Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | gluten free | vegan

Mornings are hard. Let’s all acknowledge that and move on because I have found the solution: make a breakfast that you can’t wait to leap out of bed to eat! Cue my latest, and greatest, granola recipe: Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola! Get those bowls and spoons ready folks!Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI got very excited in a health food store the other day. I’m sad to report that this happens quite often, and not just in health food stores. The abundance of awesome new ingredients to try in a different grocery store has me busting into rhyme, and the taste of the first sweet summer peaches can induce worrisome dancing. If you’ve been around me and food, you have seen some manifestation of the excitement that comes from me finding something tasty or new. Anyway, what had me excited this particular afternoon was the discovery of buckwheat flakes! As in, buckwheat kernels that have been rolled into wholesome oat-like flakes, but not oats! As soon as I had a box in my hot little hands I just knew that I wanted them to feature in a new granola recipe.Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis gluten free, vegan granola recipe is an absolute winner and probably my best granola recipe ever. Ever. Just look at those clumps! I love chunky, clumpy granola and this recipe is perfection! It starts with a base of super gluten free grains. The aforementioned buckwheat flakes, which behave like oats in this recipe and provide a super stable base to build on, are joined by buckwheat groats (for super crunch), and raw quinoa. So much the crunch.Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTo these grains of goodness (actually, both buckwheat and quinoa are seeds) we add walnuts, chia seeds, mashed banana, a touch of maple syrup, cocoa powder, and a dash of instant espresso powder because some mornings we need to put the coffee in our breakfast as well. Granola is one of the best things to make for yourself. Not only do you save money but you can customise it to suit your tastebuds. This granola was exactly what my tastebuds wanted. It’s crunchy and interesting, every bite brings something different. There’s crispy bits and the slightly chocolaty binding holding it all together and it’s a not too sweet a start to your morning. I paired mine with tart protein-rich Greek yoghurt and some sweet seasonal blueberries. It’s also great for snacking on, or for dessert with a sneaky square or two of dark chocolate.

Come on folks, take back your mornings and get a great start with my Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola!Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola

Gluten free | Vegan | Makes about 5 cups | Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Note: If you do not require a gluten free diet, or you can buy certified gluten free oats where you live, you can substitute the buckwheat flakes for 1 cup of rolled oats.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flakes (see note)
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats (kernels)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup banana chips (about 100 grams)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line a large, rimmed, baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix together buckwheat flakes, buckwheat groats, quinoa, walnuts, chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa powder until very well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together mashed banana, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and instant coffee powder until very well blended.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry blend and mix well with a wooden spoon until there are no pockets of dry mixture.
  5. Spread out over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the wooden spoon. This will help the clumps to form.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Switch the position of the tray halfway through baking time to ensure everything browns evenly.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, break into clumps and mix banana chips through the granola.
  9. Store or serve and enjoy!

Mocha Banana Buckwheat Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you are looking for more granola inspiration check out these delicious nibbles around the ‘net:

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Gluten Free | Vegan

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little baked treats are made of. In my house, spice reigns supreme especially when the nights grow darker and winter deepens. Warm yourself by the oven and make a batch of my Ginger and Apple Muffins to share with some sweet friends.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWere you taught the ‘what little girls are made of’ rhyme as a child? I remember hearing ‘sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of’ now and again as a little girl. As a grown woman, I like to think that I have grown up to be a good mix of sugar and spice, but I just know my personality errs on the spicy side most of the time. Oh, and I have a surprisingly salty vocabulary (that’s what comes from being an ex-Navy cook’s daughter) that comes in handy from time to time (especially when you forget to use a tea towel to grab a sheet pan out of the oven…

