Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread (Cheat)

Guys I’m dying and my mouth is in food heaven. This shortbread oh em geee.

  

I’ll probably regret eating 4 of these decadent shortbread cookies later on when I’m having roast duck for dinner, but I couldn’t help it! There is just layer upon layer of flavor and texture and I can’t stop eating them.

When these first came out of the oven, I had to will every atom in me not to grab the whole chunk of shortbread and eat it straight away. It smelled so amazing. Then, I had to torture myself with letting the damn thing cool (not before eating a few crumbs first, of course).

Of course, I couldn’t help but eat a cookie as I was dipping the others in chocolate. The shortbread itself was soo amaaziinnggg. It was perfectly buttery and flaky and left behind a gentle saltiness that made me swoon. Not to mention, the salt brought out the undeniable flavor of pistachio. The pistachio itself offered a delicate crunch that differed in texture from the shortbread. I was blown away.

Then, I ate the shortbread dipped in chocolate, and my world changed again. The chocolate paired so beautifully with the shortbread and the pistachio and the saltiness and it was so decadent and delicious and perfect and I honestly have no words. My babbling is a lame attempt at conveying to you exactly how foodgasm these shortbread cookies are.

You’d think, “it’s just shortbread”, but no, these are the ultimate shortbread. Better than any shortbread you’ve ever had before. I can guarantee.

By the way, in the unlikely event that you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a month – I’ve been busy stressing out about my final IB exams in May, so I haven’t really had the chance to bake much, not to mention take photos/edit photos/write posts. Anyways, after my exams end, hopefully I’ll find the time then to bake up a storm in my kitchen to make up for all the time lost. In the meantime, wish me luck and enjoy these shortbread cookies xx

Chocolate-Dipped Pistachio Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (150g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/8 cup (25g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (140g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (50g) finely chopped toasted pistachios
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth. Beat in both sugars until smooth.
  3. Gradually mix in the vanilla, salt, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is fully combined and forms a crumbly dough
  4. Mix in 2/3 of the chopped pistachios
  5. Line an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and press the dough tightly into the pan
  6. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes until lightly browned
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Cut the shortbread into wedges while it’s still warm. Allow the shortbread to cool completely before dipping into chocolate.
  8. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring in between intervals until it’s completely melted
  9. Dip the shortbread into the chocolate and sprinkle with remaining pistachio and sea salt. Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Clean)

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Happy New Year, everyone! (yes, I know, it’s been like two weeks but still).

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I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year’s. I definitely did. I spent the first Christmas at home for as long as I can remember. It was full of good food and good times and was probably one of the best ones ever.

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Now, it’s back to school. To be fair, workload was alright in the first week back, but I’m also training for a swim meet, which requires waking up early sometimes and leaves me tired all the time. So, you could probably guess (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know) that I’ve been pretty lazy with breakfast and food in general these days. I’ve just grabbed a Squarebar and a couple bread rolls for breakfast, but also – these cookies!

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I’ve always had my doubts with making healthy cookies. Cookies are just so technical, but these turned out beautifully. They aren’t super sweet, so they make a perfect on-the-go snack. I’d definitely want to have a batch of these in my fridge at all times. They’re healthy and delicious and studded with chocolate and they’re perfect.

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These cookies are soft, but hold their shape very well. They’re also slightly chewy thanks to the added oats.

And of course, chocolate makes everything better, so there’s that…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In another bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and egg together until smooth
  4. Mix in the mashed banana
  5. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, before folding in the oats and chocolate chips
  6. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheet, flattening them down slightly
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until edges are golden brown

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks (Clean)

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Ooh been a while since I’ve posted a muffin recipe. Been a while since I’ve posted at all, to be honest. Sorry about that, end of semesters are always ridiculously chaotic, but at least Winter Break is just around the corner! One more day!!

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Let me start off talking about the muffins so that you can skip directly to the recipe later without having to read all my random rambling.

