Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Baking – ohh, how I have missed you. Ever since earlier this year when we learned my youngest son Beckett had food allergies (the most serious being gluten), I’ve put my baking on hold. Weekends used to mean homemade muffins and pancakes and biscuits, but trying these things without regular flour was more hassle than I felt like dealing with. It was unknown territory, and frankly with the baby, I didn’t have much time for experimenting. But a few weeks ago I wanted real pancakes and so I googled “how to substitute gluten free flour for regular flour” and was amazed by what I found – it’s actually pretty simple. Add xanthan gum and egg to almost any recipe and voila, you have gluten-free baked goods that don’t taste gluten-free. They rise and they have the same consistency. So with a new found excitement and hope about eating normal again, I’ll be baking – hallelujah, I’ll be baking! I’ll be testing out my old recipes and seeing how it goes. I’ll share my successes, and hope that if you are also gluten impaired that you’ll too be able to enjoy some of your old favorites again.

Gluten Free Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 very ripe bananas
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.) In a large bowl, whisk together bananas, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk and eggs until well combined (banana chunks are OK).
2.) In a small bowl, stir together flour, oats, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. Slowly stir into wet ingredients and fold in chocolate chips. Stir until just combined – do not over-stir.
3.) Pour batter into lined muffin tins (I use a scoop), and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 21 minutes.

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GF Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins4 Xanthan Gum   Gluten free multi-purpose flour

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Good ‘ole Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I get so excited when Brogan wants to cook with me, so the other evening when Brogan asked if we could make chocolate chip cookies, I said sure! So I changed dinner plans and made beanie weenies so that we’d have time to bake… it’s just fun to mix it up every once in a while!

I got brave with this recipe and decided to make it up on the fly. You see, I started really baking about a year ago, and I had always been curious about the science of baking and unconfident in my abilities to wing it like I can when I’m cooking. But a year’s worth of baking made me feel like I had a better understanding of what all the elements do, and so here you have my original chocolate chip cookies. They ended up being a nice mix of crunchy and chewy and we all enjoyed them. I took the leftovers to work and my co-workers approved too. I even had one co-worker tell me I should go sell my recipe to Publix LOL – now, I don’t think I’ll be doing that, but these are some darn good cookies. Hope you enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.) Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
2.) While mixer is set to low, add salt, baking powder and baking soda. Slowly add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until flour is completely blended in*. Add chocolate chips and mix just until they are equally distributed.
3.) Using a tablespoon, spoon rounded balls onto a baking stone, about 2-inches apart. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 14 to 17 minutes.**

Yields 3 dozen cookies.

*I know a lot of recipes have you mix the dry ingredients together first, but I didn’t and they turned out just fine! Save yourself a bowl!

**Using a Pampered Chef stone, it took mine the full 17 minutes to brown on top. If you’re using a metal cookie sheet, it will probably be closer to 14 minutes, so watch them closely.

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A little boy’s way to get cookies off the stone..

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

I decided to take my new mini-loaf pan for a spin this morning with a new recipe. The three browning bananas on my counter have been calling my name but I thought I’d go for something other than your standard banana bread. And as I was thinking about bananas, old memories of peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches came to me, and so that was my inspiration for this bread. I added chocolate chips, because well, I like chocolate, so why not?

The bread turned out really good. It’s moist, it’s heavy, and rich, and the peanut butter makes it stick to the roof of your mouth. My little taste-testers (Brogan and Beckett) also approved.

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

3 (really) ripe bananas
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.) In an electric stand mixer on the lowest setting, add bananas, butter, brown sugar and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Then add egg, vanilla, honey and buttermilk.
2.) In a medium size bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together and then slowly pour into the liquid mixture. Beat until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
3.) Pour into 8 buttered mini loaf pans or 1 standard loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven; about 30 minutes for the mini loaf pans and about 1 hour for the standard. Insert a toothpick in the center of the bread to test if it’s done.

Peanut butter banana batter

Buttered mini loaf pans
To butter the pans, I placed a little bit of softened butter in each loaf pan and then rubbed it around with a paper towel. The loaves slid out very easily.

Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut butter banana bread baked

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My little photo shoot helpers… can you tell they were ready to eat?

