Sunday, February 26, 2012

Light and Fresh, Hearty and Nutty

So I realize that the last few things I've made have been beautiful shades of tan, beige and brown. And today is no better. Let me explain.

Yesterday, I woke up cold. I hate waking up cold. It was also grey outside. A typical February. I also had a baking bug, even though I had just made this beautiful chocolate cherry cake (did I mention that it's vegan and delicious?) for my grandma's 96th birthday. I thought about another chocolate treat, or maybe oatmeal crackers or banana bread, but I wanted something fresh and tangy to shake myself about of these February blues. I also wanted something hearty and toasty to warm the chill that had settled in my bones. Usually tangy and toasty don't go together.

But they did yesterday morning! I made mini-muffins -- a perfect weekend morning treat. I made them with lemon juice and zest, and the goodness of whole wheat flour, toasted almonds and rolled oats. Substantial enough to warm me up and bright enough to wake up my taste buds. They're also vegan (soaked oats make a great binder -- no egg replacers needed!) with only 1 tablespoon of heart healthy olive oil. They have a lovely light and chewy crumb and the toasted chopped almonds give it some nice texture.

So it's brown and beige. So what? It was just the thing I needed to set my weekend straight. No guilt added, to top it off. Go try them. You're welcome.

Vegan Lemon Almond Muffins
makes 24 mini muffins

1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of soy or almond milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup of natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
3 tablespoons of apple butter (or 2 tablespoons of apple sauce)
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of toasted almonds, chopped

1. Put the lemon zest and juice, oats and soy milk in large bowl. Let it stand for 15 minutes. This would be an ideal time to toast and chop your almonds.

2. Mix in the sugar, olive oil, apple butter or sauce and almond extract.

3. Sift in the flour and baking soda. Mix until just combined. Stir in the almonds.

4. Spoon of the batter into prepared muffin tins and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden on the top and sides.

5. Enjoy! Best served warm with a cup of coffee.

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