Vegan Orange Cherry Muffins

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INGREDIENTS

Nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free option),
sifted ½ cup almond flour*,
sifted 2 tsp. baking powder
½ cup chopped raw walnuts
1 tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
¼ cup extra-virgin organic coconut oil
2 Tbsp. all-natural peanut butter
¾ cup pure maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange peel (orange zest)
¾ cup fresh orange juice (approx. 1 to 2 medium oranges)
2 tsp. ground flaxseed
1 cup thickly sliced banana, very ripe (approx. 1 large banana)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup dried cherries

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with muffin papers and lightly coating with spray.
3. Combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, walnuts, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Place oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, orange peel, orange juice, ground flaxseed, banana, and extract in blender; cover. Blend until smooth; approx. 30 seconds.
5. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture; mix until just moistened. Do not overmix. 6. Add cherries; fold until just mixed.
7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. (One-quarter cup batter should fill each cup about three-quarters full.)
8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven; allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing muffins from pan and cooling completely on a rack. Enjoy!

*Note: I ran out of almond flour and subbed out for 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and they still turned out great!

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