After a whole week of decadent feasting, baking these granola muffins made me feel immensely better about my eating binges of late. Admittedly, I did try to work off the calories by running and hiking up hills under the blazing heat over the past several days, but all that simply made me tired and not really that much happier. It'd been a while since my muffin pan had seen the inside of my oven walls anyway, so I decided it was time to put it to good use again.
For Muffin Monday hosted by Anuradha of Baker Street blog, we were given a granola muffin recipe from Martha Rose Shulman. It's a healthy alternative to a regular dessert muffin and quite lovely to have for breakfast too since it contains granola, whole wheat flour, honey, yoghurt and dried fruits. In my version, I substituted dried apricots and cranberries for the raisins, and also added another special ingredient that had been festering in my fridge for a while - dried lavender flowers.
This was a last minute baking exercise and I had no time to run out for ingredients, so imagine my dismay when I rummaged through my pantry only to find out that we had run out of granola! Grr-reat. Ahh, but we did have rolled oats, and flax seeds and no, not oat flour... but would brown rice flour do to help hold the oats in clusters? Because brown rice flour was exactly what we had. It dawned on me then that I had everything required to make my own granola. Yay!
During the granola-making process, I found it dichotomous to have to toast the oat clusters to crisp perfection and yet immediately afterwards have them soaking in milk as stipulated in the muffin recipe. Oh well, life's a little silly like that sometimes. It was just best to get on with it and not dwell on the ridiculousness of some of the situations we find ourselves in.
My baking buddy, Y had the day off work so right before I made these granola muffins, Y and I were baking up other evil things in my kitchen. We made New York cheesecake, lavender cupcakes with lemon glaze and brownie muffins, funnily enough using a recipe from Baker Street. I 'graciously' let Y take all the goodies home, but not after sampling one of each. Or perhaps two.
Oh, remember my red velvet ice cream? Well, Y had some of that as well. It was so nice to be able to share and distribute some of the sugary hazards in this manner. It means that I don't have to eat everything I make!
Red velvet ice cream joy
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. If you wish to join Anuradha in her journey to brighten up Monday mornings across the globe, drop her a quick note and hop on aboard!
Lavender Granola Muffins with Apricots, Cranberries and Chocolate
1 cup granola (for how to make your own, see below)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried lavender buds, ground finely
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Extra granola, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/375ºF with a rack in the middle. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
2. Combine the granola and milk in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the dried cranberries and apricots together in another bowl for 15 minutes. Drain and dry on paper towels.
3. Sift together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then add the ground lavender and stir to mix.
4. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, yogurt, canola oil and vanilla. Quickly whisk in the flour mixture, then fold in the granola and dried fruits until combined.
5. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Sprinkle extra granola and chocolate chips on top.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then unmold and cool on a rack.
Homemade Plain Granola Recipe
2 cups organic rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tablespoons oat flour or brown rice flour
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (oats, seeds, flour) together.
2. In another bowl mix the honey/maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract together. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. The liquids will be absorbed and the granola will become darker and shinier.
3. Spread the granola in a shallow baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir the granola with a large spatula so that it does not over-brown on the bottom and edges. (Add dried fruits and nuts at this point if you wish).
4. Return the granola to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool on the baking sheet. Letting the granola cool on the baking sheet will retain the clumps. Granola will become crispier and crunchier as it cools. Once the granola has cooled, scrape it into a large bowl.
5. Store the granola in an airtight container and use within ten days. May be stored for longer periods in the refrigerator or freezer.
Desserts, Muffin, Lavender, Chocolate