I was really busy this last week or so with work, uni assignments and life more generally – so much so, I found it too difficult to find the mental-space to think creatively about food. I’ve been surviving on takeout, bowls of sugar-free cereal (like this amazing one from whisk and pen), and pretty uninspired salads.
dried strawberries, coconut flakes, toasted pistachios, dried pineapple.. ohhhh heaven in milk
Overall, being sugar-free has been going pretty well – although it’s hard to tell if I’m feeling any better two weeks in because I’ve been battling a stubborn cold. I have to admit I’m eating too much fruit still, probably about three portions a day. I’m just finding it so hard to cut out! probably because I haven’t been organised enough to put together veggie-based alternatives, so that’s definitely on the to do list for this week.
In my sugar-free existence I’ve been thinking about baking a lot. I’ve been a bit hesitant because I hate the taste of stevia and other sweeteners.
Ignoring my over consumption of fruit for a moment, these muffins are a nice afternoon snack. The use of hazelnut meal makes these muffins pretty moorish and earthy; whilst the cacao nibs give it a bit of crunch. I found the flavours without sugar take a little adjusting to and I think you need to be a fan of that distinct nut meal taste. This is also probably because I associate banana and “chocolate” muffins with a big hit of sweetness. In my opinion, you have to use super ripe bananas to balance out the flavours if you’re like myself and don’t fancy the taste of stevia.
I’m really bad at measuring my ingredients and base things like muffins on feel and taste. I think the beauty of recipes like this is that they’re very forgiving, so you can add and subtract, swap and change, without thinking too hard about it all.
sugar-free banana, cacao nib and raspberry muffins
- 3/4 cup of hazelnut meal (or another meal of choice)
- 1 cup of plain flour (wholewheat or white)
- 1/2 cup of oats (quick or rolled)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup of raw organic cacao nibs
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 3/4 cup of oil
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup of strong coffee, cooled (optional)
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 1/2 cup of raspberries, chopped (frozen or fresh; other berries would also work well)
- stevia or other sweetener (optional, to taste)
- preheat oven to 180C, line a muffin tray with patty-cases
- place dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk to combine
- in a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients, minus the bananas and raspberries
- make a well in the centre, of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. fold through until just combined (be careful not to overbeat).
- add the banana and raspberries and fold through gently.
- fill each patty case 3/4 full and bake in the over for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean (note: they will be quite dark in colour due to the hazelnut meal and espresso)