I make muffins as a recurring lunch staple to give Joaquin vegetables that he still has not decided to like. In the current stable version of my recipe, I put carrot and zucchini. I like the flavor and texture, though they don’t rise as much as I’d like. This weekend, however, I decided to experiment…
I wanted to replace a lot of the nut flour for more veggies, and golden beets with butternut squash made them so yummy. However, the crazy improvised recipe resulted in muffins that elevated but ended up deflating before pulling them out of the oven. After 30 minutes of baking (no muffin of mine is ever ready in 20 mins), I checked them and found them dense and moist — giving the impression of undercooked. But this has happened before, and I know that baking them more will not make them firmer, only burned in the outside. Still, I think I gave them an extra 10 minutes.
I really love the resulting flavor, and specially like that they include more veggies and less nuts. Joaquin already has a lot of nuts in this diet, and I’m trying to find ways to replace some of them for other foods that provide a different nutritional profile.
I suspect my problem may relate to one or many of the following:
- Wrong ingredient ratios, because I know nothing about baking theory but always tweak recipes as if I know what I’m doing. After this new failed experiment, I finally have ordered this book.
- Wrong way of mixing the batter. Most likely I also overmixed.
- Wrong amount of baking soda. I think that at my altitude (5,000 ft), I may need to decrease the amount?
- Wrong temperature. I recently discovered that my oven may be running low. I once found it 25°F lower than displayed, and I think that once you start baking, at some point the temperature drops some. Need to get better facts on this. Either way, other of my cakes and muffins don’t end up like this, so there’s some problem with this recipe.
With this post, I’m calling on all of those who know more than me to help me make this recipe work and rise at least a bit. The catch is, we’re following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which eliminates all carbohydrates except for those in fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey. Therefore, this recipe has some limitations:
- Can’t use baking powder or yeast. The only leavening agent allowed is baking soda.
- Can’t use flour of any kind — whether gluten free or not. Only ground nuts, seeds, or coconut.
- Can’t use refined sugar or any alternative sweeteners except for honey. Fruit (fresh or dry) is okay. I used dates this time because I recently read that something in honey suffers a bad transformation when heated, but if I must go back to honey let me know… I can’t imagine that though; more liquid to this batter?
Having thrown that bomb to “typical” bakers, I’ll add… I want to preserve this flavor. I want more veggies than nuts if possible. I want it to have enough sweetness so a three-year-old eats it, but not too much because sugar is one of those things autistic kids should have less of. I really would love any tips you have on fixing my ratios, ingredients, the mixing process, or on any other variables that may be at work here.
So without further ado, this is what I did…
0.5 cup dates
0.5 cup nut flour (mostly almonds with a few pecans)
1.5 cup shredded carrot (2) and zucchini (1)
0.5 cup baked golden beets
0.5 cup baked butternut squash
a handful dry cocounut
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 pinches salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
0.5 tsp nutmeg
0.5 tsp baking soda
juice from half an orange (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
How I mixed this
Ground all nuts and coconut in food processor until some butter started developing. I have never been able to get nut butter in my food processor with my soaked nuts (don’t know why), even if I let them process for ridiculous time spans like a full hour. So now, instead of waiting that long, I go to the point where I know not much else will happen, and I add one tbsp of coconut oil. That’s not enough to get butter either, yet that’s what I do most times when I don’t really need nut butter but I still like grinding nuts to the max within a reasonable time.
To the nuts and coconut oil, I added the dates and let them process enough until they looked like they blended very well in the mix. So the whole think looked like a brown clumpy buttery flour sort of thing. I reserved this in a bowl.
In the empty food processor, I processed the beets. Added the shredded carrots and zucchini, processed. Added two eggs, processed. Added the clumpy buttery nut flour with the dates, processed again — Good Lord! I like to process. I put this mix in a bowl.
Added salt, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and baking soda (in a dry spot so it wouldn’t start reacting)
In the food processor, pulsed the butternut squash and added an egg (originally was going to go for only two). Processed lightly and added this to the rest of the batter. Stirred it all and added the orange juice at the end.
Immediately loaded batter in previously greased muffin trays (coconut oil on bottom and sides — no liners) and baked them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
This recipe is very much the same as the one I use for my carrot cake, except in that one I use honey instead of dates, and there’s 1.5 cups of nut flour to 1.5 cups of carrots, whereas in these muffins, I was trying to replace 1 cup of the nuts with squash and beets.
So what do you think?…