Gluten-free Pear-Chocolate Chip Muffins

With my first post of the season, I would like to officially welcome everyone to fall! I feel like I should have said that back in August, since that is when all of the Halloween and fall merchandise hit the stores. For those who live in areas where the temperatures drop in early September, I suppose it’s not a big deal to have fall flavors pop up early. Here in the sunshine state, however, it still feels too much like summer, even into mid-October.

Thankfully, temperatures have finally gotten a little cooler lately, especially at night, helping boost those fall vibes. Even on the warmest days, I still couldn’t resist switching my protein coffee into fall mode the moment the pumpkin spice almond milk hit the shelves. Slowly but surely, the spirit of fall is sinking in, thus my transition into fall mode with my sweets.

This is my first fall-inspired sweet of the season. I know it does not use either of the traditional fall favorites, apples and pumpkins, but I did still choose a fall harvested fruit, the pear. I’m not big on eating pears raw because of my issue with their texture, but I love baking them into food for their flavor. These muffins showcase the pear flavor perfectly and when paired with dark chocolate chips….need I say more? Even better, these muffins are gluten-free and only cost 155 calories, making them a great on-the-go breakfast or healthy snack when a sweets craving strikes. I urge you to give them a try, especially when you begin to grow tired of everything pumpkin and apple this season!

Gluten-free Pear-Chocolate Chip Muffins

(Yield: 16 Muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats; divided
  • 2 ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon; divided
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 ¼ cups Whole Buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Pears; finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp. Dark Chocolate Chips (70% or higher)
  • ¼ cup chopped Pecans; unsalted
  • 2 tsp. Sucanat

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two standard size muffin tins with paper liners (16 total). Fill remaining empty cups with 2 tbsp. water to prevent the tin from warping. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, pulverize 2½ cups oats into a fine flour. Transfer oat flour to a large bowl and add remaining ½ cup oats, 2 tsp. cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk egg. Add in the buttermilk, maple syrup, and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in pears, chocolate chips, and pecans. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each liner three-quarters full. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, toss together Sucanat and the remaining ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/8 tsp. Sucanat mixture over batter in each liner. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Allow muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze and defrost when needed.

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Muffin

Calories: 155, Protein: 4 g.,

Total Fat: 6 g., Sat. Fat: 2 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 130 mg.,

Sugars: 9 g., Carbs: 22 g.,

Cholesterol: 14 mg

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: H. BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos. I feel like summer just started, yet here we are, about to officially welcome fall. Time seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye because the past several weeks have been busier than usual for me. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter returned to school (first grade) and my youngest daughter started her first year of school (pre-K). Next up was the return of Hellenic Dance practice for my oldest and then we had family come to visit. Directly after that we spent several days bracing for a hurricane that thankfully avoided us almost entirely. The kids were off school for a few days so once they went back and schedules resumed normal operation, I quickly began work on building new workout routines/meal plans for my fitness groups, which happened to include coming up with this delicious, healthy cookie recipe.

Since my gears are still currently in the process of switching from summer to fall, I wasn’t quite ready to nose dive into everything fall flavored. I wanted to make something that used the warm spices of fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but did not make apple and pumpkin the star of the show. I had a jar of organic pureed carrots that I wanted to use up before it expired so that became my starting point. This quickly led me to a craving for carrot cake, but I certainly had no ambition to make a cake with everything going on. The kids were begging for cookies so I thought, why not try making a carrot cake cookie.

To keep things plant-based and gluten-free, I started with a base of mashed bananas and oats. Rich and sweet, ripe bananas are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like potassium. Bananas also lend a creamy texture while binding the dough together, thus avoiding the need for eggs. To add more moisture and nutrients to the dough, I used a jar of organic pureed carrots. Although you could certainly use finely shredded carrots, I prefer to use pureed. Not only does it save a step during prep and clean-up, but it also blends more smoothly into the cookie batter, which improves the texture of the final product while preventing kids and/or husbands from detecting its presence. The best part is it doesn’t even take much of the orange root veggies to add a significant nutrition boost. The relatively small amount of pureed carrots provides numerous antioxidants and nutrients, with soaring amounts of beneficial beta carotene and vitamin A.

Therefore, if you love sweets and need a clean cookie that will fit into your meal plan/macros, this recipe is for you. When consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet, these cookies are a treat you can feel good about eating!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

(Yield: 12 Cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 4 oz. Jar Organic Pureed Carrots
  • 3 tbsp. Dried Unsweetened Cranberries
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add oats, carrots, cranberries, walnuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
  3. Wet fingers and scoop ¼ cup of mixture into your hands. Form into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with hand. Continue with remaining batter.
  4. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Extras can be frozen in freezer bags until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Cookie

Calories: 91, Protein: 2 g.,

Total Fat: 2 g., Sat. Fat: 0.5 g.,

Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 3 mg.,

Sugars: 3 g., Carbs: 15 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. VALPONE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019