Sunday, February 12, 2012

Handful Muffins

I love cleaning up the remnants of the pantry after we have a baking spree in the household. Yesterday was my grandma's birthday celebration, and even though we simply made my mom's tried-and-true red velvet cake and beef stroganoff, going into my baking pantry for the ingredients struck me with all the potential I had hanging around in my own home!
In the savoury kitchen, when you have a ton of ingredients but no clear idea how they really "fit", you have soup, stews, jams, sauces, compotes and casseroles at your disposal. Gosh knows I've used that trick many a time to use up things sitting wanton in our fridge, freezer and pantry! But when you get into the sweet kitchen and bakery, your options are a wee bit more limited. I mean yes, you can do pie filling (like mincemeat, quite the "toss everything into a pot" recipe), and banana bread is a good vessel for adding things (as is carrot cake - go figure). But the flavour combinations and chemistry are a bit more, shall we say, dainty.
However, one of the best catch-all recipes in the baking world is the humble muffin. A mini-bread in it's own right, you can make them sweet or savoury - and sometimes both! But come on, you know me. I might be a nutritionist, but I do like my sweets. And baking (duh). Besides, these may be absolutely delicious coffee-break snacks, but they're not all that horrible for you (like some of the *ahem* other options you have). There's only 2 tbsp of oil in the whole thing (and it's Canadian canola, which is still one of the healthiest oils out there), plus no eggs or dairy, tons of whole grains, non-GMO soy, dried fruit, mineral rich pumpkin seeds and even a secret veggie addition to boot (hint: it's like a carrot, but it's not a carrot)! Am I justifying my treat-baking nature? Maybe a bit. But you can't deny it's effective at assauging the fears of even the most diet-conscious noshers!

Handful Muffins
Makes 16
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup unsweetened soy milk, warmed
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal twigs (like All-Bran)
1/2 cup Vector cereal or your favourite crunchy flake cereal
3 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup Kamut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 small parsnip, shredded
1/2 cup currants
5 dried figs, diced
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease or line 16 muffin cups.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flaxseed and hot water. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Add the warmed soy milk, oats, All Bran, Vector, applesauce, oil, honey, sugar and vanilla. Let stand 10 minutes.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the cereal mixture just to moisten, then add the parsnip, currants, figs, apricots, cherries and pumpkin seeds.
  6. Portion into the tins (I use an ice-cream scoop for even portions)
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 177.7
Total Fat: 3.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 35.7 mg
Total Carbs: 36.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
Protein: 3.5 g

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