Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Master of Disguise

Have you ever had a Green Monster?

Not as a pet, of course. I'm talking about the early 2009 superfood creation by Angela of Oh She Glows and the health-community movement that exploded behind her (and not that kind of movement). Simply put, a Green Monster is a smoothie made up of blended greens (usually kale or spinach), fruit (berries, bananas, mango...) and whatever else the concocting cook desires - commonly seeds, protein powders, even nut butters. The idea is to get as much bang out of the green stuff without actually tasting the green stuff. I've had a few of these beasts in my life (perils of being in a holistic college) and regardless of what was in them, they were, well, a bit beastly. The closest I came to enjoying one of these was when I was served a blend of spinach, bananas, strawberries, stevia, dates and cocoa powder - in other words, more stuff than greens!

Luckily, my tastebuds don't have the same objection to the puree when it's baked into something thoroughly decadent. Between a wine-soaked grape cake, a cakey brownie and a rather crazy muffin, I know that leafy greens can definitely hold their own in the sweet kitchen.

It turns out that I'm not alone in baking the Green Monster into decadent treats! I found an insanely rich looking recipe by Kels (of the blog K and K Test Kitchen) and knew I had to do a spin on it, and make something really monsterous! I decided to bump up the omegas with hits of walnut, spelt, chia and flax, added some dates (I love dates!) and used bittersweet miniature chocolate chips instead of milk to keep the overall nutrient profile a bit higher than it would have been. It looked a bit creepy and even scary coming together, but once it did? These weren't just ogres of omegas, they were dragons of deliciousness!

Omega Monster Muffins
Makes 12
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp chia seed
1/3 cup hot coffee
¼ cup spelt bran
¼ cup diced dates, soaked in hot water and drained
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup Cookin' Greens kale (100g)
2 packets xylitol sweetener or stevia
1 tbsp vanilla
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 cup spelt flour
¾ cup flour
½ cup sifted cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed, chia seed and coffee. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the bran, dates and hot water in a small dish and let stand until needed.
  4. Microwave the kale 3 minutes with a tablespoon of water until thawed and cooked down slightly. Add to a food processor or blender with soaked seed mixture, xylitol, vanilla, and oil and puree completely.
  5. Pour kale mixture into a large bowl and add the brown sugar and buttermilk. Beat in well.
  6. Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and stir just to combine, then add bran mixture, chocolate chips and walnuts and fold in gently to incorporate.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes.
  9. Immediately turn out onto a rack to cool completely. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 237.9  
Total Fat: 12.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.0 mg
Sodium: 33.2 mg
Total Carbs: 34.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.6 g
Protein: 5.6 g