I’ve made plenty of muffins in my life, and I have to say, that this is one of my all-time favourites. The crumb is absolutely perfect. It’s not dense, and it doesn’t fall apart when you bite. It’s soft and light and perfect.

And the flavour! It has a very distinctive banana bread flavour, but these are just so much easier. With banana bread, you have to wait over an hour for the banana bread to bake! With these, you need less than 20. Not to mention, muffins are the perfect snack size and easier to bring along as a to-go snack or even breakfast.

But of course, my favourite part would have to be the chocolate. I have a rule when it comes to muffins with chocolate in them. I either eat them cold – straight out of the fridge, or hot – microwaved or baked. When the muffins come straight out of the fridge, the chocolate chunks become so distinct in their tempered texture, demanding you to notice the chocolate chunks and appreciate them fully. On the other hand, when the chocolate chunks turn into melty globs of perfection…well then, they’re melty globs of perfection. It’s quite simple, really.

I happened to have hazelnut dark chocolate on hand, which I thought would add texture and contribute a nutty texture, and I’m really glad I did. Nevertheless, if hazelnuts aren’t your thing, then dark chocolate works fine as well.

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I’m so excited for break. Like, so excited. It’ll be the first time in forever that I’ve spent Christmas at home, and it’ll be extra special now because my family is rarely together nowadays. My brother’s off at university and my dad comes home once every two weeks because he was relocated. My mom is really excited too, going out and buying all sorts of Christmas decorations and gifts while I plan all the Christmas activities and movies and desserts. It’s going to be a good one.

And of course, this weekend my friends and I are going to have the best time ever. They’re both leaving quite early on in the break, so we’re making the most of this weekend – movie nights, visiting TianAnMen square, dinner dates, hot pot…

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If you’re still reading this, which I doubt many of you are, I have a question for you: Would you rather know how you die or when you die?

My friends and I were discussing the question. One friend and I wanted to know when, and the other wanted to know how. It’s an interesting topic and a question worth discussing.

I’d rather know when I die. My reasoning was that I would be able to truly cherish my last moments, whereas, if I knew how I would die, I’d just be paranoid of everything relating to that. For instance, if I knew that I would die by getting hit by a car, I’d just have a fear of cars for the rest of my life.

But then I asked someone else while walking home and he said that he’d rather not know anything about his death. I can’t believe it hadn’t crossed my mind, but as soon as he pointed it out, I realized that it’s not necessarily a good thing to know anything about your death.

If I did know when I would die, I’d see my life as a ticking bomb. I’d feel guilty every second I don’t do something “meaningful” and I’d live in constant terror of finding meaning to life. It’s better to just sit back and go with the flow. Enjoy life, friends xx

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Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 3 large bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used hazelnut dark chocolate)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 350 degrees F
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg and coconut sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, coconut oil, and mashed bananas until combined
  4. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined
  5. Stir in the milk and mix until just combined
  6. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate
  7. Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full with batter. (Optional: Place a very thinly sliced banana slice on top of the muffin and a little chopped chocolate before baking)
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden. Remove and let cool

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers (Cheat)

Happy birthday, Mommy!! ❤

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I made these cupcakes a couple of days ago for a bake sale, but the main reason I made cupcakes was so that I could reserve three of them for today – my mom’s birthday. I don’t like making small-batch cupcakes because making a batch of 24 cupcakes requires the same effort as making 3. (Hence, why I always make cupcakes for bake sales).

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This is the first time that I’ve used chocolate cupcake toppers, but it definitely won’t be the last. They’re deceivingly easy to make, and they look gorgeous! They take the cupcakes to a whole new level, while only requiring an extra 5 minutes.

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I forgot to take photos while I was making the chocolate toppers, but basically, you just melt down some dark chocolate and pipe it out on parchment paper. If you’ve melted the chocolate gently, they should harden at room temperature and peel off easily, giving you these beaautiful cupcake toppers!

