Tutti Fruitti Breakfast Muffins – Flourless, Gluten-Free, Banana Almond With Dried Cranberries and Pineapple!

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Happy new year, everyone!  I hope everyone is well-rested from the outings, parties, and holiday madness in general.  I had myself a relaxing new year’s eve going out for frozen yogurt with my family, picking up some snazzy scrapbooking materials on mega sale, and stuffing myself with pesto pizza before settling in for some good old-fashioned new year’s eve tv watching.  Low key, but delicious, just the way I like it!  And here we are almost two days into 2012 with a whole year of fun things and opportunities ahead of us. 

Even though I’m looking forward to so many things in the next little while (I have a scrapbooking supply shopping trip in the works and some upcoming winter markets I’m excited about!), I’m really sad that Christmas and the holidays are over.  I know it’s because my holiday hoopla festivities got off to a late start this year and I feel like it passed by way too fast.  My Christmas and holiday clock is still ticking and I have an abundance of energy that I need to channel to the point where I still want to fill Christmas cookie boxes and buy Christmas scrapbook paper!  I was the one having fun Christmas shopping after Christmas!  If anything, I can tuck away all the Christmas ideas and things I didn’t get around to enjoying in 2011 and save them for 2012.

A new year means a fresh and clean slate and that means noshing on leftovers and using up some ingredients that need to be eaten pronto.  We had some super ripe bananas in the kitchen and because I accidentally bought one too many bags of ground almonds (which I told you all about here), it was the most opportune time to do some baking!  Enter a fresh batch of baked goods for the first day of 2012: flourless, gluten-free banana almond nutmeg breakfast muffins with dried cranberries and pineapple!  It’s the first time I’ve ever baked anything flourless and I was super excited to bake something entirely out of ground almonds.  Not to mention I was giddy over mashing bananas – it’s very therapeutic and fun! 

I had to convert almost all the measurements from the original recipe though because they were in grams as opposed to cups and spoon measurements and I improvised and changed things up a little when it came to the ingredients, but lucky for me, the muffins turned out AMAZING!  The original recipe doesn’t have much sugar in it and for good reason: the dried fruit is deliciously juicy and sweet in these muffins and the texture of the ground almond cake is wonderfully soft and moist.  It’s incredibly moist banana cake and they smell divine!  These muffins are definitely the kind you want to enjoy every morning with some almond milk or yogurt.  This was one yummy way to celebrate the first day of the new year!

Recipe for Flourless, Banana Almond Muffins With Dried Fruit and Nutmeg (yields 12 muffins)

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature (3/4 of a stick)
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (I only had 1/4 cup, so I used chopped dried pineapple to fill in the rest)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • juice from 1 whole lemon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (pure maple syrup does not have gluten in it, but check the label of your syrup just to be sure if you are making these for those who have celiac disease or who are gluten-intolerant)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure is best, but again, check the label to make sure there is no gluten)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • cinnamon sugar (optional; 1/8 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan (or two 6-cup ones, whatever combination you have) with paper liners and set aside.
  •  Place the softened butter, maple syrup, and beaten eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric mixer, mix the ingredients together until butter is creamy and eggs and maple syrup are thoroughly incorporated.
  • Mix in the baking powder, then slowly add the ground almonds, occasionally scraping down the sides until everything is combined.
  • Add the lemon juice, nutmeg, and mashed bananas, mixing after each addition.
  • Using a large spoon, fold the cranberries, dried pineapple, or whatever dried fruit you are using, into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin tin, filling each cup to the top.  If you are using cinnamon sugar (like me!), sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the tops.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.  When the muffins are cool enough to handle, transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.  Keep in a dry, airtight container.

*****

Recipe adapted from Banana, Cranberry, and Nutmeg Ground Almond Muffins on Calorie Count.

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A Tropical Party Kind of Cookie – Chewy Coconut Oatmeal Pineapple Delights

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I’m starting to see a trend with the cookies I’ve been baking – many of them have oatmeal in them!  This is highly amusing to me considering that I’m not the biggest fan of cooked oatmeal.  My parents love it but it’s one of those foods that has never really grown on me.  I’ll eat it, but I won’t love it.  So I don’t know if I’ve been receiving subliminal messages somewhere or if I naturally gravitate towards oatmeal as an ingredient in cookies, but I love the texture it creates in cookies, both chewy ones and crunchy ones.  These, my lovelies, are Pineapple Delights from Joanne Fluke’s Key Lime Pie Murder!  Chewy cookies with dried pineapple, shredded coconut (or coconut flakes), and oatmeal!  I mentioned these in my last Cookie Jar post when I blogged about the delicious recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies and between the two, I did enjoy enjoy the banana chocolate chip ones more initially. 

However, I soon realized what the problem was: the pineapple delights get better with age.  I’ve been noticing that with several different kinds of food over the past little while and the concept feels so foreign to me!  Since when do cookies (and any other food) not taste great fresh out of the oven?!  It’s true though, these pineapple delights are better enjoyed the day after.  And the day after that.  And so on and so forth.  My family and I were enjoying these cookies at their yummiest a WEEK after we baked them!  I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.  So don’t touch that cookie jar until the next day.  I know it’ll be incredibly hard. Wrap your hands with something if you need to.  It’s worth the wait.

Recipe for Pineapple Delights (yields about 4 dozen medium sized cookies when recipe is halved)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter, melted (4 sticks, 1 pound)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pineapple extract (or you could use vanilla extract)
  • 4 cups flour (*Deb’s note: I used regular all-purpose flour)
  • 2⅟₂cups chopped sweetened dried pineapple (measure after chopping; you can substitute the dried pineapple with any other dried fruit to change up the recipe!)
  • 3 cups rolled oats (uncooked oatmeal)
  • ⅟₂cup chopped coconut flakes (*Deb’s note: I used shredded coconut)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, rack in the middle position.
  • Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Add the sugars, mix until well incorporated, and let the bowl cool a bit. 
  • Add the beaten eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pineapple extract.  (*Deb’s note: Since I didn’t have pineapple extract, I used vanilla extract.  If you’re doing the same, add a little more chopped dried pineapple to the mixture.  I think pineapple juice would enhance the flavour as well, but you would need to add a bit more flour or oatmeal to thicken the dough up).
  • Mix in the flour.  Then add the chopped pineapple, coconut, and rolled oats, mixing them in thoroughly.
  • Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a sheet.  (*Deb’s note: I rolled my dough into balls using my hands.  The cookies turned out larger than I expected them to, so if you use the rolling method, make them a bit smaller because the dough spreads when they’re baking).
  • Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes.  (*Deb’s note: if you want them chewier, bake them for 12 minutes.  If your oven runs a bit hot like mine, do them for 11 minutes).  Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

These cookies freeze well if you roll them in foil and put them in a freezer bag.

*****

Recipe taken from Joanne Fluke’s Key Lime Pie Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2007.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 32.