Gluten Free Banana Bread Muffins (Refined Sugar & Dairy Free Too!)

Happy middle of October to everyone! I am yearning to create the feeling of fall, but our weather is really acting more like summer.... sunshine and heat! I brought out my vests and sweaters the moment September 23rd hit, but alas its been more like short and tank weather here in beautiful California.

One of the wonderful things I find about the change in seasons is that you have the ability to create a feeling around them. During the summer months I try to create a relaxed energy, ready to spend lots of free time poolside, eat the occasional ice cream, and let my hair run wild. Our windows are open, walks are enjoyed, and the beach is appreciated. When the fall arrives, the promises of apple cider, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything is more than exciting. We break out our spicy candles, look up stew and soup recipes, and of course.... bake!

Not much signals cozy fall mornings or afternoons quite like a piece of banana bread. I love the stuff... studded with walnuts and oats makes it even all the better. We have a constant supply of bananas in our home (my husband and stepson love them), so when we let a few become speckled with brown and black spots, I stow them away in a brown bag for these banana bread muffins. They are wholesome, filling, and super delicious. 


Nutrition Benefits!

Maple Syrup: A flavorful and rich sweetener filled with antioxidants, manganese, and zinc. (Zinc helps keep our immune system strong, manganese is a required co-factor for collagen production) The darker grades have the most antioxidants (Grade B varieties) and the lighter grades (A), have less condensed nutritional value. Make sure you opt for pure maple syrup, as many other varieties have added sugar and corn syrup that cause inflammation and disease in our bodies!

Oats:  A high fiber carbohydrate, oats are a great addition to your diet. Studies have shown that oats reduce cholesterol, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, enhance the immune system, and stabilize blood sugar. Pretty impressive! When buying gluten free oats, it is a well tolerated carbohydrate alternative for people who have trouble digesting gluten. 

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It also has antioxidant properties and helps in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins in your body, such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K. For example, proper absorption of Vitamin D maintains healthy bones and teeth and has been shown to help prevent disease. 

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And just a few notes for this recipe. For intensified banana bread, make sure you use very ripe bananas. I use the ones that are about a week past when you would eat them raw...very mushy and brown. Also, when adding in the wet ingredients to your mixture, make sure all are room temperature. I have used cold almond milk before and it solidified the coconut oil, allowing for large clumps in your batter. The oil hence will not absorb into the dry mixture and leech out in the baking process. No Bueno! Ah yes... enjoy these muffins! They are so delish.

Gluten Free Banana Bread Muffins 
by Stephanie Horning
These delicious muffins are free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.... but taste amazing!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 10 muffins

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats– blended in a blender or food processor to a flour
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
3 Tablespoons flax seed
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup almond milk, room temperature
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or walnuts, optional

Directions

Combine ground and rolled oats, flax seed, coconut sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt. Vigorously stir in the egg, milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the mashed banana and chocolate chips and combine thoroughly. Allow mixture to rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the oats and flax seeds absorb the liquid. Grease or line a muffin tin with paper bake cups, and divide the batter among them. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-22 minutes (12-15 minutes for mini muffins). Let cool and Enjoy!

And I couldn't help but share a picture of our newest family member... our son, Alexander Stein Horning. What a cutie pie!