As some of my regular readers will know, I try to ensure that most of my baked goods contain mostly healthy ingredients. Indeed they are a good vehicle for nuts, fruit, seeds and various super foods. I generally use at least half wholemeal, spelt or other healthy flours in my baking. I use organic eggs where possible and properly free ranging hen and duck eggs when it’s not. I believe organic butter where the cows have been grass fed is also nutritious (in moderation). Chocolate, it goes without saying is good for you 😉 My main concern is sugar – I haven’t managed to convince myself on this one. I use raw sugars in the main and do use other sweeteners such as Rapadura and agave syrup sometimes. But these substitutes are expensive and I do have rather a sweet tooth. I just hope, the other nutritious ingredients counteract the bad of the sugar. For more information on Rapadura and other ingredients I use see ingredients are the key – ties in very nicely with this month’s healthy theme.
But when Chele announced that the theme for this month’s We Should Cocoa was healthy eating, I thought I’d go the whole hog and produce something that was properly good for you. One of my Christmas presents from CT was a packet of chia seeds. Chia seeds are said to be super healthy: they contain omega 3, vitamin B, complete protein, anti-oxidants and fibre. It is also claimed they can replace half the conventional fat in any recipe with no discernible effects on taste and texture. The secret is to soak the seeds in water for 15 minutes before using. They form a gel, which is then ready to be used. This seemed to be a good opportunity to put these claims to the test.
So for added nutrition, I rather nervously thought I’d create a muffin recipe using wholemeal spelt and oats, some of the pumpkin butter I made back along, Rapadura rather than sugar and of course, chia seeds. I also had a jar of raw chocolate and almond spread that I hadn’t yet used and thought this would be suitable for the chocolate element.
This is what I did:
- Spooned 1 level tbsp of chia seeds into a jug.
- Topped it up with water to 50ml and left to soak for 15 minutes.
- Beat 2 eggs with 120g rapadura and 35ml sunflower oil for a few minutes until well incorporated and bubbly.
- Beat in 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin butter.
- Stirred in the chia seeds (which had indeed turned to gel)
- Sifted in 200g wholemeal spelt, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
- Folded this into the egg mixture together with 50g rolled oats.
- Spooned this into 12 muffin cases.
- Placed a small teaspoon of raw almond and chocolate spread on top and scattered over a few oats.
- Baked at 180C for 23 minutes.
These had a nice flavour with a rich aroma of molasses, but they weren’t overly sweet. They were firm, substantial and chewy and had a crunchy top. CT’s comment was “it tastes like it’s probably good for you”. They’d be ideal as a breakfast muffin, but I think I’d feel a bit short changed if I got these as a tea-time treat. The chocolate spread was really good and I’m not sure why I haven’t used it before.
PS 18 February – Nearly one month after making these, I’ve just found two muffins hidden in one of my cake tins and amazingly they are not only still edible, but really nice – I shall have to rename these indestructible muffins!