Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

And here it is, April already.

I’d like to tell you that I’m joking when I say I feel absolutely vile, but I’m afraid it’s all too true.  I’ve had a horrid cough since Friday, and thought I had another case of bronchitis, but this morning my sinuses have decided to join in on the act.  That feels like allergies, and I suppose it could be – I’m not running a fever.  Mostly, though, I’m just really, really tired; I don’t know why I waited until 2 a.m. last night to realize, “You know, there are things in this house you can take for that cough, you silly broad.”

Nyquil is a good thing.

At any rate, I know I have at least one reader that will be glad to see this recipe, which is really good if you are fond of lemon poppy seed anything (I’d considered trying to make a pound cake).  They’re not too sweet and not too tart, but have a nice lemon flavor; a really nice Sunday brunch treat.  Based on my revised Savory Almond Muffin recipe, they’re also quick and easy to make.  You can’t beat that with a stick.

If I had the energy to beat something with a stick.  Which I don’t.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins - Bursting with poppy seeds, these gluten-free muffins are bright with lemony flavor.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup high-oleic safflower oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease 9 cups of a one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar. Stir the eggs, oil, zest and lemon juice into the almond flour mixture, beating lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined. Stir in the poppy seeds.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the 9 greased muffin cups. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 216 calories, 15.8g total fat, 62mg cholesterol, 199.5mg sodium, 174.9mg potassium, 12.7g carbohydrates, 2.4g fiber, 5.2g sugar, 2.4g protein

 

Blackberry Buckle

It is Friday and I can’t even BEGIN to express how pathetically grateful I am that this week, which has just been horrific, is at an end.  On the upside, I’m please to report that what had us so very frightened at the beginning of the week turned out to be pretty much a non-issue.  We still don’t have the whole story or all of the results so I still can’t post about it, but as soon as I do, I will.  But aside from the fact Beloved seems to be coming down with a cold and has some odd rash on the left side of his face, we’re all fine and everything seems to be returning to normal.

Or I so fervently hope.

Anyhoo, today’s recipe is my version of the classic fruit buckle.  The base of buckle is a rich cake batter, which is sprinkled with fresh fruit and then topped with a streusel mixture. During the baking process, the cake batter rises up around the fruit, encasing the fruit in batter and causing the streusel to buckle, giving it a bumpy, uneven appearance.

Is it good?  Well, let’s just put it this way:  I don’t think this lasted 24 hours in our house.  We’d all walk by the covered dish it was in, sitting on the counter in the kitchen and cut a tiny piece, which decimated it pretty quickly (and no, it wouldn’t be inappropriate to suggest we were finding excuses to walk past it).

If you have a nut allergy, I apologize, because this is just full of almonds, which accounts for it’s calorie and fat content.  However, if you don’t this is one of those special treat desserts that is certain to please your family.  I used blackberries because they were on sale at the store (it may not be berry season here, but it is in California), but you can use just about any fruit you want.  I may make it again this summer when the local peaches are ripe.  Mmmmm, peaches…

Blackberry Buckle. This homey, gluten-free dessert can be made with just about any kind of fruit.

Blackberry Buckle
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients – the flours, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar – in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients – eggs, ghee, and vanilla – and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to high and mix until the batter is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping except the ghee. Stir in the ghee, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but not wet.
  4. Pour the batter into a well-greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish and scatter the blackberries evenly over the surface, then top with the almond mixture (there will be a lot). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack; cut into squares and serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 448 calories, 31.6g total fat, 96.5mg cholesterol, 132.5mg sodium, 382mg potassium, 33.4g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 16.7g sugar, 7.4g protein

Sour Cherry Streusel Muffins

I will be SO glad when Spring finally arrives.  This winter has been on the mild side (although not as mild as last year), but I’m tired of grey skies and grey days.  I want warmth!  I want sunshine!  I want flowers, and green budding trees!

Have I mentioned Spring is my favorite season?

At the moment, however, there’s about two inches of snow on the ground – our gift from Winter Storm Saturn – and the sun is nowhere to be found.  It’s cold, grey and dull outside, so something warm and comforting and deliciously wonderful is definitely in order.

So how about some Sour Cherry Streusel Muffins?  ‘Cause they are quite possibly the best muffins I’ve ever made.

They embody the word “treat” – they’re not low calorie, they’re not low carb.  What they are is divine; the muffins have a moist, well-formed crumb but are neither heavy nor soggy.  The streusel topping is crunchy and rich, and the sour cherries lend a pleasing, fruity tartness that keep them from being too sweet.  I really cannot relate how very good they are.

I sincerely suggest that these muffins be saved for a special occasion or when there will be many people to consume them, because they are worse than Lay’s Potato Chips – it’s really, really hard to eat just one.

Note: Sour cherries, also known as “pie cherries,” aren’t exactly in season right now, so feel free to use good quality frozen or canned – just make sure there’s no added sugars or other undesirable additives.

This would also be good baked in an 8″x8″ cake pan; just extend the baking time by about 10 minutes.  Coffee cake!

Sour Cherry Struesel Muffins- tangy, moist and crunchy, these muffins will brighten the dreariest of winter days!

