Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Muffin in Honor of Fall

The leaves are now finally peaking here, but sadly, also falling somewhat simultaneously.

My son and I stood outside on our back stoop this week to take in the sight of leaves dancing and swirling through the air. A rainstorm was coming and some of the leaves were even whipping around. Plus you could smell the impending precipitation.

My framed chalkboard says it all.
Ahh, it truly was bliss to watch and feel.

Because I’m a dork, once fall officially arrived a month ago, I decided to celebrate my favorite season by eating a delicious, healthy, autumn-inspired breakfast every day in its honor. This is the time for eating prodigious amounts of pumpkin and I won't squander the opportunity! However, three mornings a week, I take my son to preschool, and the other two are usually filled with chores and projects around the house, shopping, or getting together with friends. In other words, mornings are busy and I needed a breakfast that could be prepared quickly and even eaten quickly sometimes.

Now, I like muffins very much and I thought that would be a good fast-and-dirty breakfast option. All the work is done up-front and you reap the fruits of your labor for days. (That’s how I roll when it comes to fixing dinner here, too. I don’t get why one would want to plan seven different dinners for a week when you can make three or four meals TOPS that stretch over the course of seven days. I’m in the kitchen enough as it is that I have no desire to cook dinner *every* night. But I digress…back to muffins.) However, the thing about muffins is I don’t like the muffin top that traditional wheat flour and sugary versions have a tendency to give me.

Enter coconut flour. In the last year or so, I’ve played around with coconut flour as an alternative to wheat flour in some of my baking. Fortunately, I have no issues with gluten intolerance, I just wanted to try this lower-carb flour (8g carbs per 2 tbs., 5g of which are fiber) that introduces a goodly amount of fiber and protein to otherwise fiber-and-protein-deficient baked goods.

In my experiments, I’ve learned that coconut flour is not an ideal flour for making cookies, nor is it very good for making a yellow cake, unless you really like the taste of egg.  However, chocolate coconut flour cakes are a totally different story, and brownies are another excellent use for coconut flour. Really, as long as you have a flavor that masks the coconut and egg (because you use far more eggs when baking with coconut flour than you do with traditional flour), you’re good to go with this stuff.

After playing around with several recipes, I developed this consistently reliable recipe for a dozen well-sized breakfast muffins. Because I often think of cake and cupcakes as simply a vehicle for the icing, and because I wanted a little extra satiation when eating these dense breakfast morsels, I decided that life is too short not to frost them. 

Cream cheese atop pumpkin - what more could a girl ask for?
No fear, though!

These muffins—even with the icing—are mildly sweet (no refined sugars here!), contain only healthy fats and are most certainly appropriate for breakfast. Or as a snack. Or as a dessert you can feel quite unguilty about eating.

In fact, let me WOW you with the stats for just *one* of these lovelies:
-less than 250 calories (yes, that’s with the icing!)
-75% (1.2 grams) of the daily value of Omega-3 fatty acids needed by adults (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
-contains ½ an egg (at least 3g of protein right there, not to mention the choline, folate, lutein, etc. that eggs also provide) and more than 5 grams of fiber (that's just from the coconut flour and chia seeds, the pumpkin adds a touch more that I didn’t include in the count)

Plus, the overall sugar content is low and these puppies stay with you a long time. Trust.  Even my husband, who has a bottomless pit for a stomach, gave these muffins his seal of approval. He was actually shocked a mere muffin could satisfy his hummingbird-like metabolism.

Enough said.  Enjoy!


P.S.--I'm sharing this recipe over at Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Parade. Check it out for more great recipes and cooking tips!

Makes 12

Dry Ingredients:
1 c. coconut flour (I order through my local co-op)
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
To your liking: ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc. I’m heavy-handed with my spices and it’s almost better to use too much than too little with these muffins.

Sift the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 to 1-1/2 c. canned pumpkin
¾ c. plain almond milk or dairy milk
6 tbs. chia seeds
3 tbs. honey (or 4 tbs. if omitting molasses)
1 tbs. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ c. melted butter or coconut oil

Beat the eggs with a whisk, then incorporate the pumpkin, milk of your choice, chia seeds, honey, molasses and vanilla extract.  If using melted coconut oil for your fat, pour it in last so that way if the other wet ingredients are still cold-ish at this point, the oil won’t have a chance to harden (because coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees.) Otherwise, melted butter can go in at any time.

Once the wet ingredients are combined, you’re done with the whisk. Get a wooden spoon or spatula to finish the rest of your stirring. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine until well blended.

Put paper liners in a 12-muffin tray. Divide the batter evenly amongst the 12 cups with a spoon as this batter is thick! Bake at 350 degree for 25 minutes. It’s honestly okay if you over-bake these a little. Coconut flour yields a very moist, dense baked good with a heavier crumb that wheat-based products, so a little extra time in the oven only makes this muffin resemble its traditional counterpart that much more.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them to a baking rack to finish cooling.  Now it’s time to ice them!

8 oz. package of Neufchatel cheese, softened
¼ c. grade B maple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Put the ingredients in a small bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Resist (or not) the urge to sample this just-sweet-enough icing before icing your muffins generously.

Store uneaten muffins in an airtight container in the fridge.

1 comment:

  1. Looks chia seeds at my house though :-) Do you think I can just substitute an extra egg?
    Love your blog.


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