Maple Ricotta Oatmeal Cake

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I went for a run in the park yesterday morning and it was beautiful. I’m so excited spring has officially sprung. It’s always fun to see students ‘sunbathing’ on the Columbia campus…hard to believe in just about a month I’ll be graduating law school and leaving academia behind. Winter was so long, it makes the few weeks of spring while I’m still in school seem very short!

 

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When I got home from my run, I was in the mood for an oatmeal cake for breakfast. I picked up a tub of ricotta cheese over the weekend to use in a polenta dish, and though I often use it in omelettes or pancakes, I’d never thought about other breakfast treats. All that changed when I went to whip up an oatmeal cake after my run yesterday morning, and instead of reaching for my usual Greek yogurt to spoon in, I went for the ricotta instead. I added some maple syrup to the mix, and this little ramekin of deliciousness became a Maple Ricotta Oatmeal Cake. It was roughly the same density as one of my other oatmeal cakes, but with a texture just a tad lighter and fluffier. I’m sure it would be great with lemon zest (which I didn’t happen to have on hand), like a lemon ricotta pancake – but with just the maple and cinnamon it was a delightfully dessert-y breakfast treat!

 

Ricotta and maple syrup and cinnamon, oh my!

Ricotta and maple syrup and cinnamon, oh my!

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My Favorite Pancakes

Growing up, pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts. My mom would make them as a special Saturday morning treat, filled with chocolate chips and topped with Stonewall Kitchen’s now-retired Strawberry Piggy Sauce. Pancakes at Sarabeth’s in Manhattan or my favorite diner in Connecticut were my birthday brunch treat, and my first year in college, the meal I ate before I went off to the airport for school each term to say goodbye to the US for a few months. (The UK one-ups the US by having a Pancake Day, but their pancakes are actually more like what we consider crepes). I’d have them topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with maple syrup, because I liked blueberries and chocolate chips, but why change a good thing?

When my wheat allergy was diagnosed, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy pancakes in the same way ever again. Part of why I liked pancakes was the way they conjured up happy memories of childhood meals, before any of my struggles with food began, and the special feeling of having a treat on an ordinary morning I got whenever a plate was set before me. It wasn’t that I thought gluten-free pancake mix would taste bad. I just thought the pancakes would taste different. Which is true, of course. But that meant I didn’t really eat pancakes for a few years, until I started learning to cook for myself and coming up with new recipes. Pancake perfection was a distant dream, but I began to try anyway. Remember that saying, shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars? Well, I’ve taken that to heart, because the pancakes I’ve arrived at might not be perfect, but they sure do make me feel all warm and fuzzy the way I feel pancakes should. They’re sweet, fluffy, and gluten-free, and more than good enough for me!

 

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Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! The traditional autumn blend of pumpkin, maple, and cinnamon can warm you up throughout a chilly winter. These are similar to my other gluten-free muffin recipes in their use of rolled oats as a base, but incorporating pure pumpkin gives them a slightly creamier texture and puffier tops. They’re also dairy-free and  vegetarian (and can be adapted to be egg-free and vegan), great to bring to school or work to share without any worries – everyone can partake! Or whip up a batch over the weekend and have them for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. Pumpkin Puffins are a great way to start off your day on a warm and cheerful note.

 

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum flour

1 cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s or Farmer’s Market Organics, but if you’re up to the task of roasting your own, I’m sure that would be fantastic!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

2 large eggs (you can also substitute additional 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp flaxseed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (this works best with the pumpkin, but feel free to substitute stevia or other sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking spray or additional olive oil

 

 

Puffin batter

Puffin batter

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12-muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly brush each muffin cup with olive oil.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well (roughly 8-10 good stirs) but be careful not to over-stir, or the batter will become too thin.

5. Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Optional: sprinkle a pinch of extra brown sugar on each muffin top.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Bumble Bees + Maple Trees = Peanut Butter Cups

Yesterday, I was snowbound in my apartment post-run since my school cancelled classes after 3pm and through today (in other news, even though it wasn’t really a Snowpocalypse, SNOW DAY!!) Of course, rather than use the time to get ahead on reading for school, I decided to organize the kitchen cupboards and test out some recipes. I was rooting around and found an unopened jar of powdered peanut butter that I bought on a whim. I’ve found it tough to bake with regular peanut butter because it sticks in globs rather than spreading evenly throughout batter, so figured I might try the powdered version. Turns out, it works wonderfully well as the key ingredient for these darling and delicious Peanut Butter Cups!

I tried out a peanut butter, honey, and maple combination first – ingredients from bumblebees and oak trees. Each bite conjures up memories of eating peanut butter sandwiches as a kid, then going out into a fresh snowfall with maple syrup to pour onto the snow to make maple candy. Now one Peanut Butter Cup gives you the trifecta of flavors that’s perfect for a snow day (it isn’t complete without the honey because even the the most devoted snow-lovers begin to dream of the summer sun when the world is completely white for awhile!)

Cooling off in view of the flurries

Cooling off in view of the flurries

 

 

Star ingredients

Star ingredients

Prepped and ready to bake

Prepped and ready to bake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

4 tbsp powdered peanut butter

1 tbsp pure maple syrup (NOT “breakfast syrup” or “butter syrup” – the real thing is the only way!)

1 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp applesauce or olive oil (I usually use applesauce rather than oil in recipes because I like thicker muffins and cupcakes and the naturally sweet taste, but in this case, I think the oil works better with the combination of ingredients. It is totally up to you, though – applesauce still does the trick!)

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray

Note: you can definitely vary the recipe, adding in some fresh blueberries (for PB&J Cups), tossing in some chocolate chips (for Reese’s-style), and apple and banana slices (since of course, you can eat peanut butter with these anytime for a wholesome snack). All work well, but you may find that you begin to lose the original combination of flavors if you toss in too many extras.

 

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Base instruction: when the weather outside is frightful, make these!

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg, yogurt, applesauce or oil, and vanilla extract and mix well, ensuring a uniform color and consistency.

3. Add honey and maple syrup and mix until they are spread throughout the batter (but you can still see the thick swirls).

4. Grease a 12-muffin tin with oil or butter. Pour in batter.

5. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.

6. Let cool. If you like, top with peanut butter (Peanut Butter & Co. and Justin’s have awesome honey and/or maple PB) as icing, and a few berries or chips for sprinkles. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day's end!)

Perfect for a pre-snow-day-adventure breakfast (half the dozen will probably be gone by day’s end!)

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Marvelous Muffins: Banana-Maple-Oat Edition

As promised in yesterday’s post, my recipe for the warming winter edition of Marvelous Muffins! I love the banana-maple-oat combination because it just tastes a little like the start of the holiday season, with hints of maple candy made with syrup and snow, and the cinnamon sugar scent that wafts from all Chrismukkah-cookie kitchens. They’re a perfect breakfast or dessert, and so convenient to grab and go if you’re on the move and have an oatmeal craving you just can’t shake but have no time to indulge! So, without further ado…

 

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins

Banana-Maple-Oat Muffins

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I love Country Choice Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats)

2 large bananas (roughly 8″ long)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sweetener (I use my brown sugar and Stevia combination but feel free to experiment!)

6 oz 2% plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-3 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Optional: sometimes I’ll throw in raisins or chocolate chips if I’m feeling decadent. I’m nut-free but if you’re lucky enough to be able to indulge, go right ahead with your favorite kind!

 

What the muffin batter should look like

What the muffin batter should look like

 

Instructions:

1. Chop up bananas lengthwise (in half) and widthwise (into 1/2″ slices).

2. Place bananas in a large bowl with all the other ingredients except optional add-ins.

3. Mix well until the batter is uniform. This should be about 12-15 good stirs. Don’t worry about completely smashing all the banana chunks, just get a uniform consistency. And once the batter is pretty smooth with the exception of banana chunks and oats, stop stirring – overstirring can result in collapsed muffins!

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

5. Let cool.

6. Enjoy!

 

Muffins in the pan -  two of them are raisin-topped for a raising-loving friend!

Muffins in the pan – two of them are raisin-topped for a raising-loving friend!

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.