June 25, 2013 Leave your thoughts
One of my favorite flavor combinations of ALL time is peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon. It’s creamy, sweet, and salty: what could be bad?
Since exploring a paleo-style eating template, I’ve discovered sunflower seed butter: a delicious alternative to my favorite spread. Actually, the two taste very similar: the only noticeable difference for me is that sunflower seed butter has a slightly smoky flavor, but other than that, the two are pretty much identical.
So why sunflower seed butter over peanut butter or nut butters? First of all, peanuts are not a nut: they are legumes. Like grains, legumes have something called lectins that stick to the lining of our small intestines—and over time, they can prevent the absorption of nutrients and reek other digestive havoc. Basically, they don’t want to be eaten; that’s why beans give people a lot of “tummy troubles!”
They’re also not great sources of protein like popular media claims…legumes are mostly dense carbohydrates, and if you’re looking for protein, you’d really be better off eating a piece of meat or fish. Granted, neither nut butter nor sunflower seed butter is rich in protein, either, but they’re lower in carbohydrates than their beany counterpart. You can read more about legumes here.
For a simpler reason, sunflower seed butter is very allergy-friendly. One of my best friends is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and when we were younger, she’d have to be extra cautious about what she was eating. If you’re cooking for children, or anyone for that matter, it makes everyone’s life so much easier when what you’re making is extra allergy-sensitive.
This is just my opinion based on what I’ve read—it’s subject to change, and you’re completely entitled to your own take! I still consider plain old peanut butter a much healthier choice than something like packaged chips or cookies…so if you get a peanut butter craving, indulging in a tablespoon or two certainly won’t be the end of the world.
Enough with this science! Let’s get into some food.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper or parchment cups. You can make these full-sized, too, but I personally think smaller treats are way cuter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 4 egg whites on high (for me, about setting 8) until soft but NOT stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, blend together 4 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of full-fat, grass-fed cow’s milk, nut milk, OR coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (1 1/2 if using coconut milk), 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
Add in 1 ripe banana and 1/3 cup of melted refined coconut oil and process until completely smooth.
Pour the ingredients in the food processor into the egg whites and gently fold with a spatula to incorporate. Sift in 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and continue folding until no clumps remain.
Scoop a little less than 2 tablespoons of batter into each liner, and bake until golden brown on top and firm, about 25 to 30 minutes.
This next step may seem a little weird, but it REALLY works for gluten-free baked goods. Gently remove the cupcakes from the tin, place on a baking sheet, and bake for an additional 10 minutes to help them firm up a bit.
Let cool completely before frosting.
This frosting is a snap to make and turns out light and fluffy every time. My recipe is inspired by Tammy Credicott’s Paleo Indulgeneces; if you haven’t read the book, you should definitely check it out!
In the bowl of a stand mixer on high (for me, about setting 8), whip together 1/2 cup of palm shortening, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, 1/3 cup of sunflower seed butter OR almond butter OR peanut butter (if you say screw paleo), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The frosting is done when it’s light, fluffy, and peaks slightly in the center, about 4 to 5 minutes later. In this case, the longer, the better!
With a spatula, scoop the frosting into a large resealable plastic bag. Zip it closed and push the frosting all the way down to one corner. Twist the top a couple times and snip off the corner about 1/2 inch from the edge.
Using a swirling motion, pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, continually twisting the bag’s top and pushing everything down towards the corner. Top each cake with a piece of freeze-dried banana and a dash of cinnamon, if you like.
Go ahead and bake these for someone you love. Even if this person has allergies, he or she will still be able to enjoy a delicious, healthy treat.
What is your favorite flavor combination? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!