Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

While shopping at Trader Joe's yesterday, I saw a package of Chia seeds. They have been very big in the health world lately and I have read a few articles on them. At only $4.59/pkg, curiosity got the better of me and I tossed them into the cart. (I say "at only..." because trying something new for less than $5 is a reasonable investment. The $15 or $20 belly dancing class I want to try, still more than I want to spend.) Once we got home, I looked for recipes to use them that 1. my husband would eat 2. Didn't sound too time consuming or involved to start 3. something without processed sugar since we don't let L1, our 22mo, eat processed sugar.
The recipe I decided to try?: Lemon Chia Seed Muffins from Whole Living:
                                                    1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
                                                    2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                    1/4 cup chia seeds (black, white, or a mix)
                                                    1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk or 2% milk
                                                    2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
                                                    2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
                                                    1/2 cup maple syrup
                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                    1 tablespoon lemon zest (or zest of 1 small lemon)

                                                    1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
                                                    2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and chia seeds.
                                                    3. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
                                                    4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
                                                    5. Fill each well of the lined muffin tin 2/3 full.
                                                    6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until slightly golden and a toothpick
                                                    inserted into the center comes out clean.

Of course, my mind said, make these the night before but my body said, eh, just make them in the morning. I should have made them ahead of time.  The recipe wasn't difficult or time consuming but I had to measure and gather all my ingredients. Two kids under two can cause things to get a little crazy in the morning. I followed the directions and baked them up. The recipe makes more than 12 muffins so I baked a dozen regular sized ones and a dozen mini muffins. The regular size took 18 minutes and the minis took 10 minutes.

Pulling them out of the oven was a little disappointing. They didn't look appetizing. They did however smell delicious. And they tasted pretty good. I added butter to my first one (probably didn't help the "healthy" aspect) because it looked dry. The second one, without butter, was just as good. They weren't as dry as they looked. Both my husband and L1 liked them, with L1 eating two regular sized ones and gobbling up another 7 mini ones when he was "done" with breakfast.

The apple and maple syrup were not prominent flavors and if I hadn't made them, I doubt I would have known they were ingredients. They were sweetened perfectly for us, more European than American, with the emphasis more on the lemon flavor than the sweetness factor. Lemony, without being overwhelming or tartness. I will probably add a little more zest next time just out of preference. The chia seeds add a little nuttiness and the texture of poppy seeds without the poppy seed flavor. I am definitely going to keep this recipe and hopefully make a second batch of the minis today to throw in the freezer for a quick snack later.

I cannot wait to find some other good recipes using these babies!

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