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antioxidant power muffins (for your health)

I like muffins, I do. I can truthfully say that I’ve turned down invitations to go for a beer with friends in favor of cooking up a dozen. Actually heard over the phone in the background: “What, is she 80 years old?!” It was worth it.

I always gravitate towards the crumble topped, glazed or chocolate flecked varieties out of habit though… because it’s like eating a piece of cake. A piece of cake that you can sometimes have with a hot drink and call it breakfast. Oh, and healthy muffins are generally terrible. Like, more terrible than mornings pre-coffee. I wanted this to be different in a real way.

Here’s the thing. It’s hard to make a homemade, legitimately healthy muffin that tastes AMAZING + looks completely beautiful. I have high expectations in a general way. Brown, dome-y cake things are not always tasty and are definitely not inherently glamorous. I wanted it to be real good on all fronts for your health. Sometimes I irrationally worry about offering up recipes for more humble fare here. A muffin is not the most totally unique snowflake-kind of thing to post on a food blog, but it is decidedly everyday and approachable. I am slowly learning that this is enough.

When I lived in the city, I used to pop into the nearby Whole Foods from time to time for a matcha tea and one of their lovely vegan muffins. But it wasn’t entirely muffin-like! They baked them in petite bundt pans and put a sweet little glaze on top. The ingredients were all health-supporting for sure and the small hit of glaze brought it back into light indulgence territory. The idea was to emulate the overall feel of their muffin and fill the recipe out with things I really love.

I went to work, consulted with a new and wonderful book, and here we are. It’s a beauty, I assure you. It’s key to go wild with flavour-y things when undertaking more health-centric, vegan baking. The spices, the vanilla, the add-ins; they all work together to make a non buttered + egged treat so delicious. If I’m vegan-izing/health-ing something up, I generally double the vanilla specified, use spices and citrus zest with abandon, and reach for flavourful fats like nut butters or coconut oil as an overall strategy. Also, stirring the batter gently until just incorporated is key for a nice texture. You could apply that principle to any muffin recipe, but especially here with the inclusion of 100% whole grain flour.

In this particular breakfast marvel, I’ve used hearty spelt flour, almond meal, chia and flax seeds, warming spices, tropical coconut oil + vanilla (still savoring the bottle miss Ashlae sent me), walnuts, tart dried cranberries, coconut palm sugar, a smidge of banana to amp up the natural sweetness and some frozen Ontario blueberries stirred in to remind us of summer’s gifts. I topped them off with a zesty clementine glaze for an inviting hit of freshness. These would be perfect for a weekend brunch at home. Your grandma would be so proud of you for baking these on a Saturday night, just a thought :)

antioxidant power muffins + clementine glaze
adapted from Dr. Weil’s True Food
serves: 
makes 7-8 little bundts or 12 normal muffins
notes: If you eat them, feel free to replace the mashed banana with 3 beaten eggs to avoid any trace of banana-ness. Also! I know if you’re high on health, you might want to turn your nose up at the glaze portion. I found it pretty crucial to the whole experience. This batter isn’t terribly sweet, so the glaze has a rather serious function in the grand scheme (way serious).

muffins:
1 cup whole spelt flour
1/4 cup almond meal (or use more spelt if you like)
1 1/3 cups ground flax + chia seeds (or go with pure flax or pure chia)
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of fine sea salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I used almond)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed (or fresh if they’re in season)
3/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
2 tbsp cacao nibs

clementine glaze:
juice and zest of 1 clementine
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease your mini bundt or muffin tins and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, almond meal, flax + chia seeds, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt.

Mash the banana in a separate medium bowl. Make sure it is fairly smooth. To the banana, add the coconut oil, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Scrape the banana and milk mixture into the dry indredients (flour, ground flax etc). Gently fold the batter until it is just combined/there are no more dry bits of flour. Add the blueberries, dried cranberries, walnuts, and cacao nibs and gently fold them into the batter until evenly distributed. The batter should be quite thick at this point.

Fill the muffin cups/bundts with the batter to 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and muffins bounce back when you press your finger onto the tops. Cool the pans on a wire rack completely before turning out onto a plate.

While muffins are baking/cooling, make the glaze: whisk the clementine zest, juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Apply glaze to the tops of completely cooled muffins.

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ana cooks16/01/2013 - 6:15 am

i have no words for this recipe and shots!!!
just loved it all!

