BANANA “BREAD” COCONUT MUFFINS: “OMG, I can eat this?” series

OMG, I can eat this? aims to reconstruct your favorite No Go meals and turn them into delights you can chow down on without feeling terribly afterward.

JUMP TO THE RECIPE

 

Snacks. They’re a serious problem for me. Leave me with a pantry full of stuff and an hour and I will show you what “food baby” really means.

I’m actually fairly certain that a lot of my excess weight came from the fact that I would graze all day on ‘healthy snacks’. I justified this by saying to myself that I work out a lot, my metabolism is high and I can’t be hungry or else my metabolism would dip.

As husband would tell me, the other way to look at this is calories in/calories out. I was snacking so much and taking in so many extra calories, that I was really shooting myself in the foot. After doing an exhausting swim or what we dubbed a “psychosomatic” class, I’d be eating up those calories burned in snacks and then some – the net effect being weight gain. Such an annoying cycle to be caught in.

Massive first world problem here, but I HATE hunger. Seriously, it’s the worst. I feel weak, I get the shakes – I just never want to be in that state. So, how do I avoid it?

Two ways:

  1. I’ve started doing this thing where when I feel like a snack, I have a GIANT glass of water first (we’re talking like 600mL). I don’t deny myself the snack, but I drink the whole glass and wait a couple of minutes before I eat. Generally, then, I’ll be a little less hungry and only eat half of what I’d normally eat.
  2. I design my snacks around my problem.

Basically, I know that I like to eat a lot. I know that I hate feeling hungry and that I won’t be able to resist reaching for something. So, that something needs to be filling (protein- and fibre-rich) and relatively low on calories. The added bonus with these recipes is that I’m so focused on getting nutrition out of all of my food, that everything is packed with vitamins and minerals (or micronutrients), too.

So, first cab off the snack rank is a recipe that I adapted from The Coconut Mama’s blog. It’s an awesome recipe with zero grains and using coconut flour instead. If you’ve never worked with coconut flour before, it’s becoming more and more affordable. I buy most of my coconut products (flour, shredded, oil) from Trader Joe’s. Working with coconut flour is NOT like working with wheat flour or even rice or other gluten-free flours. It’s hella absorbant. It also lacks gluten, which is the stretchy stuff that makes bread dough so elastic and chewy. It’s high in fibre, protein and healthy fats and (obvs) imparts a beautiful tropical island flavor to whatever it is you’re cooking.

For me, the original recipe has a lot of sweet ingredients. As you all know, I don’t cook with added sugars of any variety. The sweetness of the bananas themselves is more than enough for me without anything like apple sauce or honey added. Obviously, my objectives are different to Tiffany’s, so I adapt: it’s what I hope each of you will eventually do with all of my recipes.

Instead of the apple sauce, I boosted the protein content by adding cottage cheese (which also gives it a hint of salt which all baking needs). I also just omitted the honey entirely. A tip for maximum sweetness from the bananas – the grosser, the better. If your banana is looking horribly sad, blackened and mushy, then you’ve gotten as much sugar to develop within the berry as possible and it can impart the maximum banana-ey flavor. If you want to cheat on this, freeze your bananas with the skin on overnight, then let them thaw out the next full day. They’ll become a gross mushy brown mess and you’ll be in the perfect position to cook ’em up!

The last little hack that I enacted was to bake the mixture in muffin tins. This reduces the time needed to cook and make easy, snack-sized pieces that I can quickly stuff into my gym bag on the way to work. I would also suggest adding some of your favorite nuts to the mix (walnuts, pecans or brazil nuts would work well) to add some good fats and up that satiety level.

This recipe makes 6 moist, sweet and spicy muffins that’ll keep you going throughout the day but not break the calorie bank.

Marge, the recipe’s here! Australian reference. Sorry, rest of the world:

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Banana ‘Bread’ Coconut Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Dry Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, nuked until liquid, if you live somewhere cold (Trader Joe’s has an excellent, affordable option)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas

Method (and a touch of madness)

  • Pre-heat your oven to 300F/150C. Grease your muffin tin with coconut oil (or whatever neutral-tasting oil/fat you have lying around).
  • Dump all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir so that it’s an even mixture.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mash up your bananas with a fork or potato masher. I like to leave some chunks of banana, so I don’t do too much work here.
  • Crack in your eggs and whisk everything so that the eggs are well and truly beaten.
  • Add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir, then add in the dry ingredients. Mix-a-lot.
  • I find using my hands with this mixture makes it easier to fill each muffin portion. Pile it up above the rim, these don’t expand that much. Top with extra coconut, if you like.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, checking toward the end that the tops have browned. Leave oven open to cool.
  • Once cooled, turn them out and try to resist them.

 

Play it cool, guys. If you eat all of these in one sitting, you really defeat the purpose. One. At. A. Time.

It’s difficult when they look like this on the inside, though:

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Just look at how moist they are (man, I hate that word). Just look at how… not dry… they look. You can see the little brown dots throughout that tell you that there’s a heap of banana in there. They hold their shape well because of the structure-forming egg mixed in with the coconut flour. The’re just plain moreish (another word I hate, but sometimes can’t avoid). One at a time, folks. One at a time.

Guide for the ‘arians:

  • Flexitarian – good
  • Pescetarian – good
  • Vegetarian – good
  • Omnivore – good
  • Vegan – substitute each egg for 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let is sit until it becomes a gooey mess then add it in. This gooey mess aids with the structural component that the protein in the eggs/gluten in flour give naturally to baked goods. Also, substitute cottage cheese with a vegan cottage cheese or cream cheese.
  • Gluten free – good
  • Lactose free – substitute the cottage cheese for another banana or stick with the original apple sauce.
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