I turn twenty-nine this weekend, a little fact that I’ve been less than excited to celebrate. Some birthday years bring on the blues more than others. And I’m not necessarily bummed about 29, it just feels rather anti-climactic compared to all my friends who are welcoming in the wisdom of their 30’s, which I couldn’t be more excited to get a dose of myself.
Buzzfeed puts twenty-nine at number four on their 20’s rankings, which isn’t saying much, since the majority of those other mid-years are spent in the midst of a quarter-life crisis that stems from feeling like you have to get your shit together, while not having enough maturity to actually know want to do with your life.
Apparently, twenty-nine is also the year that you will first start noticing yourself turning into your parents. And if that is the case, which it might be, since I threw my back out last week, then there’s no better way to celebrate than by making gluten-free banana muffins.
Even though my mom herself was gluten-free for most of my childhood, that didn’t stop her from baking me the most amazing banana bread of all time. When I finally turned 21, a year after most of my friends, my parents came up to visit me at school and partake in my weekend-long hallelujah celebration, which included an all-day pajama party in which I did a keg stand in a fleece pastel patterned onesie. My mom, upon request, brought chocolate chip banana bread for fifty with her from New York.
I’ve had it on my list for some time to create a gluten-free version of my mom’s banana bread. But since I don’t particularly like to bake, and it’s my birthday, I thought it would be okay to outsource that task to a friend with far superior qualifications.
Kait over at Bubble Girl Bakes sent over this recipe for monkey bread cupcakes approximately 48 hours after I sent the initial request/favor into her inbox. I’ve been meaning to try her allergy-free gluten-free flour for some time as well, so project banana muffins was a great way to kill two vegan birds with one stone.
You can order Kait’s flour online or feel free to substitute whatever AP blend you have on hand. To make the recipe vegan, she substitutes two flax “eggs” for the real thing by combining a few tablespoons of ground flaxmeal with water and letting it thicken. Together with the mashed banana, the muffins were moist and delicious straight out of the oven.
To mimic the banana bread of my childhood and add a little hedonism to the healthy recipe, I added a few handfuls of dark chocolate chips to the banana muffin batter. Despite this, I don’t feel bad about starting my birthday week mornings with one of these gluten-free muffins. That kind of maturity is something I’ll happily keep at bay until the big 3.0. And since it’s a week for modest celebration, a few of these bad boys might be getting topped with chocolate frosting and served as gluten-free cupcakes over the weekend.
As is only appropriate for age 29, it was during the photoshoot of these gluten-free banana muffins that a back spasm brought me to my knees and left me on the floor unable to move or get up for 2 hours. I really am getting old.
What was (is) your favorite year of your twenties? Curious to hear in the comments!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water; allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to thicken.
Add the banana, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla to the flax mixture; beat until smooth.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill the lined muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Frost with chocolate buttercream or cream cheese frosting if you want to enjoy as banana bread cupcakes. Otherwise, store in an airtight container and eat as a morning snack.
If you don't have flaxseed you can substitute 2 eggs for a non-vegan version.