Sophie {The Cake Hunter}16/01/2013 - 6:29 am

‘Power muffin’ is a phrase I want to keep strong in my vocabulary. These looks delicious. I’ve become abit obsessed with spelt flour of late. I made the nicest pastry with it the other. The idea of ‘better for you’ baking really appeals to me. Beautiful photos as well :)

Caitlin16/01/2013 - 7:59 am

i was always a huge fan of the whole foods muffins. i would always read the ingredients in the case and think, “how can something with such healthy ingredients taste so delicious?!” i love the huge areas of blueberries in these lovelies- they look amazing and incredibly flavorful.

Ashlae16/01/2013 - 9:48 am

Giiiiiirl! Loving everything about this post. And if it makes you feel better, my friends also think I’m 80 – but who needs beers when you have POWER MUFFINS!

PS – this post finally convinced me that I can no longer function in the kitchen without baby bundts. Got ‘em!

Kathryn16/01/2013 - 9:53 am

I can never have too many muffin recipes in my life & it never ceases to amaze me how one simple treat can be so ridiculously incredibly decadent or full of life-affirming ingredients like this. Definitely looking forward to one of these beauties for breakfast in my near future.

erin16/01/2013 - 9:59 am

I love, love, love these! I also have to agree with Ashlae in that I need baby bundts in my life- they make everything look even more perfect!

Sophia16/01/2013 - 10:32 am

I am so glad I am not alone in sometimes turning down invitations to stay at home to bake! Seriously, after a long week at work, one of the things that helps me unwind and which I look forward to all week is to come home and bake pizza from scratch (with dough that has patiently been proving in the fridge for a day)!

And those muffins? They sound delicious – I might just bake my next batch of muffins in my little bundt pans … and those pictures! I am very jealous of the light! Beautiful shots as always!

Christine16/01/2013 - 10:35 am

These look delicious! I’m putting them on my weekend list :) I just found your blog recently and have seen so many things I’d love to make, but what caught me most was that you are in Niagara – I’m in Niagara too!

Mariela Alvarez-Toro16/01/2013 - 10:37 am

What GF flour would yo substitute the spelt for? More almond flour? Coconut? I definitely want to try this out. Lovely post.

Laura16/01/2013 - 10:40 am

Hi Mariela! I think all almond flour might be too dense. I generally swear by Ashlae’s GF flour mix as a good substitute in muffins and cakes for sure. Here’s the link for her blend: http://www.ohladycakes.com/2012/01/how-to-make-gluten-free-flour.html

Hope that helps you a bit!
-Laura

Kate16/01/2013 - 11:19 am

I’m all about a muffin that is purposeful in it’s short life; a small diversion from sweet and cloying, a teeny little break in the day where the need for support and sustenance is strong. A muffin should be powerful, despite being tiny. I’m constantly changing up ingredients, adding the flax seed, subbing in whole wheat flour, reducing sugar or swapping it for honey. They need to give me a boost, not a sugar rush.

I recently re-did my recipe books and was shocked at how many muffin recipes I have. Regardless, I’m printing this one and adding it to the mix. You can never have enough.

Sara forte16/01/2013 - 12:43 pm

I used to work at True Food kitchen and I knew where these muffins were from at first picture! They are beautiful, Laura. I’m with you on humble offerings. Keep them coming.

Stacy16/01/2013 - 3:56 pm

Laura, these muffins look fabulous, and your photos are particularly stunning here. I affirm your choice to stay in to bake from time to time, as I do believe I have done exactly the same. And I must say that these muffins seem pretty snowflake-like to me — not the usual muffin offering, to be sure! But either way, absolutely, absolutely enough. (That Dr. Weil. What a rock star.)

la domestique16/01/2013 - 6:54 pm

A healthful muffin that tastes good sounds like something we could all use in our recipe box. I flipped through True Food recently and man, what a great cookbook! Gorgeous photos, Laura!

Shelley16/01/2013 - 6:59 pm

hi! could regular sugar be swapped in for the coconut palm sugar? thanks!

Jess16/01/2013 - 7:12 pm

Ahhhhhrrr! So gloriously amazing! Your food is always to die for. ;-)

Laura16/01/2013 - 7:57 pm

Hi Shelley! You could absolutely use normal cane sugar in place of the coconut palm sugar. The batter might be a touch sweeter too :)
-Laura

Jacqui16/01/2013 - 10:50 pm

These are gorgeous muffins Laura! And I’m guilty of being called “grandma” many times. Baking is totally a worthy excuse for staying in if you ask me!

