It's been an exciting few weeks with my partners five-year-old starting "big school". There's been lots of organisation for his uniforms and the drop off/pick up routine, but also around his school lunches.
While attending kinder, his meals and snacks were always provided by the centre, ensuring he was supplied with all the nourishment required for his busy days of learning and playing.
Now into prep, that responsibility lies with us.
Making the situation slightly more complex is the fact that Riley has a number of allergies. Anaphylactic to dairy and highly allergic to eggs and nuts means we have to be extremely careful with the food we prepare him.
Riley is terrific though and enjoys a wide range of fresh and healthy produce. He understands his allergies well and enjoys his "vegan" diet that includes salmon, tuna, chicken and other meat products (We'll get more specific with him when he gets older).
When deciding what to pack in his lunches my partner was keen on including a freshly baked product. We discussed a few ideas before finally arriving at muffins. Compact, appealing to young minds, versatile and delicious, it was the perfect addition for Riley's lunchbox.
We got thinking about the flavour. Wanting them to be nutritious and free from all those artificial nasties we jumped on board with the popular combination of chocolate, zucchini and banana!
There are hundreds of recipes out there for this type of muffin, howev
er I needed to make some adjustments to these standard recipes to ensure they were also gluten-free (Sarah is Coeliac) and met all of Riley's needs.
I'm really happy with the outcome and invite you all to give this recipe a try.
1 cup Gluten-free plain flour
½ cup Almond meal
¼ cup Cocoa powder
1/3 cup Coconut sugar
1 ½ tsp Gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp Salt
2 large Bananas, roughly mashed
1 medium Zucchini, grated
2 tbsp Gluten-free soy/almond milk
½ tsp Vanilla essence
50g Vegan chocolate chips (optional)
1. Into a mixing bowl sift the flour, almond meal, cocoa, salt, coconut sugar, baking powder and bicarb soda. Mix lightly to combine.
2. Next take the grated zucchini and squeeze firmly to remove as much juice as possible. This will prevent it sweating out during cooking and preventing the muffins from rising.
3. Add the squeezed zucchini into a second bowl along with the bananas, milk, vanilla and chocolate chips (optional) and mix to combine.
4. Create a well in the middle of the dried ingredients and spoon the wet mix in. Fold the two together until combined.
Note: Depending on the ripeness of the bananas, the batter may be slightly dry. If so, add additional milk, ½ tbsp at a time, until a smoother consistency is achieved.
5. Place 9 paper muffin cups into the slots of a muffin tray and spoon the mixture evenly between them. Place into a preheated fan-forced oven at 165 degrees Celsius and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
Note: The muffins will be slightly denser in the middle compared to a standard recipe due to the fruit and gluten-free flour. This is a good thing and will keep the muffins moist after cooling.