Tag Archives: oats

Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins with Sunflower Streusel

IMG_4970Sometimes, you just need a good muffin. And as wonderful as homemade baked good are, there’s something about muffins from a bakery that homemade muffins rarely seem to capture. Do you ever miss that towering muffin top with its irresistibly crunchy edges? I sure do!  There is good news, though. I have a solution, and it’s much more simple than you might think.

The secret here is the baking temperature. Generally, when we bake muffins, the temperature of the oven is set to a steady 350°F -375°F for the entire baking period. If we set the oven temperature very high initially, say 450°F, and lower it after a few minutes, we’ll get that big, crunchy domed muffin top that the bakeries have been keeping for themselves all these years.

IMG_4967Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins with Sunflower Streusel

Makes 6 jumbo “bakery style” muffins, or 12 standard size muffins*

Blueberry Muffins
•3 cups all purpose flour
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
•3/4 cup coconut sugar
•2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
•1 1/2 cups vegan yogurt (I used vanilla coconut milk yogurt)
•1/2 tablespoon molasses
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/4 cup almond milk
•1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries

Sunflower Streusel

•1/4 cup room temperature coconut oil
•1/3 cup coconut sugar
•1 cup rolled oats
•1/2 cup sunflower seeds
•1/4 cup whole wheat flour
•up to 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

For the streusel:

Combine coconut oil, coconut sugar, oats, sunflower seeds, and flour in a small bowl, and mix together with fingers until mixture is crumbly. Add non-dairy milk, as needed, until you achieve a sandy texture. Set aside while you prepare the muffin batter.

For the muffins: 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease or line with paper liners one jumbo muffin tin.

In  a large bowl, mix together flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt until everything is evenly distributed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, coconut sugar, flaxseed, yogurt, molasses, vanilla extract, and non-dairy milk until homogenous.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix by hand, with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour the batter into prepared muffin tin of choice, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle streusel over the top of each muffin.

Bake at 450°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 and bake another 26-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in muffin tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (or just to avoid burning your lips off).

Notes: For standard size muffins, bake at 450°F for 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes.

IMG_4965Are you a fan of the crunchy muffin top? Or do you prefer the bottom of the muffins? What about the flavor? I’ve always been a blueberry fan, though I wouldn’t refuse a muffin if there were chocolate present.

Double Chocolate Mocha Oat Squares

double chocolate mocha oat squaresToday I want to talk about snacks. We’ve talked about snacks before, but not all snacks are created equal. The best kinds of snacks (in my opinion) contain chocolate. Double doses of chocolate (or even triple, if you like). What makes chocolate taste better? Coffee. Just a little bit, to deepen the flavor. And vanilla, because I like it (don’t you?). Sea salt, too, because what goes better with chocolate than sea salt?

double chocolate mocha oat squaresThis is one of those recipes that I created as I went. I had no clear end in sight when I walked into the kitchen, outside of the fact that I needed a new snack. And that a portable snack would be most ideal. Apparently, I was in the mood for chocolate, because that’s the first item I grabbed off the shelf, shortly followed by oats, another staple ingredient, and freshly made sunflower seed butter (which has also seen a lot of use around here lately).

double chocolate mocha oat squaresThese bars are dense and chewy, full of wonderful texture, and completely satisfying. Melty chocolate complements crunchy sunflower seeds and chewy rolled oats. A hint of coffee gives these bars a complex flavor and makes them a bit more mysterious than your average granola bar. They’re great for a pre-workout energy boost, quick breakfast (chocolate for breakfast, yes please!), or even drizzled with extra chocolate as a dessert for your Superbowl party this weekend!

double chocolate mocha oat squaresDouble Chocolate Mocha Oat Squares

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients

•1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
•1/4 cup brewed coffee*
•1/2 cup unsweetened, unsalted sunflower seed butter*
•1/3 cup turbinado sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 cup rolled oats
•1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
•2 tablespoons cocoa powder
•1/4 cup chocolate chunks
•2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line with parchment or lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the ground flaxseed and coffee. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sunflower seed butter, turbinado sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon until homogenous, then pour in the flaxseed mixture and stir until completely incorporated.

Pour in the salt, rolled oats, flour, and cocoa powder, and mix until well incorporated, using your hands if necessary. The dough will be slightly crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chunks.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press down firmly, creating a 3/4 inch thick layer of dough. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top and press into the dough.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges are just golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes: To give these bars a triple dose of chocolate, use my chocolate sunflower seed butter. If you do not wish to use coffee, an equal amount of a coffee substitute (such as Teeccino or Dandy Blend), or non-dairy milk may be used. If you use non-dairy milk, the bars won’t have the mocha flavor, but will work just the same.

double chocolate mocha oat squaresWhat are your favorite chocolate snacks? Do any of them do double duty as a dessert (or breakfast)? Does anyone of other great ideas for Superbowl snacks?

double chocolate mocha oat squares

Protein Packed Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins

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Whenever Justin and I go on trips, homemade snacks are a must. The more portable, the better. If I don’t know where my next meal is coming from, I get very stressed and it’s quite difficult for me to enjoy myself. As such, I generally bring a selection of homemade bars, granola, dried fruits, nuts, and some sturdy veggies, like carrots, to keep us going. I decided to change up the routine this time and go with a muffin. They’re portable, come in their own bite sized portions, and are small enough to throw in my purse on the go. I had some apples in the fridge that had seen better days, so into the batter they went. Nobody will be able to tell the difference once they’re baked into these enticing muffins. A big tub of cooked quinoa sat in the fridge, as well, just threatening to go off before I returned, so into the batter it went, too. The quinoa provided great texture and kept the muffins from drying out. As an added bonus, our muffins now have a nice dose of protein to help you through long days spent on your feet. A handful of nuts for texture, and a healthy dose of cinnamon for good measure round out this satisfying snack.