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten FreeWhen it comes to baking I am definitely a spice lover. Opening each different jar or grating and grinding the fresh spices instantly whisks me away. Spices connect us to other places and times. The scent of cardamom is my Danish grandmother’s kitchen where abelskiver are cooking on the stove. Cinnamon is the bakery in New York where my best friend and I recovered from a long flight. And ginger, ginger is my Mum dunking gingersnap cookies into ice cold milk on a summer afternoon. Ginger is home.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese muffins are for cold mornings in the kitchen, tramping around in stocking feet and brewing strong black builder’s tea, chopping dusky skinned apples and waking up slowly to the aroma of ginger and brown sugar warming in the oven. These Ginger and Apple Muffins are damp and sweet from brown sugar and golden syrup and studded with chunks of tart apple. They bake up tall and generous and make a house smell like home. Invite someone over, anyone, these muffins are gluten free and vegan so everyone can enjoy them, or eat them alone with only a book and the slow-rising sun for company.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger and Apple Muffins

Vegan | Gluten Free | Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil e.g. grapeseed)
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 2 medium apples (Sundowner are my favourites)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking papers.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together almond milk, oil, golden syrup, and brown sugar until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Quarter and core one of the apples, and chop into cubes. Mix into batter until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin papers.
  7. Quarter and core the second apple. Cut into thin slices and place a few on top of each muffin.
  8. Bake muffins in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove. These are best eaten the day they are made, but can be wrapped in plastic wrap (once completely cooled) and frozen for up to two months.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies

I am a taste tester. Whenever I am in the kitchen you will find me with drips of chocolate on my face, smears of cookie dough on my t-shirt or apron, and a spoon (or clean fingers) deep in the bowl of whatever I happen to be cooking. I don’t try to pretend this doesn’t happen with nearly everything I cook. I blame my mother, in the nicest possible way, for this trait. She too, is a taster. Always willing to take a chocolate cake batter covered spoon off your hands, or to take a tester spoon of frosting to tell you whether the flavour is correct. She encouraged me (love you Mum!), so really my cookie dough addiction is her fault…

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I suppose this goes right along with the fact that it is near impossible for me to follow a recipe to the tee. I constantly fiddle with the amounts of ingredients, or substitute one thing for another. I think it’s the former food science student in me. And when testing, one must taste. In the lab, not so much, but here in the laboratory of my kitchen all is well and good, and tasty.

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cookies barely made it to the oven. A baking session after a run often means heavy taste testing is imminent and these were no exception. I know many people worry about eating raw eggs but I am not in that boat: I buy local, free range eggs and I have a strong healthy immune system, and with these Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies one needn’t worry anyway as they are gluten, dairy, and egg free – but never fear, they are not tasteless. I didn’t set out to create a multi-allergy friendly cookie. I was just seeking comfort on a Thursday night and happened across a vegan, gluten free cookie that tasted awesome. You can taste the tahini here, not in an obnoxious way, but in an earthy slightly salty, seedy undertone to the peanut butter sweetness. They are similar to shortbread in texture and small so that one should really have a few on the side of a saucer, a lonely biscuit will not be satisfactory. I tested the dough while I was making dinner. It was as hard to resist as Mum’s linzertorte dough (it’s the almond meal). I knew that I had something small, simple, and special from the first taste test.

And then I added chocolate. Just to be sure. And yes, I taste tested that before it went on the cookies too.

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten free | Vegan | Dairy Free | Egg Free

Use dairy free chocolate if necessary. Whitman’s Fair Trade Dark Ghana is my choice.

Makes approximately 18-20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 65 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Grind chia seeds in a morter and pestle or spice grinder.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together water and chia seeds. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. It will thicken.
  4. Add sugar, tahini, olive oil, peanut butter and vanilla.
  5. Using a hand mixer on medium beat well until creamy.
  6. In a medium bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  7. Add dry ingredients to batter and beat until just combined.
  8. Roll two teaspoons of dough into balls and place on prepared cookie sheets. Leave space between for slight spreading. Press down lightly on top with fingertips.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on top.
  10. Do not try and move these cookies immediately after baking. They will be very crumbly. Allow to cool completely on baking tray.
  11. Place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt by heating in 10 second intervals and stirring in between. Once chocolate is melted and smooth drizzle/pipe over cooled cookies.
  12. Allow chocolate to set before storing cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tell me, dear reader, are you a taste tester? Did you get it from your Mum or Dad?