Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 10, 2007: My healthiest, vegan-est muffins yet

I've written before about my need for mid-afternoon work snacks and recently I have fallen back into my bad, bad habit of buying chips or chocolate from the shop near my office. In a bid to remedy this, I retrieved this recipe for full meal muffins. They were developed by Jennifer McCann - the super-mum behind Vegan Lunch Box - with much trial and error along the way, so I was confident that the final recipe she shared with the world would be appetising as well as scrupulously healthy.

These muffins had the added advantage of requiring a few ingredients that have been sitting neglected in my pantry for while (spelt flour, blackstrap molasses, currants) and I managed to time my preparation of them perfectly. Michael was away interstate for a couple of days and so I purchased the required bananas (plus a couple extra) with impunity.

As I set about blending up the wet ingredients, my expectations took a dive. I had forgotten just how strong blackstrap molasses really is, and its acrid taste swamped the bananas and apple juice in the mix. I wondered if I'd like these muffins at all. But I needn't have worried. The little mounds that popped neatly out of my muffin pan were perfectly edible! They're incredibly dense and filling without being leaden, with a lovely springy texture. The taste is fairly nondescript, with the previously dominating molasses defeated by heat and flour to create a pleasant, bland and faintly sweet flavour. The currants and walnuts are vital for texture and taste, and I'm sure there are many other dried fruit and nut combinations that would work well.

Jennifer's muffins are a far cry from those fist-sized puffs of white flour, sugar and chocolate chips - and thank the Lord for that! Instead I have a pocket sized package of goodness to push me past 4:00 without a thought for chocolate. Would you believe I even converted Michael to them? I cheekily told him about the bananas within only after I won his approval. He has continued to munch on regardless.

My healthiest, vegan-est muffins yet

1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ripe bananas, peeled
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup currants

Set the oven to 190 degrees C and grease and muffin tin.

Sift together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.

In a food processor, blitz together the bananas, blackstrap molasses, apple juice and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Stir them into the sifted dry ingredients, then fold in the zucchini, walnuts and currants. My mixture was fine, but Jennifer suggests adding a bit more apple juice if you need it to wet all the flour.

Drop large tablespoons of the mixture into the muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top "springs back to the touch".

Divide mixture evenly into the 12 lined muffin cups, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top springs back to the touch. Remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container or freeze in individual freezer bags to pull out and put into lunches as needed.


  1. These muffins just scream good health. I always find molasses a bit overpowering. So I'm really interested in your results. They do sound good.

  2. Yes indeed, KJ, there's not a single ingredient to feel guilty about, is there? There is still a bit of a molasses smell about these but I'm astounded a how toned down the taste was.

  3. Hello, I stumbled upon your blog via the Green Gourmet Giraffe. I too enjoy "meal muffins" and eat them often for lunch. Actually I'm a bit addicted!

  4. Welcome, Lisarene! Jennifer's recipes are great, aren't they? She manages to combine good health and good taste most impressively.

  5. These are delicious ! Thankyou for wholesome, tasty, yumminess.

  6. You're most welcome, Zoe. :-)