Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry Nut Muffins

These cranberry nut muffins are perfect for a holiday morning breakfast  They're made with whole grain flour, coconut sugar and tomato juice so they aren't too sweet and the nuts add protein.  I can hear you say "tomato juice?" Yes, these tasty muffins are made with tomato juice, but they don't really have a tomato flavor.  The acid in the juice helps to activate the baking powder and soda which allows them to be egg free.  I love the science aspect of cooking, I find it fascinating.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the King Arthur Flour website.  It calls for their white whole wheat flour which I use a lot in baking.  It's whole grain but not as heavy as whole wheat flour.  I substituted the brown sugar with coconut palm sugar, and used less salt and oil than they called for. 

Actually, I made these muffins two ways, half a batch with light brown sugar and the other with coconut palm sugar.  I wanted to see how much difference it would make.  The coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree and is a healthier alternative to cane sugar.  You can learn more about it from a previous post I wrote by clicking on the words "coconut palm sugar" above. 

You can see from the pan below that the muffins on the right are darker, they're the ones made with the coconut sugar.

The muffins made with the light brown sugar on the left had a higher rise and a slightly more tender crumb but the flavor of the one on the right made with the coconut sugar was less sweet and more balanced.  We preferred to have an ever so slightly denser muffin with a richer flavor.

Since you may not be able to find the coconut palm sugar where you live you can make these with light or dark brown sugar, but it's worth trying to find it.  You'll feel better about feeding them to your family for breakfast.

I made these with dried cranberries and pecans but you can easily substitute with raisins and walnuts or any combination of the above.

Cranberry Nut Muffins
Adapted from a King Arthur recipe
Makes 12 muffins - Use organic ingredients whenever possible

2 1/4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1 cup coconut palm sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced pecans
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons tomato juice
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 400˚
Grease the wells and top of a muffin tin or use paper liners but still grease the top surface.
Whisk all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, including the dried fruit and nuts.
Whisk together the juice, oil and vanilla in another bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until everything is moistened but don't over mix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Let them cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing them.

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