Muffins!

I had a collection of muffin recipes before I went vegan. They were pretty traditional, with all-purpose (AP) flour (which I’d haphazardly exchange for whole wheat as I felt like it/had it available), egg, and sometimes milk. I did like to use pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce, but they always included sugar and CHOCOLATE CHIPS. We lloooovvve chocolate chips!

More recently my baking efforts have been a little more sophisticated, in that I want to use a recipe that is specifically designed for the particular flour that I use. But I don’t like the idea of using AP flour–I seek out whole wheat recipes. I have found some good ones:

Dark chocolate banana bread: I’ve never been a fan of bananas. This includes smoothies that include bananas, banana flavored candies, and banana bread. But, I’m a vegan now, I eat plants, so I think I should try to get on board the banana train if I want to eat muffins. I made this quickbread as muffins, so it counts. I decided to try it because my kids like bananas and muffins, I had new star-shaped muffin molds, and chocolate (it can’t be that bad with all that chocolate, right?). It was ok. The kids liked them, but I had a hard time with the banana. The second time I made it, I had a cold and a stuffy nose, and couldn’t taste the banana. I loved them that day.

Sugar-free banana muffins: I used molasses instead of honey, vegan margarine as the butter, and some sort of egg replacer (I don’t remember–either pumpkin puree, aquafaba, or Ener-G, I’m guessing). I also left out the walnuts. These were super delicious, but unnecessarily sweet. Also, I get her point, but it irks me when people say “sugar free” when you just sub a liquid sweetener or xylitol for the sugar. Really, with overripe bananas, you can get by with very little sweetener.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread from Chocolate Covered Katie: This recipe was already vegan, so I didn’t make changes, other that omitting the additional sweetener. I went with canned pumpkin puree, sugar over xylitol, spelt flour over AP, and my milk of choice was unsweetened almond. I don’t have pumpkin pie spice; I just used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (in ascending order) to make up the 1/2 teaspoon called for. I had to bake it for a little longer that the recipe specified. This doesn’t have any fat like butter or oil, but it was still pretty good for me and the kids. And chocolate chips are in it, so ya know…:-D

Those chocolate chips got me thinking…they are sweet enough that whatever I throw them into doesn’t need to be so sweet. Maybe I could find an “unsweetened” muffin recipe rather than “sugar free”. More on that later!

What attributes do you look for in a muffin recipe?

Black Bean Sweet Potato Goo (fail)

I attempted Cooking for Kiwi and Bean‘s Black Bean Sweet Potato Fudge Bars last night to use up the beans I cooked earlier this week. In summary, if I had rinsed the beans and allowed all extraneous moisture to drain, they would have been perfect. Unfortunately, I was unable to get them “done.”

To save time, I cooked 2 sweet potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes, then put them in a 425 degree oven until they were soft and fragrant. I only used 1/3 cup maple syrup.I weighed 14 oz of homemade unsalted black beans and drained the liquid but I didn’t rinse.

I’ve been hearing about whipping bean liquid (“aquafaba”) into a vegan version of meringue, and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try it. {I heard about it on Chocolate Covered Katie, but she’s not the first, so just google it and I won’t worry about proper sourcing :)}. Maybe I could fold the mock meringue into the batter and the bars would come out more cake-like!

To my chagrin, the liquid did not whip, despite the cream of tartar and my initial patience. Perhaps I need to use the watery portion of liquid instead? I’ll be experimenting more with it and following along with others at https://www.facebook.com/groups/372343816286624/permalink/385569851630687/. In any case, I poured it down the drain and proceeded with the recipe as originally intended.

The batter was delicious. I noticed flecks of bean skin as I spread it in the pan, but it was too late to process more. I cooked for 30 minutes or maybe a bit more, per recipe, then the top looked done, so I removed them from oven and pan to cool. Once they were cool enough to cut, I realized they were not done at all. I left them in the fridge overnight so I could try baking them some more in the morning.

I think I baked for another hour the next morning before I gave up. Rinsing the beans must be crucial. I’ll have to try again next time.

By the way, they were still yummy! I ate half the recipe and threw away the other half (only because that’s way too many calories and the only way I knew I’d abstain is discarding them into the trash).