Healthier Muffins II

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In case nobody’s noticed yet, I love chocolate.

Oh wait, I think they noticed….Since last Christmas, I have received chocolate from 7 friends. I told my DD yesterday as we were opening up a humongous bar of Whitaker that “He who has friends will never run out of chocolate” (say it in a sagely manner).

Every few days, I would bake something for The Kids to bring to school the next day for recess.  It’s usually either bread or muffins. We are all in a chocolate mood (coz every time we open the fridge, there it is).  So I was inspired to use the Healthier Muffin recipe and tweak it into Healthier Chocolate Muffins.

It’s not difficult to tweak.  Let me first establish that I always always use cocoa powder because it’s easier to store a large amount of cocoa powder than chocolate (which needs to be refrigerated in our climate).  And you know I buy them by the kilo.  Also cocoa powder is more chocolatey than chocolate.  Just read the list of ingredients on your chocolate bar.

Whenever you use cocoa powder, do take note of 3 things. Firstly, heating up the cocoa powder gives it a more full-bodied flavor.  You can do that by adding the cocoa powder to hot melted butter.  The heat helps to ‘unlock’ the chocolate flavor and makes it more fragrant and rich.

Secondly, do bear in mind that cocoa is a bit more drying than flour.  You can replace the moisture by increasing the sugar or add a bit more liquid.

Thirdly, coffee, somehow, deepens the chocolate flavor.  I usually add in about 1/2 tsp of instant coffee.  Not enough to be able to taste the coffee or keep me awake at night but it brings a little something to the party.  If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can use decaf. Or not. It’s optional.

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Healthier Chocolate Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 stick butter (melted)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

rounded 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1/4 cup milk

3 large eggs

1/4 cup white wholemeal flour

1/4 cup plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp instant coffee (optional)

2 big handfuls of chocolate chips/nuts

Melt butter in a big pot.  Let it cool slightly. Add in the ingredients according to the way it is listed, stirring with a whisk with each addition.

Scoop out onto lined muffin pan and bake at about 180c for about 18-20 min.

This recipe is not too sweet and yet rich, chocolatey and moist. No one can tell that there are flaxseed, almond, coconut flour and only 1/4 cup plain white flour in it.  It just tastes like a regular rich chocolate muffin cake. Except better.

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Healthier Muffins

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Recently while I was baking bread using all white flour, it suddenly occurred to me that whilst my bread has no preservatives, it doesn’t have any beneficial additives like vitamins either. Commercial loaf bread usually has added calcium and vitamins to up the nutritive value of the bread. Since my kids usually pack food for recess in school, I really should be more diligent and pay more attention to the ingredients I use. Thus I was prompted to dig deep into my freezer for my temporarily forgotten flax seed meal, wholemeal flour, almond flour etc to replace some of the white flour. Totally white flour food should be reserved for fun snack food.

With this in mind, I dug out my muffin recipe and swapped some white flour out for coconut flour, almond flour, flax seed meal and whole meal flour. Of course that changed the recipe.  This is usually how I come up with new recipes. Armed with an attitude that with a bit of common sense, nothing can go wrong.

Healthier Muffins

1 1/2 stick melted butter

1/4 cup milk/water/almond milk etc

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

3 large eggs

1/4 cup white wholemeal flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 handfuls of dried cranberries/currants/ nuts/good quality chocolate chips etc

1 tsp vanilla essence

Melt butter in a large pot.  Cool it till you can touch without seriously burning yourself. Add in the ingredients, one at a time, according to the way it is listed in my recipe.

Using a whisk, stir until it combines together.  Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups.  I usually use paper cases to line my muffin pan.  It’s so much easier this way for prepping, portioning and cleaning up.

Preheat oven to about 180c.  Bake for about 20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

The texture of the muffin tastes just like a regular muffin, a little coarse, not fine like cake.  It’s not too sweet but I compensated by adding in more cranberries.  The nuts and seeds make it more hearty and more nutritious.  Definitely better as a recess food than white bread and butter with sugar.  Just as yummy.

 

 

Quinoa Sweet Potato Cakes

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Quinoa are cute little seeds that look like millet. It is high in protein and touted for its health benefits.  I bought a few packets of quinoa as I was inspired to eat healthy. Dahlia, my good friend, calls it bird seeds… Anyhow long story short, I am stuck with a few packets of quinoa which nobody wants to eat.  But that does not mean that it tastes bad!  Just means that these people are not willing to accept anything that has a different mouth feel. And the nutrients and health benefits!! Just google it!

For those more accepting of it, I found out, the painful way, how to prep and cook it without tearing out your hair (I should have googled it before attempting it!).

It’s simple. Rinse it in a sieve. It’s so much easier that way.

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If you wash it in a bowl, they will stick to you and to your bowl and just give you a whole lot of grief.

Then just plop the whole thing into a rice cooker and press “cook”.

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/4 tsp salt

When cooked, fluff it up and serve it in lieu of rice.

After eating that, I became smarter and decided to google it for recipes to get rid *ahem I mean use up the rest of my quinoa.  I love sweet potatoes and thought sweet potato pancakes/cakes sound quite good.  This is my simplified recipe.

Sweet potato quinoa pancakes/cakes (serves 2)

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 tsp brown sugar

1 egg

pinch of salt

1 tsbp flour (optional, to bind it together)

Mix everything together and pan fry carefully with oil/butter. It might fall apart when flipping so do it very carefully and gently.  Serve it with butter.

I liked it.  I think it tastes like pan fried mashed sweet potato with little bits of round stuffs in it.  It makes a very safe, non-adventurous, nutritious meal.  But my DD came to me and asked me with a face, What’s that little round stuff?

I should have said Hundreds and Thousands, dear.  She would have been all over it then.