How do you make muffins without a muffin pan? Answer: Don't, make brownies instead. 

This is a breakfast recipe designed to sneak a couple of ADAPTAGENS into your morning. Before I chanced upon this word, the world was a different, very tired place. After too many years living on adrenalin, I must've used up all my reserves and would quickly find myself scraping the energy barrel after a difficult job. I was living a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of life, never really able to get my energy levels back up to 'normal.' Then, by chance I discovered adaptagens. In herbal medicine, these are natural substances and plants that help the body cope with stress. The name says is all really: these herbs help the body adapt when under stressful conditions. It could be stress from illness, from work, from temperature or emotional stress. Stress causes the body to release higher amounts of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. Adaptogens work by regulating the release of these hormones, thereby decreasing cellular response to stress. Benefits can include more balanced hormones, sustained energy levels, better sleep and a clear mind. 

I take some MACA every day, I find it excellent for adrenalin and hormonal support. TURMERIC I also try to take every day, for its anti-inflammatory properties. Both are baked into these spiced breakfast brownies, along with some ginger and vanilla roasted rhubarb. These brownies are paleo, gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar free. For the base recipe I referred to David and Luise's Green Kitchen Stories breakfast muffins (their recipes are always my go-to for gluten free baking) but made a bunch of substitutions.. I subbed ground almonds for the walnuts, swapped out the bananas for rhubarb, the buttermilk for soured almond milk and half the dates for maple syrup. I then added the maca and turmeric, which add an earthy, caramel flavour, and popped a strip of rhubarb on the top of each piece before baking. 



Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp maca 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper

Wet ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 dates, pitted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 eggs

For the rhubarb:

  • 2 sticks rhubarb, washed and cut into 1" strips
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla essense
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • dash of water

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Start with the soured almond milk. Combine the almond milk with the apple cider vinegar, mix well and set aside for at least 5 minutes before using. This will add the slight tartness that mimicks buttermilk.

Next, the rhubarb. In a medium pan over a medium heat, place your strips of rhubarb. Mix together the ginger, vanilla, maple syrup and water and pour over the rhubarb. Simmer gentle for around 10 minutes, until just soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Measure out and combine all your dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl. In a blender, mix on high the soured almond milk, olive oil, pitted dates, maple syrup and half the rhubarb. Pour this into the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Whisk the eggs (I just did these in the blender again to save on washing up) and add to the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly until you have a smooth batter. 

Grease a large (approx 30cm x 20cm) baking tray or line with baking parchment. Pour the mixture into the pan and dot the remaining pieces of cooked rhubarb on top in a grid, imagining each piece will form the centre of each brownies. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for around 20m, until a knife comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly then cut into squares/rectangles and ideally eat while still warm. 

Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 20 mins.