Power Muffins

Power Muffins

Sometimes, you just want a big squishy muffin. Most times, it would be better if you were eating fiber, whole grains and fruit. This muffin recipe is a compromise. It met my craving for something sweet, but has an admirable nutrition profile. Fiber! Good fat! No white sugar! Otis Spunkmeyer, be damned.

Lately, one of these little babies–warm and buttered, obviously–has been showing up on my breakfast table quite frequently. I add an egg and a side of fresh fruit to round things out.

Power Muffins

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 small, firm pears (I bet a large apple would work too!)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a standard 12-cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax, coconut flakes, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and dried cranberries. Set aside.

Grate the pears using a box grater. You should have one cup of shredded pear.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the coconut oil, molasses and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy. Mix in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla, then finally the pear. Put your mixer away.

Add the flour mixture and fold it in with a wooden spoon. Resist the temptation to over mix.

Fill the muffin cups to the point they are almost full. (These will only rise a smidge.) Top with the walnuts, if using. You should press these into the batter just a bit so they won’t fall off after baking.

Bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, about 22 minutes. Let them cool just a bit before serving.

*I was inspired by this recipe from Whole Grain Mornings.

Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars

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With little Sprout on the way, my sweet tooth is raging stronger than ever. Who am I kidding? All my “teeth” are pretty strong. I’m eating everything like a trucker! But still, sweets taste better than ever right now. This has caused an onslaught of baking around our house.

I’ve tried to be semi-well-behaved, not eating batter with raw eggs and reducing refined sugar where I can. That’s how these Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars came into being. I took a look in the cabinet, pulled out a few things that sounded like they’d go well together, and got experimenting. Three batches later, I think it’s safe to say our family is into the results.

Now then, how shall I describe this delicious little bar cookie? Perhaps a Hello Dolly would be its closest cousin? Think crunchy crust on the bottom, creamy, caramel tasting middle and cake-y top–everything a layer bar should be.

I’m not going to call this dessert “healthy,” because I’m rarely a fan of sweets that fall into that category. But I did replace butter with heart healthy coconut, most of the flour with oats, and a good bit of sugar with dates. Can we settle on “healthier?”

Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars

Base Layer:

1 cup oats

1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons coconut oil

Place the oats and the coconut in a Vitamix or food processor. Grind until you’ve almost got a flour. Add in the brown sugar and coconut oil, and pulse a few times. You should have a yummy crumble.

Press firmly into a greased 8 x 8 metal pan, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Layer 2:

12 large mejool dates, pitted

2 tablespoons almond butter

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

No need to clean out the Vitamix/food processor! Add the dates, and process at a high speed until crumbly. Add the almond butter, coconut milk and salt to make a creamy, delicious carmel goo. Pour this over your crust then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Layer 3:

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut oil at room temperature

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the sugar, egg, coconut oil and vanilla. Beat with a mixer until fluffy. Add the flour in 3 additions, until just combined. Pour over the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge before cutting. We store ours in the fridge, freezing about half so we don’t eat the entire batch…Because it’s entirely possible and it wouldn’t be pretty. Enjoy!

In other news, we have a winner for The Cooking Light Lighten Up, America! cookbook giveaway. #3 was Polynesian delight:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 4.59.28 PMTeri K on October 29, 2013 at 12:37 am

Loco moco…hamburger and an over easy egg placed on rice and smothered with gravy. So ono-licious (delicious), as we say here in Hawaii.

I am ridiculously excited to mail this package to Hawaii! Congratulations, Teri! I think anything “smothered in gravy” is a winner.