Vegan Banana and Pecan Muffins

Not that long ago I was bestowing the virtues of silicon muffin cases and here I am again, well, um, bestowing the virtues of silicon muffin cases:) The main reason being the waste that comes with making these small but perfectly formed tasty delights. As much as I love all those pretty paper cases it does weigh heavily on my mind that it is kind of needless particularly now that silicon cases are available and can be used again and again. Ok, I know that silicon is just another type of plastic and can be pretty expensive to produce but it is a durable material that lasts a long time - so I won't need to replace my cases for hopefully several years. I figure that this is better than using paper cases, which probably don't come from a sustainable source and are ensuring the further depletion of our precious forests. But aren't paper cases recyclable? Well, yes, but I think that can be a little bit deceiving because recycling isn't as straight forward as we like to think. For instance, much of the waste we send for recycling gets exported to places like China - seriously! Surely that can't be more environmentally friendly than buying some silicon cases that are going to prevent this kind of waste altogether.

Look, as I've said before, I'm not saying I'm never going to use paper cases again but for the most part and for my everyday baking I'll be sticking to the silicon until my cakes begin to stick to them;)

Onto the muffins themselves. You might remember a recipe I posted for Nigella's Banana and Butterscotch Muffins before I went the way of Veganism. I really loved those muffins - seriously moist, seriously good. Here then is my vegan version minus the butterscotch morsels and in place of them some much healthier pecans. These could easily be breakfast muffins or a just a mid morning or afternoon snack. Whenever you choose to eat them they're sure to bring a smile to your face because these babies are mouthwateringly fabulous - no exaggeration.

Boy have my baking skills come a long way in the past few months. Before my vegan days I just didn't get baking - I'm talking about the quantities here. I wouldn't know how many eggs to use, how much liquid or the functions of either. Previously I had to follow a recipe if I was baking otherwise I'd be at a complete loss. Cooking came so naturally to me and it was a real frustration that I couldn't as easily wrap my head around cakes and cookies. It's a different story now though. I feel like I've been released from the shackles of traditional baking and I'm free to experiment with amounts and ingredients. A veil has been lifted and I suddenly get it:)

Another thing that used to bug me when I followed 'normal' baking recipes was the fact that they always made such huge quantities of whatever it was I was making. There's only two of us so I don't really want 24 of anything floating around because they're going to get eaten and 12 muffins in matter of days isn't exactly good for my thighs. So this is a double whammy winner because not only are these vegan muffins healthier by default anyway but the recipe only makes eight medium sized muffins or four larger ones, which in my opinion is perfectly acceptable for a weekly sweet treat.

vegan banana and pecan muffins

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 heaped tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1/4 rice milk

1 tsp oil (I used nut oil)

1 tsp white wine vinegar (cider vinegar would be excellent too)

1 banana

1/4 cup pecans

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 farhenheit. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl or cup combine the rice milk, oil and vinegar. Set aside - it may curdle a bit and that is fine.

Mash the banana and chop the pecans.

Add the banana to the dry mixture and pour in half the liquid. Combine with a spatula adding more liquid as necessary. You want a thickish batter so if you've reached the desired consistency before you used all the liquid then that is fine. If you think it is too thick then feel free to loosen the mixture with a little more rice milk.

Stir in the pecans. Make sure not to overwork the batter as the muffins will loose their lightness.

Divide mixture into the cases filling them half way up and bake for 18-20mins. Keep and eye on them - every oven is different and yours may be ready after 15mins. Insert a toothpick into the centre - if it comes out clean they are ready.

Allow them to cool before removing from the silicon cases.