berry desserts

Vegan Banana Berry Muffins

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Muffins are the ultimate portable breakfast or snack; just peel them out of their wrappers, pop a few in a bag or container, and go! We didn’t think it was possible to improve on the muffin concept . . . until we tried these Vegan Banana Berry Muffins—a fluffy, cakey delight bursting with sweetness and the bright flavor of berries. You can use a single type of berry—strawberries or blueberries, for example—for this recipe, but we love a mix.

 

Because overripe banana is richly sweet and works well as a binder in baked goods, this Vegan Banana Berry Muffins recipe calls for very little oil, and only a small amount of sugar. We’ve blended two different flours here—whole wheat for fiber and almond for protein and an extra zing of flavor, but you can substitute either with all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour (you may need to add more or less almond milk if you do this). Likewise, the nuts are optional, but we love their crunch and the added protein. The almond flour and nuts make these muffins a little more filling than those made with only white flour, so you won’t be tempted to overindulge in one sitting.

 

Serve these Vegan Banana Berry Muffins with vegan butter or cashew cream cheese, or a spoonful of lemon curd. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week, or in the freezer for up to two months.

  

Vegan Banana Berry Muffins

 

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Ingredients

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water)

3 medium ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar

3 tablespoons agave

3 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoons salt (pink Himalayan sea salt is our favorite)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

3/4 cup unsweeted plain almond milk or coconut milk

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts (optional)

1 cup strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, or a combination

Brown sugar (optional)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper or silicone baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, make the flax egg. Wait 10 minutes, then add the banana, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until fairly smooth, with only small chunks remaining.

3. Add the sugar, agave, oil, salt, and cinnamon and beat on medium to combine. Add the almond or coconut milk and beat until combined.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the almond meal and flour. Add to the banana mixture and mix until just combined; don’t overmix! Gently fold in the nuts and berries.

5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling completely. If desired, sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the edges of the muffins have turned golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a rack.

Molten Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cakes with Mixed Berry Filling

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Valentine’s Day has traditionally been associated with decadent treats like chocolate mousse, butter-laden cookies, and boxes of chocolate, or with cakes and tarts that require hours of time in the kitchen. This year, skip the lengthy prep work and extra calories with what might just be the perfect Valentine’s dessert: a lighter, simple-to-make Molten Chocolate Valentine’s Cake with Mixed Berry Filling.

 

You can put together this dessert using a short list of common ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. The best part? They take less than 30 minutes to make—including just 10 minutes’ active prep time—and look as impressive as a dessert at your favorite restaurant. When you cut into the cake, the berries provide a sweet, juicy burst against the velvety chocolate the ideal complement to a variety of romantic dishes.

 

For a lusciously creamy touch, spoon a bit of homemade dairy or coconut whipped cream over the Molten Chocolate Valentine’s Cake with Mixed Berry Filling. Serve with a fruity red wine or dessert port.

 

Molten Chocolate Valentine’s Cakes with Mixed Berry Filling

Makes 2 cakes


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Ingredients

A handful of fresh or thawed frozen mixed berries

2 teaspoons raspberry, blackberry, or strawberry preserves

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup applesauce

1 tablespoon melted butter or vegan butter

2 1/2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heaping 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons organic unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch Himalayan or sea salt

2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips, melted

2 chunks good-quality dark chocolate

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two slots in a muffin tin with butter or vegan butter, and coat with a small amount of cocoa powder. Shake the tin to cover the slots completely, then shake out the excess. Alternatively, line the slots with reusable silicone muffin liners.

2. In a small bowl, coarsely mash the berries with the berry preserves.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the vinegar and almond milk. Allow the milk to curdle for 5 minutes.

4. Add the applesauce, butter or vegan butter, sugar, and vanilla, and beat with a mixer or a whisk until foamy. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and mix until free from large lumps. Do not overmix. Fold in the melted semisweet chocolate.

5. Fill each of the two muffin slots two-thirds full with batter. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the mixed berries in the center of the batter, and top with a chocolate chunk; gently press the chocolate into the berry mixture. Fill the remainder of the muffin slot with cake batter.

6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cake have begun to pull away from the muffin tin and the top of the cake is mostly dry. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

7. Using a butter knife, gently loosen the edges of the cake from the tin. Top the tin with an upside-down plate and carefully invert, allowing the cakes to dislodge from the tin. Carefully transfer to individual plates. If desired, top with whipped cream, powdered sugar, or fudge sauce.