IMG_6624Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins 

Makes 12 Muffins

Wet Ingredients
•2 tablespoons flaxseed
•1/4 cup water
•1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
•1/4 cup coconut sugar
•2 tablespoons melted coconut oil*
•2 tablespoons creamy cashew butter*
•1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

Dry Ingredients
•2/3 cup whole spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
•1/4 cup almond meal
•1/4 cup brown rice flour
•2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/3 cup cooked quinoa*
•2/3 cup diced apples (I used gala)
•1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or or line with paper muffin liners a standard 12 cup muffin tin.

1. Mix together the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the wet ingredients.

2. In a medium bow, combine almond milk, coconut sugar, coconut oil, cashew butter, and molasses. Stir to combine, then pour in flaxseed mixture and stir until completely incorporated.

3. In  large bowl, stir together spelt flour, almond meal, rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until just incorporated.

5. Fold in the quinoa, apples, and hazelnuts until evenly distributed through the batter.

6. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin liner. The liners should be almost full, as the batter does not rise much.

7. Bake muffins for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: In place of coconut oil, sunflower oil or another neutral oil may be used. I prefer coconut oil for it’s heat resistant properties. Any creamy nut butter may be used in place of cashew butter, however; the flavor of stronger nut butters, such as peanut butter, may come through in the final product. If you do not have cooked quinoa on hand, an equal amount of quick oats may be substituted.

IMG_6630What are your favorite snacks to bring along on trips? Any other creative uses of quinoa?

Chewy Gingerbread Bars

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We are big fans of bars here, as they are easy to make, and convenient to grab on the run. Work and school make it difficult to have “real” lunches sometimes, and bars usually do the trick, or at least work well at holding us over until we can eat something more substantial. I haven’t yet come up with one bar recipe that I make every time, but I have quite a few that always produce satisfying results. This recipe uses a combination of whole wheat and brown rice flour, as well as rolled oats and millet puffs for texture. A bit of candied ginger adds an extra treat, and makes these bars quite seasonally appropriate. I’ve used ground ginger and cinnamon here to produce a gingerbread-like flavor, but any number of other spice mixtures would work nicely.

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Gingerbread Bars

Ingredients

•2 tablespoons ground flaxseed plus 4 tablespoons water

•2/3 cup white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
•1/3 cup brown rice flour
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•1/8 teaspoon sea salt

•1/2 large or 1 small banana, mashed (about 1/4 cup) (applesauce or another fruit puree would work equally as well)
•2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, or other neutral oil
•1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (or regular molasses, for a subtler flavor)
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/3 cup turbinado sugar

•1/3 cup rolled oats
•1/3 cup puffed millet
•2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
•2 tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds

Lightly grease or line with parchment paper an 8-inch square baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. In a small bowl, mix together ground flax and water. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together banana, sunflower oil, molasses, vanilla, sugar, and flax mixture. Pour over flour mixture and stir until just combined.

4. Fold in oats, puffed millet, candied ginger, and sunflower seeds until evenly dispersed.

5. Spread dough into an even layer in prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until edges are just golden.

Cool in baking dish for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Can be stored in an airtight container, unrefrigerated, for up to a week.

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Do you have a tried and true bar recipe? Do you even like bars? What are your favorite kinds, whether store-bought, or homemade? Any other favorite snacks that are convenient during a busy day? If I don’t have any bars on hand, I usually turn to pears and apples, and I generally keep a stash of dates with me wherever I go, for whenever cravings hit.

IMG_6250

Chocolate Chunk Maple Granola with Coconut and Dates

IMG_5936Granola is a staple in my kitchen, and I cycled through recipe after recipe, with many failures and simply mediocre recipes along the way. That is, until I found this gem of a recipe from David Lebovitz (who originally found it from self-proclaimed domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson). While I do really enjoy big chunks of granola from time to time, this recipe produces a lighter result, thanks first, to the crisp rice cereal, and second, to the slow, gentle baking.

This granola is full of flavor and texture thanks to the crunchy pecans, flaky coconut, chewy dates, and rich chocolate that melts with each bite. Of course, you can substitute your favorite dried fruits and nuts for the pecans and dates, but I must say that this is a winning combination.

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Chocolate Chunk Maple Granola with Coconut and Dates

Inspired by this recipe from David Lebovitz.

Ingredients
•4 cups rolled oats*
•1 cup crisp rice cereal (not puffed rice)*
•1 cup chopped pecans
•1 cup sesame seeds
•1 cup large coconut flakes
•1/4 cup packed brown sugar
•1 teaspoon sea salt

•3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit puree)
•1/3 cup brown rice syrup
•1/4 cup maple syrup
•2 tablespoons coconut oil
•1 teaspoon maple extract (or vanilla extract)

•1 cup chopped dates
•1/2 cup dark chocolate chips*

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets (preferably jelly roll pans) with parchment.

1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, crisp rice cereal, pecans, sesame seeds, coconut, brown sugar, and sea salt.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the applesauce, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil, and maple extract until warm.

3. Pour the fruit mixture over the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the mixture and spread evenly onto prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake the granola for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes, until the granola is deeply golden.

5. Remove granola from the oven, stir in dates, and let cool completely. Once cool, stir in the chocolate chips. You can stir in half of the chocolate chips while the granola is still warm, if you prefer that they melt into the mixture.

The granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month.

*Notes: For a gluten free version, be sure your rolled oats, crisp rice cereal, and chocolate chips are gluten free.

IMG_5931What is your favorite granola recipe? Or, if you don’t have one, what would your perfect bowl include?