Coconut Muffins with an Orange Glaze


I don’t have a terribly sweet tooth (although I know that doesn’t sound right to those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while and been witness to the vegan baked goodies and Indian sweets I’ve posted here). But it is the truth– I’d pick a savory snack over a sweet one any day.

For breakfast, though, and especially for breakfast on a Sunday morning, I love a bite of something sweet, although not cloyingly, richly sweet.

I was thrilled, then, to come across a recipe for Maui Muffins with an Orange Glaze in one of the vegan cookbooks I’ve owned for at least a year now and that has some truly unique recipes– the Candle Cafe Cookbook (I really love their chocolate cake with a ganache frosting. In fact, it was after eating it at a friend’s home that I rushed out to buy this cookbook).

These muffins sounded perfect– delicious and complex with many layers of flavor, but healthy as well with whole wheat and fruit juices and coconut.

I have a quirk about coconut. I love it in curries and Indian dishes, and I adore it in traditional Indian sweets like modaks and karanjis and naralachi vadi. But I absolutely, positively cannot stand it in cookies, cakes, candies and other baked goods.

But I’d bought a bag of sweetened coconut a while back that was lying in my refrigerator asking to be used, and I thought, what the heck. The muffins sounded good enough to try.

I doubled up on the coconut in the original recipe because I didn’t have pineapple, which the recipe called for and which is perhaps one of the reasons why these are called Maui muffins. So I am renaming mine Coconut Muffins instead. Also, instead of whole-wheat pastry flour, which the recipe called for and which I’d just run out of, I used durum whole-wheat flour which I did have on hand because that’s what I use to make my chapatis. The substitution worked very well– the muffins were moist and had a great crumb.

The recipe calls for agave nectar and for those of you who might not be familiar with it, this is a great natural sweetener which comes from the agave cactus. It makes a great substitute for honey which spoon-for-spoon has almost twice the calories as sugar does. (And, of course, honey is not vegan because those poor bees didn’t work themselves to death so we could just swoop in and steal their honey.)

Agave nectar has a low glycemic index which makes it one of the healthiest sweeteners you can eat, and if you live in the United States, it is easy to find — even the Costco I go to here in my Washington suburb stocks it.

So here it is, then, a delicious, healthy and easy recipe for a snack or breakfast or brunch or pre-breakfast…you get the idea? You can leave out the orange glaze if you want to reduce the sugar in the recipe, but I thought its sweetness was wonderfully complimentary to the barely-sweet muffin.

Coconut

Coconut Muffins With An Orange Glaze
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/Muffins
Serves: Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MUFFINS:
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup durum whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp egg replacer powder
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (use maple syrup or regular sugar if you don’t have this)
  • Zest of 1 orange (set aside 2 tsp or so for the orange glaze)
  • ¼ cup canola or other flavorless vegetable oil (the original recipe recommends safflower)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
Instructions
  1. TO MAKE MUFFINS:
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, egg replace powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the egg replacer with the orange juice. Add the agave nectar, orange zest, oil and water
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until they are just combined. Do not overmix. Add the coconut and mix in.
  5. Greas a 12-cup muffin tin and divide the batter equally between the cups.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Place on a rack to cool. Unmold after 10 minutes and continue to cool the muffins.
  8. TO MAKE GLAZE:
  9. Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until it begins to boil.
  10. Add the powdered sugar and zest and turn off the heat. Whisk together well.
  11. Pour over the cooled or barely-warm muffins.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

soda breadIt takes just about an hour to make this Irish soda bread from start to finish, but that’s not the best thing about it. The reason I love this bread so much is because it is beautifully textured and light and intensely flavorful.

I pack more flavor and health into my soda bread by making it with whole wheat. This is a great bread for those days when you would love a homemade loaf don’t have the time to bake a yeasted one. Soda bread, as the name suggest, of course uses baking soda and not yeast as a leavening agent which means it does not have to go through all the rising and kneading that yeasted bread does.

Try not to knead your soda bread dough too much–instead treat it as you would a pie dough. The resulting bread will look a little rough around the edges but it tastes superb. That is because not kneading the dough keeps the gluten from getting too active and results in a tender, lighter loaf. The cream of tartar used in this recipe also helps give an airier crumb, but if you can’t find it, use 1 tbsp baking powder instead.

These are busy days so I don’t have time to chat, much as I love to, but I’ll be back, trust me.

Meanwhile, enjoy some bread!
Irish Soda Bread

 

Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ cups soymilk + 1 tbsp vinegar, whisked together and set aside to curdle around 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp oil
Instructions
  1. Mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the soymilk-vinegar mixture and oil and, using a ladle or spatula, mix until just combined.
  2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and push together with your palms to form a circle. Don’t knead to get a smooth look because– as I said before– you don’t want to over-activate the gluten.
  3. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut a fairly deep cross all across the top of the loaf. This will puff out and separate when you bake the loaf, allowing both the gases to escape as well as giving the loaf a pretty look.
  4. Place in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet or on a baking sheet and bake in a 375-degree oven about 55 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf is firm. Brush the top with some vegan butter or oil to get a glossier look.
  5. Cool thoroughly on a rack before slicing or cutting into wedges.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Vegan Soda Bread
For other great whole-wheat breads, try my French Bread, my Sandwich Bread, or my soymilk pompoms.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.