Photoshoot helper Brogan

Photoshoot helper Beckett

S’mores Cookies & Ginger Snaps

Every year around the holidays I have this list of things I’d like to do during the season. And one thing that is always on my list is to make Christmas cookies. To me, Christmas cookies don’t have to be decorated just so, but there have to be enough to share. And ideally, I’d put them in bags, tie pretty bows on them and give them to my neighbors. Well, it liked to kill me, but mission accomplished!

I have to thank Brogan for this feat, because first thing this morning, he started asking for us to make cookies. Since the hub’s new job means he works every weekend, anything I want to tackle Saturday and Sunday is done with the crazies. Brogan suggested we make chocolate chip, but found marshmallows in the pantry (that he wanted to snack on) and it made me think of s’mores cookies. So I took a chocolate chip recipe, subbed some of the flour for crushed graham crackers, added marshmallows, diced Hershey’s bar (and mini chocolate chips) and called it a day. The marshmallows ended up being pulverized by my KitchenAid Mixer, so next time I’ll probably keep them bigger (I cut the mini ones in half). The taste was still there, but you couldn’t really see them. Anyways, they turned out great, and I’ll definitely be making them again.

S’mores Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
4 tsp corn starch
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup diced Hershey’s bar (about 9 rectangles)
1 cup mini marshmallows

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy.
3.) In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to mixer until fully incorporated.
4.) Slowly pour in graham crackers, chocolate chips, Hershey bar and marshmallows, until mixed throughout.
5.) Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Yields about 4 dozen cookies

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Smores cookies Brogan

Smores Cookies

Next I made ginger snaps. These just feel like the holidays to me. Turns out that Brogan liked these the best. And between the cookies I gave him and the ones he stole when I wasn’t looking, this kid may have had a dozen or so today. And then of course he didn’t eat well at meal time. Oh well, we’ll eat vegetables tomorrow.

Ginger Snaps 

3 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
Sugar (for rolling the dough balls in)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, molasses and maple syrup.
3.) In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Slowly add to mixer and beat until fully incorporated.
4.) Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll in a plate of sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Take a fork and make two perpendicular impressions. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until sides are brown. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Yields a whole lot of cookies… I got about 60 but my first 24 were way too big (and ran into each other). If I had to guess I’d say between 72 to 80. 

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Smores cookies Beckett

 

And so I bundled the boys up, put them in their wagon and we went door to door saying Merry Christmas and handing out cookies. What fun! Brogan didn’t understand why he couldn’t say trick or treat… but he finally came around.

 

Cookies for neighbros

Day 5 – Chocolate War

So our elf got into a little chocolate combat with some of his friends last night…

5 - Chocolate War

While initially excited, when Brogan discovered that Max had used all of his Oreos to build his fortress, he was slightly miffed. Oops.

Click here to see what else our elf has done this year.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin and chocolate – the perfect combination.  I made these muffins for breakfast this morning and between the smell of these fabulous things baking in the oven and fresh brewed coffee, my house smelled like a pumpkin spice latte. Yum.  This is the perfect muffin to kick off the fall with – moist and sweet with the perfect amount of both pumpkin and chocolate, a totally decadent treat.  Happy fall y’all!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 14.5-oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans.
2.) Combine flour and baking powder and set aside.
3.) Whisk together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until smooth.
4.) Slowly whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
5.) Fill each muffin liner almost full of batter. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.  Yields almost 24 muffins (I like to fill the cups extra full so they rise above the paper, therefore, I only got 22 muffins out of the batter).

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Adapted from The Blissful Table’s Pumpkin Muffins

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We love cookies at my house – especially Brogan.  He loves to help make them, and he loves to help eat them even more.  Double chocolate chip has recently become my favorite cookie, and so I’ve been trying different recipes in search of the perfect one – for me, this one is it!  They are chocolaty and chewy and it is hard to eat just one.  The perfect accompaniment to tall glass of milk.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mini chocolate chips

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.) In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
3.) Blend in the cocoa, add the baking soda and salt; blend well.
4.) With the mixer on the lowest setting, add the flower about 1/2 cup at a time. Mix until just fully incorporated.
5.) Fold in the chocolate chips.
6.) Using a table spoon, spoon out the dough onto a cookie sheet or baking stone about with about 1 1/2″ space between each cookie.
7.) Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until center is done.  Let sit for 5 minutes on sheet/stone and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe should make about 36 cookies.

Recipe from Food.com