A friend said something during the week which I have been thinking about over the weekend - if you're going to indulge, you may as well have made it yourself. More and more I keep thinking about her words. Generally, I try and avoid doing lots of baking at home, because I little trust my self-control when there's a container of delicious muffins, or cake, or biscuits, or raw brownie, sitting on my counter (everyone's their own worst critic, right?). And generally, I do indulge. What I'm realising now, is, that's kind of the point! More often than not, when I have that urge to indulge, something that's perfectly not-too-sweet, and contains enough nutrition to keep me happy, options always seem to be low on the ground. And I mean, really, really low on the ground. (Because I'm out, and most places, not suprisingly, don't seem to cater for insulin-resistant, low-dairy vegetarians).
I end up making a choice I'm not comfortable with health-wise, and regret my moment of indulgence. And who wants to regret something that should be pleasurable?? Not me. The advantages to creating your own baked-goods kryptonite are many, as I see it! You know exactly what you're putting into them, you're able to control the amount of protein, the types of fat, and the nutritional super-power that all foods should have! But, almost as important - you're able to take pleasure not only in the eating, but also in the making. Deciding what to include, building up ideas for next time, savouring the moment when a cake comes out of the oven, and really enjoying that first mouthful. For me, sometimes the cooking is as pleasurable as the eating. So, wrapped up in my new-found spirit, this afternoon, I made muffins.
Molly was very interested. The muffins were so appealing, even she wanted some! What's the go with these muffins then? Well, despondent because I wasn't able to find a recipe I was happy with (something that combined multiple types of grain flour, no dairy, and flavour), I decided to combine two recipes: Heidi Swanson's Multigrain Pancakes from Super Natural Everyday, and Stephanie Alexander's basic muffin recipe from The Cook's Companion. These are two of my most-used cookbooks, so I was quite excited to adapt their recipes into my own.
I took the general proportions of Stephanie's recipe, applying it to Heidi's super-trio of wholemeal, oat and rye flours, and adding in lemon zest, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds.
You'd think that a muffin that uses oat and rye flours would be dense and heavy, but not so! It's crumbly and moist and light. And because rye is milled with its germ and bran still intact, it gets to keep all its nutrients, unlike white wheat flour, which has had all the good stuff stripped away. Both rye and oats are excellent sources of manganese, with many other health benefits (check out WHFoods on oats, if you doubt their awesomeness!). Sunflower and poppy seeds give texture and even more nutrients (I know, I know. I'm a nutrient nerd.)
These muffins are healthy, yes. But they still feel special to me, and they're just so frickin' delicious. Enjoy!
Lemon and Seed Muffins
Personalise away to your own tastes here - different seeds or zests, dried fruit or nuts - next time I'm thinking orange zest and slivered almonds. Be sure not to overcook these, they'd definitely dry out if left too long. Also a note on oat flour - I mill mine fresh in our (very clean) coffee grinder - just use the same measurement of rolled oats that you need for the oat flour (1/2 cup in this recipe). Grind until a fine powder.
1 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup raw sugar
a pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup soy milk, nut milk, or cow's milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil today, but olive or sunflower would work perfectly too)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a muffin tray with some oil, or lay out the muffin papers on a tray.
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, whisking to combine. Add the seeds, stirring to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine egg, soy milk and oil, whisking lightly. Add the wet mixture and the zest to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
Spoon mixture into muffin tray or papers, until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, if a cake tester comes out clean, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Makes 9 muffins.