Sour Cherry Streusel Muffins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup chopped sour cherries
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease the cups of a standard, one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. Combine the pecans, tapioca and potato flours, coconut sugar, shredded coconut, cinnamon and mace in a small bowl. Stir in the melted ghee, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is moist and crumbly, but not wet. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, coconut sugar, salt and baking soda. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, and stir into the almond flour mixture. Add the melted ghee and beat lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the cherries.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the greased muffin cups and sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 306 calories, 22.6g total fat, 61.8mg cholesterol, 153.2mg sodium, 220.4mg potassium, 21.3g carbohydrates, 3.9g fiber, 10.3g sugar, 3.2g protein

Savory Almond Flour Muffins, Revisited

Since I posted it in September 2011, Savory Almond Flour Muffins has been one of my most popular recipes.  And with good reason; they’re a delicious, low carb, grain free, gluten free, dairy free substitute for cornbread – I’ve even made dressing out of them.  They’re a marvelous accompaniment for soups, stews and chilis and they keep well.  They’re also a little dense and oily, and not terribly absorbent, so I’ve been working on making them lighter, fluffier and more “bread-like.”

I have achieved success.

These are a huge hit in our house, and I have to limit how often I make them because Beloved and The Young One would eat them every day, at nearly every meal, if I’d bake them that often.  They have also become the base recipe for sweet muffins and cakes, because the batter is just that versatile.

Almond flour and eggs are still the base ingredients, but I’ve added small amounts of tapioca flour and potato starch to lighten up the texture and give them a more bread-like “chew.”  I’ve also changed the oil I use, swapping out the olive oil with expeller-pressed, high-oleic safflower oil.

There’s a reason for this.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but recently I’ve heard enough about the practice of mixing olive oil with cheap, industrial seed oils to make me uncomfortable using the inexpensive “light” olive oil I’d been relying on for sautés, mayonnaise and the occasional baked good.  Then, not too long ago, Mark Sisson answered a reader’s question about high-oleic sunflower and safflower oils – are they safe?

To my surprise, the answer was yes, provided they’re cold or expeller-pressed:

[blockquote]They’re actually not terrible. If you stick with reputable companies that cold-press or expeller-press their oils without chemical solvents or high heat, high-oleic sunflower and safflower oils are good in a pinch. They don’t taste like much of anything, making them good for homemade mayonnaise, and they contain vitamin E (if they’re expeller-pressed), making them resistant to oxidation. Furthermore, high-oleic sunflower and safflower seeds aren’t products of genetic modification, if you’re trying to avoid GMOs…the high-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oil are far superior to other vegetable and seed oils.[/blockquote]

Well, alrighty then.  So I threw out my inexpensive olive oils, and replaced the extra-virgin with a high-quality California olive oil and the “light” stuff with high-oleic safflower oil, and it works really well.

The original recipe for these muffins came in at 188 calories and about 6 grams of carbohydrates each; this new version are 201 calories and about 10 grams of carbs because of the tapioca and potato starch.  However,  I’ve substituted the touch of honey in the old recipe with the lower calorie/carb coconut sugar, which you can omit all together if you like, reducing the carb count by a couple of grams per muffin, although I think just a touch of sweetness gives them more depth of flavor and keeps them from tasting a little bitter.

These would be really good with some finely chopped jalapeno and maybe a little shredded cheddar cheese, if you do dairy.  I’m thinking perhaps a tamale pie…

Savory Almond Muffins

Savory Almond Flour Muffins

Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup high-oleic safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease 9 cups of a one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond and tapioca flour, potato starch, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar..
  3. Stir the eggs, oil and water into the almond flour mixture, beating lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the 9 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 201 calories, 15.7g total fat, 62mg cholesterol, 199.5mg sodium, 162.4mg potassium, 9.3g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 2.4g sugar, 2.3g protein

Just a reminder:  I’ve been nominated for Best Recipe Blog, Best Healthy Cooking Blog and Best Food Photography on a Blog at The Kitchn’s 2013 Homies Awards (along with a lot of other nice blogs). Take a minute and check it out – and vote (for me!) if you’re so inclined. Thanks!

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s cold here today.

How cold, you ask?  This kind of cold:

Chilly in Podunk

I’d say there’s a wee bit of a nip in the air, wouldn’t you?

I wore my sheepskin coat to work this morning.  I never wear my sheepskin coat; it weighs like 20 pounds.

Anyhoo, what better thing to do when it gets this kind of cold than bake?  And what better to bake than some wonderfully rich muffins, full of high-quality dark chocolate and fresh, sweet cherries?

I know cherries aren’t in season – it’s 5 degrees outside, duh – but I found some last week at the grocery store that were just gorgeous and couldn’t resist, even if they were $7/pound.  I’ve been nibbling on them for days, but realized I should probably do something else with them before they went bad, since I was the only person eating them and they were $7/pound.  The Young One is having his friends over Saturday to celebrate his 18th birthday, so I also had some very nice Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in the house (I’m making chocolate cupcakes with classic chocolate buttercream per his request), and since cherries and chocolate go so well together…well, there you go.

And, my goodness, are they ever good.  Even The Young One and his friends were gobbling them down – I had to hide them just so I’d have a couple left to photograph. (Yes, the chocolate chips kind of sank to the bottom, but frankly, who cares?  It’s chocolate; it’ll be good no matter where in the muffins it ends up.)

If you remove the chocolate chips and cherries, you have a very good, basic muffin recipe that works well with just about any additions or flavorings stirred in.  Just super, and reasonably low in calories and carbohydrates, as well.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup chopped fresh sweet cherries
  • 1 cup high-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease the cups of a standard, one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, coconut sugar, salt and baking soda. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, and stir into the almond flour mixture. Add the melted ghee and beat lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 243 calories, 17.1g total fat, 57.1mg cholesterol, 152.9mg sodium, 252.7mg potassium, 16.7g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 8g sugar, 3g protein