Readers, if there is one single food that I screw up every time I try to “create” it’s bread. Don’t get me wrong, I do ok sometimes, but a good portion of the time I screw up proportions and get a dense, chewy, gluten-y mess. I wouldn’t feed this to my dogs. (I did however, let Mike eat them. His standards are lower than theirs, go figure.) This is because I didn’t fully understand the science of breads and cakes. I got that you needed leavening, and I understood that you shouldn’t over mix your batter, but I had for so long been trying to completely cut out the fat to make you a healthier, vegan baked good for your consumption.
Guys, that was a mistake, I’m so, so, sorry.
Some of you are probably alarmed because I just used the “f” word (Fat! Gasp!) but you just can’t have a proper baked good without it. Same goes for some form of sugar. The key with muffins is to not let them turn into cupcakes by raising those proportions beyond reasonable measure.
I did some research, some experimenting, and some soul searching, and when I came down from the mountain, I arrived with these:
Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil (or other liquid fat. Melted Earth Balance works fine)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
First things first, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
The next step I’m going to hold your hand for, because I hadn’t been doing it, and I totally should have. Instead of simply adding all the wet together, add the canola oil and apple sauce to a small bowl.
Now whisk the crap out of it till it’s emulsified. It will look like this.
The applesauce adds some extra moisture, but mostly it’s necessary to act as an egg. In most recipes, the egg evenly distributes fat, but for a vegan baked good pureed fruit works just fine. You just need to whisk it together first. After that just stir in the almond milk.
Lovely. After that, it’s simple. Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl and stir JUST to combine. See if you can do it in under 15 strokes. The batter will be lumpy, oh yes, but so long as there aren’t massive pockets of dry ingredients, you should be good. Gently fold in the raisins. Easy.
Now just pour that goodness into some muffin cups. Go ahead, fill them up. Big muffins taste better. 🙂
**With any muffin recipe I feature you can just easily make a loaf of bread. Just pour the batter into a bread pan instead and increase the cooking time. I’d say 30-40 minutes should take care of it. I just really, really like the convenience of not having to portion them out, so I don’t make much bread.**
Bake for 20 minutes and tada!
Muffins! How easy was that?
The correct answer is “super duper.” I would also accept “redonkulously.”
You know what else? They’re really good, contain very little fat and sugar (especially compared to that monster you’ve been buying from Starbucks. Gee whiz! That thing’s awful!), are scrumptious, four year old approved (Olive has been begging for more since she took her first sample taste this morning), and perfectly acceptable as a breakfast, snack, or even part of lunch (I totally ate one for lunch). You really can’t buy a more nutritious muffin, and you shouldn’t anyway because it tastes better fresh. Also, this recipe is really adaptable–expect new and interesting ingredient combinations here in the future…and in my kitchen (Mike, Olive, I hope you’re hungry and don’t mind eating muffins three times a day for the next few months).
The best part, though? Learning how to make muffins taught me how to make cupcakes.
To be continued…