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Archive for October, 2013

“Mmm, banana bread,” said my husband after taking a bite of these soft but hearty, gluten free, dairy free, banana pancakes.  These come together quickly using the Bob’s Red Mill GF pancake mix, although I also added some oats that I ground in my little Magic Bullet blender, along with some flax for extra fiber and nutrition.  This is a tasty way to use up a banana that’s about to go bad, or sneak some fruit into breakfast for the kids.  (It also contains applesauce!)

To simplify busy weekday mornings, I like to make a large batch of pancakes on the weekend and reheat throughout the week.  These also freeze well.  For best results, put a serving size (2 pancakes) in a quart-size freezer bag, then press out all the air (or suck it out with a straw, like I do) and freeze.  This recipe also makes tasty waffles.

Banana Pancakes

Since syrup is loaded with sugar, I prefer to make flavorful pancakes with just a hint of sweetness, so all you need to do is butter these pancakes.  If you prefer sweeter pancakes, just sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar.  For an extra special breakfast treat, drizzle them with caramel ice cream topping, then sprinkle with chopped pecans and top with canned whipped cream.  Yum!

Banana Bread Pancakes

Makes 20 5-in. pancakes

Wet Ingredients:
1 med. ripe banana (the riper the banana, the sweeter it is)
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (or a single-serve cup)
2 eggs
3 T. melted butter or dairy free margarine (if substituting oil, add a dash of salt)
1 1/2 c. original almond milk (or milk of choice, but I like the creaminess of almond milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake Mix
1/2 c. GF oats, ground into coarse flour
1 T. ground flax, optional
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Bacon grease (preferred) or coconut oil for frying
Butter and powdered sugar for topping
Optional – caramel sauce, chopped pecans, and canned whipped cream for topping

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, place banana that’s been broken into small chunks.  Add brown sugar and turn mixer on low, holding your hands over the top of the bowl to keep in any chunks that might go flying.  (The brown sugar acts like glue to help the banana stay in the bowl, but sometimes the little buggers still go flying.)  Increase to medium and mix until you have a slightly chunky banana puree.  (If you don’t have an electric mixer, just mash the banana by hand.)

Add remaining wet ingredients, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients to bowl of wet ingredients and mix well.  The oats will absorb some of the liquid while the griddle heats, but you can add more pancake mix or almond milk until the desired consistency is reached, if needed.

I prefer to cook 4 pieces of nitrate-free bacon on my griddle, saving the grease in the drain cup, then cook my pancakes in the grease.  It affects both the taste and softness of the pancakes.  However, I ran out of grease for my large batch, and substituted coconut oil with good results.  Just drop a spoonful of the solid coconut oil on the warm griddle and spread around with the spatula as it melts.

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This versatile cookie dough is perfect for times when you need a dessert but are out of gluten free flour blend.  (Yes, I said “need a dessert.”)  We made some of these not-too-sweet cookies for our trip to Yellowstone last summer, and they were the perfect afternoon snack while hiking, providing protein and fiber from whole grain oats to keep us going.  I was surprised that they stayed soft and delicious for several days.

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This recipe yields a lot of dough and freezes beautifully, so it’s handy for this time of year when you may need a last minute treat to take to a party or family get-together.  The chocolate-covered bar variation looks especially festive for fall when you sprinkle mini Reese’s Pieces on top, and is always a hit with my “gluten friends.”  To make festive looking cookies, just substitute M&Ms with holiday colors for the chocolate chips.  My nine-year-old daughter helped me throw together the easy dough for cookies this afternoon, then I pressed the remaining dough into 2 gallon-sized freezer bags set inside my 8×8-in. pan to freeze for later, so I can plop the frozen dough right into the pan to make chocolate-covered peanut butter oat bars the next time our “need” for dessert arises (a.k.a. next week).

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The cookies are fine stored at room temperature, but the bars taste best refrigerated, even though the candies on top may pop off when you cut through the chocolate topping.  (I call the loose candies the “mom tax.”)

Flourless Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter or dairy free margarine, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 c. GF oats (Winco carries cheap bulk GF oats, but they’re no longer labeled GF, so ask an employee to help you)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips or holiday-themed M&Ms
1 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips or mini M&Ms (we prefer semi-sweet chips for at least 1 c. of the chocolate)

In a large mixing bowl – seriously, it needs to be large – cream peanut butter, butter and both sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine oats and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and/or M&Ms.

Using a cookie scoop, drop mounds of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Smash down with fingers to the height of the chocolate chips, since these won’t spread very much.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.  (I like my cookies soft and chewy, so I prefer a shorter baking time and pull them out before they brown around the edges.)  Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Yields 2 dozen cookies plus one 9×13-in. pan (or 2 8×8-in. pans) of bars.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Oat Bars:

If using frozen dough, place frozen dough in a greased 9×13-in. pan (or 2 8×8-in. pans) and thaw.  Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  When bars are cool, melt 1 package of milk chocolate chips (or semisweet, if you prefer) with 2/3 c. chunky peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl on 70% power until chips look glossy, about 45-60 seconds.  Stir until smooth, heating for 15 sec. intervals as necessary to melt chips – don’t overheat or you’ll get frosting.  (If making one 8×8-in. pan, use 3/4 c. chocolate chips and 1/3 c. peanut butter.)

Pour melted chocolate over bars and immediately sprinkle with mini Reese’s Pieces, if desired.  Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, and cut into bars.  Store in the refrigerator.

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