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There are so many things that you can pipe out using the chocolate. I stuck to some simple shapes. I used stars, hearts, flowers, the little thingy in the photo below, and random squiggles. Next time, I’d definitely try words and maybe I’ll challenge myself to piping out a puppy or something. We’ll see~

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With the frosting, feel free to choose any color you wish! I like the way that the pink contrasts with the darkness of the chocolate, but I’m sure that blue would be gorgeous as well.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 280g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 240ml  milk, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • *400g-600g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel food colouring of choice

For the chocolate cupcake-toppers:

  • 100g dark chocolate

*To taste

Method

  1. For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  3. Add in the butter and beat until the mixture has a sandy consistency
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until combined
  5. Pour half the milk mixture in with the flour and beat on high speed until smooth
  6. Gently mix in the rest of the milk mixture until jut combined. Do not over mix
  7. Transfer the mixture into a lined cupcake tin and bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  8. For the frosting, in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy
  9. Beat in the powdered sugar for 5 minutes or so, before adding the whipping cream and vanilla extract and beating for another minute
  10. For the chocolate cupcake-toppers, chop or break the dark chocolate into equal-sized chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl
  11. Microwave the chocolate for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each interval so that the chocolate heats evenly. When the chocolate has 80-90% melted, stir the chocolate until it’s fully melted
  12. Transfer the melted chocolate into a piping bag or into a sandwich bag with a TINY corner cut off
  13. Pipe designs of your choice onto a sheet of parchment paper. Allow to harden before carefully removing and placing on your frosted cupcakes. Enjoy!

Best Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Cheat)

I don’t bake with fruit much, but bananas are an exception.

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Banana bread and banana cakes – I could never get enough.

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I had such a difficult time letting the cake cool enough to be frosted. As soon as I took the beautifully baked cake out of my oven, the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of banana cake. It might not sound that appealing, but trust me, it took so much mental effort to not eat the entire cake right there and then. It smelled that good. It was honestly driving me crazy, and I went on this rampage around the house, desperately trying to find something to satisfy my cravings so that I wouldn’t eat the cake before frosting it. I was so keen on eating banana cake that I didn’t even want chocolate truffles, and let me tell you – I never turn down chocolate truffles…well, until now.

Finally, I had no other choice but to eat something completely different. I microwaved a plate of homemade dumplings leftover from yesterday, covered them in vinegar (I love vinegar), and ran away from the banana-scented kitchen. At last, my taste buds had calmed down and I could focus on other things again as my banana cake cooled in the kitchen.

Soon enough, my cravings started up again and I figured it was time to frost the cake up and start eating.

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I think I knew how good this cake was going to be, but nevertheless, tasting it for the first time blew me away. The banana cake is everything you’d want a cake to be. It had a crumb similar to banana bread, only fluffier. The flavour of banana was definitely there, and it paired so beautifully with the cream cheese frosting. I mean, the cake itself was amazing, but the cake and the frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly. It was a perfect combination of flavours and I’m so in love.

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Oh, and in case you were wondering, the cake was gone within two days. It was that good.

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Best Banana Cake

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt
  3. In another bowl, use an electric hand mixer or in a stand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until creamed together
  4. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, before adding in the mashed bananas
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, 1/3 of a time and alternating with the buttermilk (Stir in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, stir in 1/3 of the buttermilk, and repeat with the remaining). Do not over mix
  6. Spread the batter into a greased and/or lined 9×13 inch baking pan and bake for around 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting
  7. For the frosting, using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes
  8. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving
  9. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days

Chunky Coconut Granola (Clean)

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How is it already Saturday? I was so looking forward to using this October break productively. I was going to finish all my college essays and come up with a Math IA topic and finish my Extended Essay and study for my upcoming math integration test and my psychology socio-cultural level of analysis test and get started on writing my psych IA and oh god I’ve done nothing. Well, then again, I didn’t do nothing. I mean, I did watch more movies than I’d normally watch in half a year, and I finished a book. Oh – and I ate a lot of food. That counts for something, right?