Hannah17/01/2013 - 2:40 am

Laura these look amazing. I am going to bed dreaming about clementine glaze – I suspect my shopping list for tomorrow will be altered by the time I get up ;) Thanks for another stunner. I think you’re hitting on something nice here, too, which is that even simple things can be made better when we remember them as the treats that they are, and show them a tiny bit of extra (clementine-flavored, bundt-shaped) love.

thelittleloaf17/01/2013 - 9:34 am

These muffins are a work of art! I love that you think so hard about coming up with inspiring recipes for the blog – this is certainly one of them :-)

Courtney17/01/2013 - 6:26 pm

I so need these muffins in my life!! I too have been disappointed by so-called “healthy muffins” in the past as they seem to be lacking in freshness & flavor. These look amazing! I love the clementine glaze and the fact that you made these in mini bundt pans :)

Melissa17/01/2013 - 10:05 pm

Made them tonight. They are divine. Devoured by all three sons and husband! Thank you.

Julia {The Roasted Root}18/01/2013 - 12:42 am

What a unique and healthful muffin! I love that you use mini bundt molds to change it up! Stunning photos, too!

Sarah18/01/2013 - 6:29 pm

Laura, I love you so much. I always joke with my husband that I am already a Grandma, so when I read that first paragraph I wanted to send you a bag of cookies and some freshly made doilies. {and, these muffins are so beautiful!}

The Frosted Vegan20/01/2013 - 6:52 pm

I love how cute and lovely these look, especially with that clementine glaze!

Katie (The Muffin Myth)21/01/2013 - 8:04 am

Cakes masquerading as a healthy breakfast item drive me bonkers, hence the name of my blog! These little bundts look gorgeous, and are the perfect balance of indulgence and health. I have a recipe on my blog for no sugar banana bran muffins which are my favourite weekday muffins, but I’ll definitely have to give these a try. The only thing I don’t have on hand is the coconut sugar, which can be easily corrected. Thanks for sharing the recipe – and your words here have convinced me to pick up Dr. Weil’s cookbook.

Nicole06/02/2013 - 1:31 pm

As soon as I saw “for your health”, I instantly thought of Steve Brule! I think I say “for your health” at least once per day, and always out of context like him. My favorite is “for your wine”, though!

Laura Wright06/02/2013 - 3:00 pm

Nicole, I’m so glad you appreciate Steve Brule as much as I do! I’m always using “for your health” out of context too :))

Julia08/02/2013 - 2:13 pm

well, i also have a copy of true food, and at first glance these muffins didn’t wow me, but yours do!! i baked them this morning, and you’re right, the glaze did play an integral role in the amazing-ness of them. thanks so much!

[...] recept komt van de briljante site The First Mess en ik heb het een beetje aangepast omdat ik niet alles in huis [...]

Rachel Brady12/04/2013 - 3:44 pm

How have I not come across you before now!? Love all the recipes, have to try them all – where to start?! Fab. xxx

Filling my Time | Food Whims18/04/2013 - 2:38 pm

[...] Antioxidant Power Muffins + Clementine Glaze [...]

Anna12/05/2013 - 9:34 am

These look amazing! Would love to make them but any way we can avoid the sugar (ie. use dates, applesauce or more bananas)? If so what would the proportions be??? Thanks!

Laura Wright14/05/2013 - 8:21 am

Hi Anna,
You could certainly sub in the same amount of date paste for the sugar, but you would have to reduce all of the other wet ingredients in the recipe by 1/4. I’m not sure how this would impact the structure of the muffin to be honest. Let me know if you try!
-L

Leticia01/03/2014 - 4:44 pm

Made these muffins and they were really delicious, even without the glaze.

However, after following the recipe to a T, my muffins ended up looking more like 2 bite brownies… Do you have any tips on how to get them to rise up like a muffin, or should I expect them to look they way they did?

Looking forward to making them again!

Laura Wright02/03/2014 - 1:34 pm

Hi Leticia!
So glad you enjoyed the muffins. And in terms of rising, these never really puff up like traditional muffins. I opt for the mini bundt way of baking them because they never have those perfectly domed tops. That’s always a tricky thing with vegan muffin batters I find.
-L

[…] 14. Antioxidant Power Muffins – You know you’re getting your fill of antioxidants when it’s part of the title. This recipe uses a combination of blueberries and cranberries to live up to its name. It combines them with other amazing foods like ginger, cinnamon, and bananas so this is a nutritional feast for the body. The way they’ve made them here almost looks like a fancy doughnut, but they’re calling them muffins. Either way they’re healthy as can be. […]

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