muffin tin, so I avoid this step.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together soymilk, ground flax, and vinegar until thick and curdlely.  Add oil, mashed banana, and blackstrap molasses to the wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once, mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 22 minutes).

Cool muffins slightly in muffin tins, and transfer to a coooling rack when cool enough to handle.

These muffins can be frozen and eaten at a later date.  That's what I did!