When I started baking years ago I remember being perplexed by certain recipes. Cakes and brownies would always turn out well but a) chocolate chip cookies and b) muffins never worked for me. I have to say that I blame this on me using recipes from ‘older’ English cookbooks – the ones with the types of recipes we’d be taught for basic cooking skills in Food Technology lessons at school. Let me tell you something, those cookbooks are great if you want to make hot cross buns and Victoria sponges but terrible for quickbreads, muffins and cookies.
Due to the frustratingly dense muffins I had baked in the past, I was on a mission to find a better batter. The first ones which came close to what my idea of a ‘muffin’ was, were the internet famous Jordan Marsh Muffins from Cooks.com (the most hilariously retro looking recipe website I’ve ever found). Due to the incredible amount of sugar they contain, I’d say on a scale of cake to muffin, they come closer to dessert than breakfast treat. I still make them, on occasion, but have been searching for something a little more healthful.
That’s where these muffins, from Amy Chaplin’s new book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, come in. They’re still tender and cakey due to the ground almonds and coconut oil with a gentle sweetness from maple syrup. The cornmeal adds texture, flavour and a lovely golden hue to the batter. The recipe originally uses blackberries but due to an abundance of loganberries from the allotment I used them instead. They’re perfect on their own and maybe even better the next day, split and toasted with a smudge of almond butter.
– The original recipe called for 2 tbsp of chia seeds instead of 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed. I used flax as I prefer the texture but chia seeds will work just as well.
– Amy notes that if you have no cornmeal on hand you can replace the cornmeal with 1/2 cup (50 g) unsweetened, shredded coconut which has been pulsed briefly in a food processor.
– I sprinkled a little bit of raw sugar onto the top of each muffin before baking
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed, (see note)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) sprouted spelt flour or whole spelt flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup (55 g) cornmeal (see note)
- 1/2 cup (55 g) ground almonds/almond flour
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) melted unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups (280 g) loganberries or blackberries (frozen berries are better)
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a standard muffin tin with 10 muffin cases and set aside.
- Whisk together the ground flaxseed with the almond milk in a medium bowl and leave to thicken for 10 minutes.
- Sift the spelt flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the cornmeal and ground almonds and whisk to combine.
- Add the orange zest, orange juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt to the flaxseed mixture. Whisk to combine then add the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Add in the berries and stir them in briefly.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling all the way to the top, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to sit for 5 minutes before serving or transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.