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I just read my first Lee Child book – Killing Floor. It’s the first book in the Jack Reacher series and I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe the book just wasn’t as good as it’s hyped up to be. I watched the movie afterwards, which was based on a different book in the series, and I feel like I could pretty much predict aspects of every story in the series. Always has to be a damsel in distress (or any hostage really), a betrayal, a car being tailed, and Reacher shoving his thumbs in someone’s eyes. Has anyone read the whole series? Am I close?

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Oops I haven’t even told you anything about this recipe yet. I’m tired and cold. Forgive me.

Now, I have a lot of granola recipes, but this one is definitely a favourite. I’m not usually the biggest fan of coconut-flavored things, but this is seriously amazing. The granola is suuper chunky. You know granola’s gonna be chunky when the whole sheet of it just sticks together and you can break it into chunks as big as you’d like. Check this out (warning – bad quality phone pictures incoming):

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“Is that what I think it is?” YES. It’s a giant sheet of granola. You could’ve broken it in half and called it reaaally chunky granola.

Point is, this granola gives you the clusters of your dreams, and is infused with such an aromatic and sweet coconut flavour that you will not be able to resist.

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Chunky Coconut Granola

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (135g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (40g) toasted and salted coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup (80g) raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (25g) raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, coconut flakes, almonds, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat and whisk until fully combined. Add in the vanilla sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in the coconut oil mixture
  5. Spread the granola mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, turn the pan around so that the granola bakes evenly, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Granola has a tendency to be a little unpredictable in the oven, so keep and eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  6. When the granola is golden brown, remove from oven and allow it to cool completely before breaking it into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!

Banana Bread Waffles (Clean)

So relieved that it’s October break. It’s a very well-needed break. I wrote up a list on my whiteboard of all the things I need to accomplish over these next 7 days, but just looking at it makes me want to cry…UGH LIFE.

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On the bright side, not having school early in the mornings means that I can take a little more time to put together the perfect breakfasts (best meal of the day amiright?). I realise that my last post was also a breakfast post, but this just goes to show how important breakfast is. If you’re into pancakes, go check out that post, but if you’re into waffles, stay right where you are. I’ve got a hella good banana bread waffle recipe for you.

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Anyways, I’m going to take a few minutes here to just focus on how wonderful these banana bread waffles are, and hopefully forget about all my troubles for a bit.

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You’ll notice that I pretty much always top my waffles with ice cream. I’m not really sure why, I just think that waffles and ice cream are the best way to go. Especially when you drizzle over some melted chocolate and let it set and cover it with all sorts of delicious sprinkles and toppings and whatever you like. You know all the little pockets in waffles? The little indents? I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to fill those with ice cream so that you get 50% waffle and 50% ice cream in each bite.

God, I totally need to host a waffle party sometime. Look at all these different combinations! I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a great time making these.

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The waffles themselves are just what you’d expect from a recipe called “Banana Bread Waffles”. They taste just like banana bread – but in the form of a waffle! They have that sweet flavour of banana infused in a light, fluffy waffle with a wonderfully crisp edge. Yumm! *insert heart-eyes emoji here*

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Banana Bread Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup overripe mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 large egg or 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate (optional, highly recommended)
  • Other toppings (banana, berries, granola, nuts etc.) (optional)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, almond milk, mashed bananas, egg, and vanilla extract
  3. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Heat a waffle iron. When it’s ready, spray or brush it, to cover it in a layer of oil. Pour the batter into the heated waffle iron, adding enough to just cover the bottom layer of the iron. Everyone’s waffle iron is different, so just estimate this and make adjustments as you go. Cook the waffle according to the waffle iron’s instructions.
  5. Top with vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate, and topping of your choice