Recipe Experiment: Sorghum Quick Bread

“Well, can’t you make some healthy junk food for me to have as a snack?”

If my son was growing up in what the surveys say is a typical American home, he’d be a junk food junkie. Given the choice, cookies, ice cream, cake, chocolate, candy, would always win. As it is, though, he was born into our family so he is more of a junkie wannabe, constantly nagging me for all those things and resigning himself to a banana when the answer is, “No.”

The other day, though, he had a particularly rough day, and he really wanted something sweet but a banana wasn’t cutting it. (Yes, he must be my son, since he’s already learned that food can sometimes provide solace in the face of difficult days! No, I do not approve of folks “feeding” their problems, but face it, sometimes you just need some comfort food!)

One look at his little sad face, and I caved. Since I still have all that sorghum flour I mentioned in the sorghum pancake post, I decided I’d try experimenting. Maybe I could make a quick bread which would be a good healthy snack but provide that little sweet solace my son craved.

Since sorghum flour is so high in fiber, it seemed it would make a great base for a banana bread where ripe bananas would help to cut down on the need for sugar and the fiber in the sorghum flour would counter any spike in blood sugar levels from all the fructose. I didn’t want the bread to be too heavy, though, so I mixed a bit of brown rice flour, and then, because you know how much I like that protein-full garbanzo bean flour, I added that, too.

Because I wanted to steer clear of egg, dairy, and soy allergies, I used ground flaxseed and flax milk, using lemon to make a “buttermilk” and adding vinegar at the end to help the eggless, gluten free breads to rise.

I had wanted to use a little bit of safflower oil, but since the cupboards were bare of that, I opted for a coconut oil and used some coconut sugar, figuring any residual coconut taste would complement the bananas. To add other flavor, I decided this would be a spice bread and incorporated some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom. Then because this was supposed to be “medicinal” bread, I added mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and the results were two loaves of delicious, healthy snacking bread.

My son was happy that he got to eat a “healthy junky snack”, and I was happy that I was able to bring a smile to his face without compromising my principles surrounding junk food.

Sorghum Banana Quick Bread

Ingredients:

2 tbsp golden ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp of water

1/2 cup flax milk* mixed with 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups mashed very ripe bananas

1/2 cup melted coconut oil**

1/4 cup Agave

2 cups sorghum flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour***

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life allergen free mini chocolate chips****

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar*****

Baking Instructions:

1. Line two 9 x 5 loaf pans with parchment paper so there are wings hanging over the sides of the pan for lifting the bread out, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together the flaxseed and water and let it sit for five minutes to thicken.

3. Mix together the milk and lemon juice and let that sit for five minutes to thicken.

4. Mix together the flaxseed mixture, the milk mixture, the mashed bananas, coconut oil and agave. Set aside.

5. Whisk together the sorghum, brown rice and garbanzo bean flours with the coconut sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

6. Add the chocolate chips to the dry mixture, and then add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients with the apple cider vinegar.  Mix quickly and well.

7. Evenly divide the batter between the two loaf pans.

8. Bake for 40 minutes until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out mostly clean.

9. Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove the bread, using the parchment paper wings to a wire cooling rack. Cool another ten minutes, and then carefully slide the loaves off the parchment paper onto the wire rack.

10. Cool completely, slice and enjoy.  Or eat it while it’s still warm, if you can’t wait!

* You can use any other type of milk, too.

** Try it with safflower oil or vegan melted butter instead of coconut oil if you have a tree nut allergy.

*** If you have a legume allergy, just double the brown rice flour or opt for another type altogether.

**** If you want to mix it up, omit the chocolate chips and try using chopped dried plums or apricots or dates instead.

*****If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white distilled is fine.

Final Note: If you don’t want to use all those spices, don’t. Feel free to omit any of them or experiment with your own flavors.

 

 

Menu Suggestion: Sorghum Pancakes with Peach Compote

website sorghum pancakes

 Again?

A couple of months ago, I noticed a special deal on a gluten free flour blend, six 3 lb bags for essentially about $1 each. I decided it was too good a deal to pass up because I bake so much for the workshops I teach, and I put in for two orders of the flour, thinking that 12 bags would hold me for a long while.

When the ordered arrived, it was in two separate boxes.  One contained six bags of the gluten free flour blend I had ordered, but the second batch was six bags of straight sorghum flour. I called up the company, and they apologized and said they’d send out the correct order of flour immediately.

I asked about sending back the incorrect flour and was told that because of certain restrictions, they aren’t allowed to receive food back. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with six bags of straight sorghum flour, but I figured I’d find a use.

When the new box came in, I eagerly opened it, only to discover that they’d sent me another six bags of sorghum flour!

When I called the company again, they determined that something must be wrong with their ordering system and that they would not be able to sell anymore flour under the special deal until they figured out the problem. They refunded my money for the second order of six bags, but once again told me that I had to keep the incorrect flour.

So, in the end I only received six bags of the flour blend at the special price, and I now had twelve bags of sorghum flour which I had neither ordered nor needed.

This morning, I decided I would begin to make use of some of that flour, and I worked out a recipe for sorghum pancakes which not only came out delicious but which the children have asked that I make again with different variations.

Sorghum Pancakes

(This makes a lot of pancakes so cut the recipe in half if you’re not cooking for a large family or want a lot of leftovers.)

Ingredients:

5 cups sorghum flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon*

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups “milk” (I used flax this time, but might try soy next time)

4 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp Agave

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil**

Cooking Instructions:

1. Whisk together the sorghum flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

2. Mix the milk with the lemon juice and let it sit for five minutes.

3. Whisk together the agave, eggs, and melted coconut oil. Add the milk.

4. Mix the dry ingredients until the wet quickly until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Let the batter sit for at least ten minutes. It will bubble and thicken.

5. On a heated pancake griddle (350 degrees) or pan over medium high heat on the stove, pour 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake. Let the pancake cook for a couple of minutes until the edges become dry and bubbles form. Flip and cook for another minute until the second side is done.

6. As the pancakes are cooking, make peach compote: Slice eight peaches into six lengthwise slices each and put into a large shallow pan on the stovetop. Mix 1/4 cup agave with 1 tsp cinnamon and pour over the peaches. Cook the peaches for about five to ten minutes over medium low heat until the peaches are soft and the liquid as thickened.

7. Serve the pancakes with the peach compote*** on top.

* If you are planning on serving the pancakes by themselves, they need a bit more flavor, so you should add something besides the cinnamon, like 2 tsp of vanilla or orange peel. If you don’t have sodium issues, you might want to increase the salt to 1 tsp.

** If you don’t want to or can’t use coconut oil, melted vegan butter or safflower oil are good substitutes.

*** You don’t have to use peaches. You could try these pancakes with a blueberry or apple compote, too.