Sunday, April 14, 2013

Strawberries and Sunshine

It's 4:10pm on Sunday and the sun is peaking around the clouds. It will probably fade in awhile, but I'll take what I can get. Even though spring has officially arrived (despite the snow we got last week!), the air is still damp with that winter chill that has yet to be shaken from the city. During our walk today, I still saw glimpses of thick woolly scarves, mitts, winter tuques and children sipping hot chocolate.

No matter. Chilly days make for great baking days, and although the air was warmer today, I still felt the need to turn on the oven and bake up something warm, sweet and soothing. Plus, I wanted to use my new colourful silicone baking cups! I thought I'd usher in spring a little faster by baking with strawberries -- no local ones in the market yet, so I made do with Californian ones. But if your freezer is filled with bags of berries from last summer, that's probably a nicer way to go.

These muffins come together quickly -- oats and spelt flour give it a hearty good-for-you texture and taste, and the banana and maple syrup naturally sweetens them up perfectly. A sprinkling of raw sugar on top and we're ready for a Sunday afternoon coffee break or movie marathon. It's also the perfect energy-packed snack to bring with you on an early spring hike, or the first biking adventure after the winter.

 It's 4:17 and what did I tell ya? The sun is slowly fading behind the clouds again, but now I've go muffins, so all is still well.

Vegan Strawberry Banana Muffins
adapted from That's so Vegan
makes 12 muffins, or 6 muffins and 1 mini loaf

1 banana, mashed
2 tablespoons of safflower oil (or canola .. btw, I switched to safflower after a bad canola experience)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of soy or almond milk
1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extrtact
2/3 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of spelt flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of chopped strawberries
1-2 tablespoons of raw sugar

1. Whisk together the banana, oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla until well combined. Add the oats, mix well and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now would be a good time to wash, hull and chop your strawberries.

2. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.

3. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins and sprinkle raw sugar on top. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until the tops are nice and golden and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

4. Enjoy!

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