Gloriously Orange Muffins

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In case you haven’t noticed, I like making muffins. They were always in our home growing up: usually Mom would make a few dozen on a weekend and freeze them, and I would have them for breakfast before school. My mornings were populated by a parade of flavourful, interesting baked goods that were a much better than cereal: blueberry sunflower, orange bran, banana chocolate chip, apple cheddar, cherry pie, morning glory.

What a beautiful name for a muffin. My maternal grandparents had blue morning glories growing on an arch in their front garden, so every time I would eat one, I would think of the pleasant times I had spent at my grandparents’ house.

My family’s traditional morning glory muffin recipe contains crushed pineapple, but I am now allergic to pineapple. I’ve found a good sub in canned mandarine oranges. I have made several more changes to the recipe to reduce oil and sugar, but still kept it delicious. Because of the oranges and pumpkin, they’re a pretty shade of orange. Think of them as little suns to light up your mornings!

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Gloriously Orange Muffins

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 large muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 240-280 mL can of mandarin orange segments, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat over to 350F. Grease your muffin tin.
  2. Combine flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to break up clumps.
  3. Combine dates, carrot, and pureed pumpkin.
  4. Allow to sit to rehydrate dates while carrots are grated.
  5. Add carrots, nuts, oil, water, flax, and milk to date mixture. Stir well.
  6. Add baking powder, stir quickly to combine, than add wet mixture to flour mix.
  7. Using a spatula, fold together until no dry pockets are left, but do not overmix.
  8. Divide between 12 well of muffin tin.
  9. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts: Per Muffin: 172 Kcal, 4g fat, 15g sugars, 2g fibre, 3g protein, 54% RDA Vit. A.

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Goldilocks oatmeal muffins

Making the perfect oatmeal muffin has been quite a challenge for me.

Stack of oatmeal muffins

I want it to have a little texture, but not be too coarse. I tried several variations on my original recipe, each one being disappointing for different reasons: Too sweet, too dense, or too rough. I felt like Goldilocks raiding the bears’ muffin stash!

Muffin on a plate with jam

Finally I’ve struck my ideal: fluffy, oaty, and not-too-sweet. Perfect with jam for dessert or with peanut butter for a snack at work. Pulsing the oats in the blender at the beginning gives these muffins a finer texture without sacrificing fibre or oat flavour.

Milled oats

These are also relatively high in protein, but aren’t too calorie-dense. For those of you who are into that sort of thing, one muffin has approximately 140 calories, 6g fat, 4g protein, and 5g sugar. Compare that to a Nature Valley trail mix bar, which has 140 calories, 4g fat, 2g protein, and 12g sugar. But enough about nutrition, as I don’t purport to be a healthy living blog, just a blog with delicious, wannabe-vegan recipes.

Muffins and apple on lunch sack

A few more technical notes about these muffins:

1. Even with the nutritional info listed above, these are lower fat than traditional muffins. I have found that muffin recipes with less than 1/4 c fat will stick to paper liners once they have cooled, so I would recommend just spraying your tin and pouring in the batter directly.

2. These muffins do have a coconut aroma, which is how I can get away with so little sugar. I know at least one person who hates coconut (hi Lia!), and have subbed out coconut oil for canola or olive oil in other recipes with a fair amount of success. Since canola doesn’t have the same melting point as coconut oil, I would recommend 1 Tbsp of melted margarine of butter and 2 Tbsp of liquid oil. If you do this you may wish to up the white sugar content by 1-2 Tbsp.

muffin batter in tins

3. You really do want to stir these muffins more than most recipes. The oatmeal needs to hydrate before baking, and if you stir just until mixed/slightly lumpy like with traditional muffins, you will get very uneven batter and resultantly clumpy muffins.

 

OK, long spiel aside, here we go:

 

Goldilocks oatmeal muffins – An Agent Minty original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant), pulsed in the food processor until fine
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice protein powder (if you don’t have protein powder, use more almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup almond milk or other milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Instructions:

  1. Pulse oats in a blender.
  2. Add all other dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice and milk, stirring until the milk curdles.
  4. Microwave for about 30 seconds so that the milk mixture is not very cold. Otherwise the coconut oil will harden when added.
  5. Add remaining liquids, stirring briefly.
  6. Pour liquid mix onto the dry ingredients.
  7. Stir gently but thoroughly until no dry lumps remain and the batter is smooth.
  8. Sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400F.
  9. Divide batter between greased muffin tins.
  10. Bake in centre of oven, rotating once, for 18 minutes. If you prefer muffins that are crispy on the outside, bake for 20 minutes.