Effortless Additions – Healthy Birthday Baking
A request I often hear from many parents is for recipe ideas to make healthier versions of birthdays treats that are tasty but still healthy. Every year I make all the treats for my kids parties and I have collected a few recipes along the way and would like to share them (you can use them anytime). I like to keep it simple so feel free to be as creative as you like and dress it up however it suits the occasion. All are tested and approved by my kids and party guests. Any muffin recipe can easily be made into a cake but since my kids are small and many of the guests are, I found mini muffins, energy balls and small cookies to be the most popular.
Here are some of my tips:
- Make ahead of time and freeze so there is little to no prep on party day
- Making mini muffins and small cookies to stretch out batters and less waste (often smaller kids leave a few bites behind).
- If you’re not having a cake, display on a tiered display dish with the guest of honour’s special treat on top (I usually make a large muffin) so it looks as special as a cake
- You can use these recipes anytime, year round!
- Make some extra for snacks, I usually keep muffins and cookies in the freezer so I have snacks for on the go or to pack in a lunchbox (thawed by lunchtime)
- I use silicone baking mats and muffin trays so there is no need for greasing. If you do use baking pans and need to grease, I like to melt coconut oil and brush it on pans and in muffin tins. It’s a great job for any little helpers!
- For egg free, flax eggs work well with recipes that are calling for eggs
- Most of the recipes include gluten free flour. You can buy it already made, just know that all brands have different combinations and taste different. I like to make my own and use this recipe. I leave out the xanthin gum and have not had any problems with texture.
Let’s jump right into the RECIPES!
2 large ripe bananas (3 medium)
1/2 cup almond milk plus a tablespoon of EITHER lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1.5 cups gluten free flour (store bought or see tips for recipe)
t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (enjoy life)
Mix almond milk and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes. Mix milk with rest of wet ingredients and sugar with a hand mixer. Add dry ingredients and fold in chips.
Bake @ 350 for 14-16 minutes or until centres are springy.
Let cool and add icing (if using)
Banana Oat Muffins
We call these “Mickey Muffins” because this recipe is his favourite!
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
5 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Large Ripe Bananas (or 3 small to medium, about a cup and a half)
½ Cup Almond Milk
1 Cup Rolled Oats (Dry)
2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (store bought or see tips for recipe)
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ -1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Add Ins- Chocolate Chips, Nuts, Etc.
Beat first 4 ingredients until well blended (2 minutes). In a separate bowl mash bananas with milk, stir in oats (kids love to do this part!). Add banana mixture to sugar/egg mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just blended. Fold in any add-ins. Grease a loaf pan, muffin tin or mini loaf pan (I melt coconut oil and brush it on or use silicone so no greasing is required).
Bake @ 350 for 14-16 minutes for muffins or mini loaves. Double for large loaves. Top should be brown and a little firm and springy when pressed. Mini Muffins bake for 10-14 minutes.
These muffins can be stored in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
3 medium ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup gluten free flour (store bought or see tips for recipe)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini dairy free chips
Mix bananas and sugar with a hand mixer until well combined and sugar is dissolved. Add in rest of wet ingredients and blend. Whisk together remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Add in chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Time will depend on whether you make mini muffins or larger muffins.
This is the icing I use. Please note that coconut butter is also called coconut manna. For chocolate I add cocoa powder (start with one tablespoon, taste and add more if needed). If you don’t have vanilla powder, you can use an alcohol free extract. I usually ice and keep muffins or cake in the fridge and take out when the party starts and it will be nice and creamy but the time you serve it. It also freezes well right on the muffins.
Carrot Cake Muffins
This is the recipe for the carrot cake muffins I made for River’s first birthday. I have made these with regular almond flour and also dried almond pulp leftover from homemade almond milk. There is also a recipe for frosting at the end of the recipe that is absolutely delicious!!
I love to make cookies to add some variety to my dessert platter. I like to make them small so I get more and people can indulge in a few different treats without it feeling like too much. I find small cookies perfect sized for kids, you can freeze them and add them to lunch boxes or grab for on the go and they will be thawed when snack time comes around.
Here are the recipes that I have used at our parties.
These are based on Quinoa Cookies by mywholefoodlife.com
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup gluten free oats (I have used oat flour and rolled oats, both turn out)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs (flax eggs work but the cookies stay together better for me when I use eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (feel free to add up to a teaspoon – we actually don’t measure)
1/3 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips – optional (you can also use dried fruit or leave plain)
Whisk together dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and combine with a spoon. Add chocolate chips. Put in the fridge for about ten minutes to firm up or longer (you may have to let them sit out for 20-30 minutes if you prepare this batter ahead of time (day before, etc.) I use a teaspoon to scoop out small cookies and flatten gently on a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on cookie size. Let cool and store in the fridge or freezer.
Peanut Butter Cookies
This is the recipe I use for 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. I have made these with different kinds of nut butters and they all have turned out delicious. The cost of peanut butter is more cost effective for making these for a large group so I stick with a peanuts only PB for parties. These cookies are crumbly so keep in the fridge or freezer prior to serving.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1.5 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (you can grind up rolled oats in the blender or grinder)
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbsp dairy free milk (I use almond)
4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup mini chips (dairy free)
Mix together dry ingredients, add went and mix (you can use your hands). Add more milk if needed. Roll into balls on cookie sheet (I use a silicone mat) and press lightly to flatten.
Bake 7-10 minutes (they start to brown when they are done, and size of cookie will vary cooking time).
You can prepare this dough ahead of time and bake the next day. Just let the dough sit at room temperature until you are able to roll balls from it (about a half hour).
I made these to go with the mini muffin’s at River’s 2nd birthday party. They were a major hit and so simple to make and easy to pack full of nutrition. I love adding ground flax to boost my children’s fibre intake. The recipe below is what we do, but you can easily customize it to your preferences and what you have unhand in your kitchen.
Super Simple Energy Balls
1 cup rolled oats – gluten free (quick oats work too)
1/2 cup peanut butter (peanuts only)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax
Dairy Free Mini Chips (Enjoy Life)
Mix together, roll into balls, refrigerate until firm (or freeze) and serve.
I always taste and adjust ingredients until I get the perfect sweetness and texture. You can add virtually anything to this recipe. Rolling in crushed nuts, hemp seeds or shredded coconut are great ways to boost nutrition. You can also add cacao powder to make chocolate energy balls.
So there you have it! These are the main treats we enjoy serving at parties. The best part is that I don’t mind having leftovers because I can just pop them in the freezer and have quick snacks ready to grab that are still providing lots of nutrition to my family.
I hope some of these make it to your parties!