Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that we’ve hopped right into 2016.  December already seems like a blur. We spent the holidays in Illinois with my family, where the nine grandkids (all under the age of 7!) created the best kind of chaos. James’s parents then visited us back home for more merry-making, and we then celebrated Juniper’s first birthday (how in the world did that happen?). That’s where these banana cupcakes come in, but more about them in a minute.

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Right before the holidays, I spent a week in December in Colorado filming a cooking class for Craftsy (if you’re not familiar, Craftsy is the fastest growing creative community on the web, offering hundreds of classes by some of the world’s best instructors). It was so much fun to be back in Colorado (my first time since college!), and I was so honored to work with the Craftsy team to produce a cooking class all about the blender. I seem to be the queen of appliances lately, what with my food processor cookbook and now a blender class, but, as you know, I’m all about tools that can help me get wholesome, made-from-scratch meals on the table quickly. In the Craftsy class, I tackle the ins and outs of using the blender to whip up nutritious recipes and meals, from smoothies and nut milks, to my family’s favorite dressings and condiments (ditch the processed stuff!), to soups, to a nutritious jam (no canning equipment needed!), banana pancakes and more. The class will be launching later this month, but I’m thrilled to be giving away a free class! To enter for a chance to win free access to the class click HERE.  I’ll announce the winner on January 18th!

Craftsy

Back to those birthday cupcakes! This was Juniper’s first experience eating cake, and I wanted to give her something that wasn’t too sugary in the hopes of allaying her sweet tooth for at least a couple more months (there’s no hope of preventing it—she is a Sizemore after all). I therefore made a simple batter which I adapted from Elana’s Pantry using almond flour, mashed bananas and honey. Ok, ok, so I also stirred in some mini chocolate chips, but Ella made me do it, I swear (did I mention that we Sizemores have sweet teeth?!).   Without frosting, they make for fantastic muffins—they’re ultra tender and moist, with a sweet, sticky top. It’s what banana bread dreams are made of. However, you can take them to even higher heights (literally and figuratively) by swirling on some cream cheese or chocolate frosting. Nobody had a clue that the cupcakes were naturally gluten free, or that they were kinda-sorta healthy. And, most importantly, little Junie loved them.

Banana muffins

I have so much to share in the next couple of weeks, including—LOOK—my cookbook has arrived! It will officially be going on sale next Friday, January 15th (cue my happy dance!).  More about that next week…  In the meantime, I wish you a joyful, healthy and happy New Year!

Cookbook

Banana muffin

Banana Muffins/Cupcakes

Made with almond flour and sweetened with honey and bananas, these ultra tender and moist muffins, which I adapted from Elana’s Pantry, are what banana bread dreams are made of. However, you can take them to even higher heights with a layer of cream cheese or chocolate frosting, transforming them into cupcakes.
Servings 10 muffins
Author Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups (6.1 ounces) almond flour/meal
  • 1 tablespoon (0.3 ounces) arrowroot flour
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scant cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil, honey, lemon juice, vanilla and mashed banana. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The batter is fairly wet, but that’s ok.
  4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups (an ice cream scoop with a lever is a great tool for this task). Bake 25-28 minutes, turning the pans halfway through the cooking time, until golden brown on top. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely (the centers will sink slightly). Serve unadorned as muffins, or top them with the frosting of your choice to transform them into cupcakes. Do Ahead: The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Tip: When baking muffins and cupcakes, it’s best to use a lighter-colored metal muffin pan, not a dark-colored pan, which absorbs and retains more heat causing muffins to brown too quickly on the bottom and sides. If you do use a dark muffin tin, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees and check for doneness early!