RECIPE | a perfect late start and banana muffins

Vegan & Gluten-Free Banana Date Muffins
While there are many slightly over-the-top suggestions in Monocle’s guide to improve the way you live (Greenland ice in a G&T “if the bergs happen to be passing nearby?"), I strongly agree with point #32: a perfect late start. Good coffee and a homemade muffin leisurely consumed while reading “a good stack" of magazines (#34) is an ideal start to a Sunday morning. And much more relaxing than queuing for an hour at the brunch spot du jour.

These muffins were my first attempt at gluten-free and vegan baking (although I did add some organic whole milk when I ran out of almond milk 1/3 cup in, shhh…) and they turned out pretty tasty. I will try them again with applesauce and with some added chocolate. Because any lazy morning improves even more with chocolate.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Muffins
Adapted from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow

2 cups gluten-free flour plus 1 tablespoon (if the flour doesn’t include xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
A pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp each ground ginger and cardamom
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or applesauce)
1/2 cup maple syrup (or honey)
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pitted and chopped dried dates
1/4 cup roughly chopped pumpkin seeds, plus about 3 tablespoons for the tops of the muffins

Preheat the oven to 400˚F (205˚C) and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil. Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl. Combine the bananas, olive oil (or applesauce), honey (or maple syrup), almond milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl or food processor. Mix the dry and the wet ingredients thoroughly. Toss the dates and the 1/4 cup of chopped pumpkin seeds with the extra tablespoon of flour (this supposedly keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, but I skipped this step without issue) and fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with a pinch of the extra pumpkin seeds. Bake until the muffins are browned and a toothpick comes out clean, 11-13 minutes.

Serves: 12
Time to table: 35 minutes

Paltrow suggests using maple syrup, but the flavour did not come through enough to justify the expense if you are not vegan. /// I used the food processor to chop the dates and pumpkin seeds to save on clean-up time. /// The original recipe suggests baking for 20 to 25 minutes, but the first time I made these, my muffins were already overbaked after 16 minutes.

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