Archive for the 'Muffins' Category



Cornmeal Muffins

In my Kindergarten student teaching placement, we have been studying corn as a way to address the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. It is a complicated issue to talk about in a classroom, as there are clearly multiple perspectives to cover and so many politics to maneuver. The inaccurate mythology and historical omissions can be confusing and damaging to teach, especially when you get into the denser and more confrontational issues surrounding genocide and land theft. As an educator working for social justice, how do you make sure you cover the valuable positive and big ideas of gratitude, fairness, equality, resistance, and liberation without miscommunicating the true facts? I’ve always felt trapped in how I would like to cover this material – and have often found that it is much easier to just avoid talking about it altogether in the classroom. However, Kindergartners get so excited about holidays that you have to incorporate it somehow into the curriculum.

I really like the critical way my cooperating teacher thinks about these issues, and her solution this year has been to teach the students all about corn. She can teach them about the Native Americans’ history growing and eating corn in different forms, and about how the Pilgrims interacted with the Native Americans and their land when they arrived in the “new world”. We have had class discussions about how the Native Americans lived and how that contrasted with the lifestyle that the Pilgrims were used to, and how both were very different from how our students live today. We have talked about what it would feel like if someone moved into your backyard, and had the kids think about how they would react to this. We shared about the communities and customs that both groups of people had, and the reasons why the Pilgrims were leaving Europe. We framed these conversations around the kinds of foods the two groups of people were used to eating, tying in our larger theme of corn. My cooperating teacher has brought in many different examples of corn for the students to study as Scientists with huge magnifying glasses – we’ve looked at dried “Indian Corn” in beautiful shades of purple, yellow, and red; baby corns in a jar; dried corn kernels; cornmeal; canned corn; and hominy. We’ve had them taste different kinds of corn-foods, like corn chips, corn nuts, popcorn, and even candy made with corn syrup. Yesterday, I woke up obscenely early for no good reason, and decided what would make me feel better about this lack of sleep was to bake something for my class. So, out came the baking pans and on went the oven (a perfect way to warm up my chilly house!). I quickly whipped up a batch of Cornmeal Muffins that I could give the students, who would then get to taste the corn in a new way.

I brought the muffins in to the classroom, and while they were not overwhelmingly popular with the five year olds, they received good reviews from the adults who tried them before and after the sharing event. I wasn’t sure what reaction to expect from my students, since kids these days eat lots of sugar and Cornmeal Muffins aren’t particularly sweet, but I really wanted them to be able to feel the slightly crunchy texture of the cornmeal in the muffin and the softer sweeter fresh kernels of corn mixed in. In the end, some of the children devoured the muffins, some did not, and I of course felt okay about that. I think this recipe is quite delicious, but perhaps not the most kid-friendly one that I could have picked! Perhaps they would have enjoyed them more with jam spread on top, or with more sugar added to the batter. The muffins were moist and heavy, as a cornmeal muffin should be. The top was crispy and the color was a natural bright yellow from all the corn. I recommend it, even if my students did not!

Cornmeal Muffins – lightly adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt, divided
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer (equivalent of 1 egg – you can also use 1 Tblsp. ground flax seed)
1 Tblsp. warm water (+ 1 more Tblsp. of water if you use flax seeds…)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar + some for sprinkling on top
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup Earth Balance or other non-dairy margarine, melted and cooled
1 cup canned whole corn kernels

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease or line your muffin tins.
Soak the cornmeal and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in the milk for about 15 minutes, while you prepare your other ingredients.
Meanwhile, whip the egg replacer (or flax seed) with the water in the blender, until thick and creamy.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
In a small bowl, stir together the almond milk/cornmeal mixture, melted margarine, and egg replacer mixture until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, and stir just until blended. Add the corn kernels and stir to combine. Do not overmix.
Let the batter sit for 10 minutes before spooning into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each muffin (this will give it a nice crispy top, and add a little touch of sweetness).
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

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Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free, Vegan and Delicious Pumpkin Scones

Yes, believe what the title says. It is definitely possible to make delicious vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free desserts. I’m slowly converting everyone I know, and I hope to convert you too, at least to the idea that this is a possible baking feat. I’m so used to adapting regular recipes, and have figured out good proportions of animal-friendly (as well as gluten-free and sugar-free) ingredients to make yummy veganized versions, but this time I found a recipe online that was already perfect and fit all my dietary requirements. Plus, it was already tested and blogged about, and even photographed so I could see evidence that this recipe actually worked. You can find all of that proof, plus the recipe, right here. I followed the recipe to a T, with a tiny addition of half a cup of chopped pecans mixed into the batter and sprinkled on the top before baking. I have to admit – these scones are a little bit muffin-like in consistency (they had a fluffier and a little more cake-like texture than most scones do), but they are so delicious you won’t care at all. You’ll eat tons of them. Especially because they are pumpkin (my favorite flavor), have no gluten, no refined sugar, no dairy and no eggs. So they practically don’t exist or have calories or anything, right?

Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins

To finish my epic blue baking week, I give you blueberry muffins!IMG_9946

My friend Freya doesn’t like blueberries. But we had picked so many of them! I had to convince her they would be good, somehow. She said she would only like them if they were in muffins, so that’s what we had for last Sunday’s breakfast. Fresh out of the oven, they were wonderful! They didn’t last longer than that, but I’m sure they would have been great once cooled as well. Freya enjoyed them, as did the rest of the group, which was proved by how quickly the muffins were polished off. And, Freya even enjoyed my blueberry pie, so maybe we’ve got a blueberry convert on our hands 🙂

I adapted this recipe from How It All Vegan, and the original recipe said it would make only 6 muffins, but didn’t say what size. I think they must have been using the Texas-sized muffin pans because I was able to make 12 muffins from this recipe. They were somewhat short, but not abnormally. You can choose how high to fill your tins, the muffins don’t rise too much. Also, you can substitute any type of berry you want in these versatile muffins! Blueberries were very good, but I think raspberry would be quite nice too, or even a mix of berries. Continue reading ‘Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins’

Mocha Raspberry Muffins

I was trying to produce some power-through-the-end-of-the-school-year treats (for me, but especially for the tutors at Julie’s work), and in this case, that definitely meant adding a large dose of caffeine to my baking! I put black tea in cupcakes, and the next night upped the anty and threw some coffee into my chocolate muffins to make a mocha muffin! Mmm…

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The recipe is adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking but I took out the spices and added some mix-ins of my own. These muffins were absolutely delicious; the cake was fluffy and had a very tender and moist crumb, and they were chock full of tasty additions like instant espresso powder, raspberries, and mini-chocolate chips for a bit of crunchy texture. In the picture above, you can see the little chocolate chips and the pink from the raspberries!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 Tblsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (check the label to make sure it is non-dairy)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tblsp. warm water
2 tsp. instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tsp. hot water, till it dissolves
1 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup non-dairy butter, melted (I always like original Earth Balance)
1/2 cup non-dairy semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
1 cup frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin with non-dairy butter or canola oil spray.
Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Blend the Egg Replacer with the warm water till light and creamy.
In a medium bowl, mix together the Egg Replacer and water mixture, almond milk, melted butter, dissolved espresso powder, and sugar. Add this combination to the dry mixture and stir until they are just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan cups (I like to use a large ice cream scoop to do this). The cups should be about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Agave-Sweetened Almond Quinoa Muffins

I had a ton of left-over quinoa this weekend, and while I’ve been very happy to add it to my oatmeal and salads, I wanted to find something else creative to do with it. I made quinoa muffins awhile ago (a year ago! Wow, how time flies…), and they were delicious. The recipe I used both times is from Veganomicon, and the only adaptation I made to the original recipe is to add half a teaspoon of baking powder (to make the muffins rise a bit more) and substitute chopped dried cherries instead of apricots or currants because that’s what I had on hand.

When I first tasted the muffins, a few minutes out of the oven, they were very moist and dense but still delicious. The next day when they were completely cooled and had sat out overnight, they felt a bit fluffier and lighter, which was interesting. You can’t taste the almond at all, and I’m a big almond fan, so next time I might add chopped almonds or even a bit of almond extract to the batter, but the muffins certainly don’t need that unless you’re really looking for the almond flavor. The cardamom and cinnamon spices are not overpowering, and are just plain yummy!

I love the bumpy texture that the quinoa gives the tops of the muffins, and the healthy/protein-jump-start to the day that these muffins give you. I also really like that these muffins are delicately sweet, and sweetened only with agave (so really, it would be quite healthy to eat 2 for breakfast everyday, right?). Mmm. As a big nut-butter fan, I found that they were delicious with hazelnut butter spread thickly on top!

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Ingredients:
1 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 Tblsp. ground flax seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat pastry flour, your muffin will just be a bit heavier)
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries (or whatever dried fruit & nuts you want to use)

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and line or grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Whisk the almond milk and flax seeds in a small bowl.
Sift the dry ingredients (except the quinoa, which isn’t really dry, but just in case) together into a big bowl.
To the almond milk mixture, add the oil, agave, and vanilla.
Pour the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mix with a wooden spoon just until it’s combined.
Add the quinoa and cherries and fold in gently to combine.
Spoon the batter in the muffin tin, and bake for 20 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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Bran Muffins

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Julie and I baked some hearty bran muffins yesterday that were perfect for a healthy dessert as well as a scrumptious breakfast this morning! The recipe we used is very versatile; you can add whatever mix-ins you would like to the batter (we used golden raisins in all of them, and added small pieces of candied ginger and chopped walnuts to some). They only have a little sugar in the batter, but they also have banana which adds sweetness too – however, the sprinkle of brown sugar on top was a great addition, and added some crunch to the topping.

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Ingredients:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup wheat bran
2 tablespoons flax seed
4 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup golden raisins, and you can really add any mix-ins you want

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray muffin tin or put in paper liners.
Sift together flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Grind flax seeds, and put the flax with warm water in a blender. Blend until it has a gummy consistency, and then add the remaining ingredients to blender, blend until smooth, and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened – don’t overmix. Fold in the raisins and any other fillings you want. Fill muffin tins almost full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

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Black Bottom Muffins

I’ve been wanting to bake Black Bottom Muffins for a long time, but haven’t found quite the right mix of ingredients to make the vegan cream cheese filling taste right or have the correct consistency. I read an article recently about a vegan bakery in Portland and it included a recipe for their Pumpkin Bottom Muffins…I decided to try it, and the filling worked really well! It was a bit lemony, but was actually quite nice (and I can see how the lemon would compliment the pumpkin cake quite well in their version). True to tradition, these “muffins” are more like cupcakes, but for someone like me with a sweet-tooth, I think they could still be eaten for breakfast…

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