A Healthy Almond Muffin Recipe

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
I was—as you'd imagine—very pleased when I hit upon the fluffin formula, which turns out a quick bread that's light, delicious, nutritious and relatively low in calories.

A meal’s worth of nutrition in a muffin? It’s possible with this healthy almond muffin recipe.

A Healthy Almond Muffin Recipe

“Mmmmmm . . . that’s good,” exclaimed my husband Ray, as
the courteous smile he’d put on before his first tentative
bite of one of my new muffins broadened into a grin of
sincere culinary appreciation. And after my spouse finished
devouring several of the piping hot morsels, I knew I had a
success on my hands.

I dubbed my creations “fluffins”, in reference to their
unbelievably light texture. However, this attribute, while
important, isn’t the main virtue of the baked goods . . .
nutrition is. Fluffins, you see, are rich in protein,
minerals, and vitamins . . . supply a respectable amount of
unrefined carbohydrate . . . use no fat at all, yet are as
light and delicate as a breeze . . . and have a nutty
goodness that’s all their own.

On other occasions when I’ve tried to go all out for extra
nutrition in a muffin, the result has usually been tough,
heavy, flat-tasting, and/or fattening. So I was–as
you’d imagine–very pleased when I hit upon the
fluffin formula, which turns out a quick bread that’s
light, delicious, nutritious, and relatively low in
calories, to boot!

The secret lies, of course, in the ingredients: Buckwheat
is nonglutenous, as are rice bran, rice polish, and almond
meal. There’s only half a cup of unbleached wheat flour in
the recipe, and the moist, fluffy batter is made without
any shortening. Almonds are the nuts highest in protein and
lowest in fat. The rice bran and eggs are also loaded with
protein . . . and the buckwheat and wheat flour add still
more. Furthermore, many of the ingredients are rich in a
variety of minerals. And if you prefer to use milk instead
of water as your liquid, you’ll supply more minerals and
protein.

Better still, this nutritious treat isn’t at all difficult
to make. Begin by preheating your oven to
350 degrees Fahrenheit to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and then grease and flour a 12-cup
muffin tin (or a 9 inch by 12 inch cakepan). Next, place the
following dry ingredients in a mixing bowl:

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup of rice bran (or rice polish)
1/2 cup of unbleached wheat flour
1/2 cup of raw or turbinado sugar
3 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)

Most of these ingredients should be available at your
favorite natural foods store. But since almond meal is
expensive, I make it myself–in the amount that I
need–by dropping unblanched almonds into the blender,
a handful at a time. (EDITOR’S NOTE: A local health food
store owner, whom MOTHER consulted, suggested that readers
would do best to follow the author’s example. It seems that
many such shops don’t stock freshly ground almond–or
other nut-meal because of its tendency to turn rancid
quickly.)
If you don’t have any almonds on hand, you can
substitute a half-cup of wheat bran, and your fluffins will
still be delicious (though almond fanciers certainly won’t
like them as well). As for the choice between rice bran and
rice polish, just bear in mind that the polish is lighter,
but the bran is more nutritious.

Once you’ve measured out the dry ingredients, mix them
thoroughly with a hand beater, and set the bowl aside.
Next, measure 1/4 cup of unsulfured molasses into another
dish, add 3/4 cup of water (or milk, if you prefer), and
blend them well. With that done, beat two eggs in a third
container.

Now, simply combine the liquid and dry ingredients, and mix
them until they’re well moistened (do not beat . . . stir
only until the mixture is relatively smooth). Pour the
batter into the greased and floured tin and bake the
muffins for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a cake tester, a
toothpick, or a clean broom straw to check for doneness.

I like to serve fluffins steaming hot from the oven . . .
split and anointed with butter, an all-natural margarine,
or some other favorite topping. Leftovers can be frozen (we
always try to keep a few extras on hand in the freezer) . .
. and, when time is precious, one or two reheated
fluffins–served with a glass of fruit juice or
milk–will make your body think you’ve had a full
meal!

You’ll also find that this recipe is exceptionally
versatile. If you prefer a more dessert-like bread, for
instance, use a little more sugar or molasses–or add
some honey–and bake the batter in a cakepan. To make
a chocolaty treat, stir in 3/4 cup of carob powder and a
little more water. Top the sweet creations with your
favorite carob frosting.

I serve the muffins often (because of their nutritional
value), so I’ve found it necessary to develop a few
variations to keep them from becoming monotonous. Sometimes
I add 1/2 cup of soy flour and 1/4 cup of water to the
basic recipe to achieve higher-than-usual protein content.
And stirring in some cinnamon and ginger–plus a few
chopped dates–will produce a spicy
ginger-bread fluffin. But to tell the truth, I’ve
yet to find a variation that I think improves on the
original.

Well, enough of my praise for almond fluffins . .
. give the recipe a try and see what you think. I’m
confident that the results (and your family of
taste-testers) will speak for themselves.


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