Still on a high after the success of my Apple-Pecan Quinoa Muffins I practically ran to the Whole Foods near my office at lunch the next day to pick up quinoa flour, rainbow quinoa (Per Patty’s suggestion) and other seeds, grains and flours that I was determined to start baking with. It’s not that I’ve decided to go the healthy route 100%–I’ve got Nutella sitting on the counter waiting to be used this morning–but I’ve been enjoying adding healthier choices to my baking rotation. My husband is a huge snacker and if I know I’m giving him better options when hunger pangs strike, I feel like I’m being a more considerate partner. He’s trying to lose five more pounds before an upcoming trip and I know better than to think that the cravings for dough in the morning and something sweet after dinner will stop. So at 8 pm that evening, I turned on the oven and rummaged through the pantry and fridge to see what I could pair the quinoa with this time.
It was inevitable that I would end up using blueberries–I’ve got bags of them in my freezer. A tall glass of Blueberry-Banana-Spinach Smoothie has been my go-to breakfast for a few weeks now and I’ve even found myself craving it as a post-dinner treat. Choosing the fruit was easy.
My reservations were in trying to decide if using double-quinoa in muffins would be a good idea. I was fueled by the wonderful texture that the cooked quinoa lent to the Apple-Pecan muffins but would adding quinoa flour to the mix be overkill? I untied my bag of flour and was struck by its intense aroma and guessed that this would translate to taste, as well. Using my last muffin recipe as a base, I swapped out some ingredients and decided to take baby steps by using just 1/2 cup of quinoa flour.
The muffins were itty-bitty. I used my 1/3-cup muffin pan and you can see the baked muffins barely rose above the rim of the cupcake liners. I need to understand better how using other flours affects the rise of baked goods so just keep that in mind if you try these.
The results? These muffins were ultra-moist and soft but with the added texture from the cooked quinoa. As for taste, I tested one right out of the oven and just as I thought, the quinoa flavor was quite prominent. It’s not a problem if one is a quinoa fan but I had mixed feelings. However, I tried one again the following morning and the taste was completely different. The quinoa flavor mellowed considerably, much closer to the taste of a traditional blueberry muffin. My husband, my target audience, was happy. When I gave him a taste right out of the oven the night before the muffin was rejected but when I got up the following morning and found two empty cupcake liners next to his cup of tea (and a half-eaten muffin in his hand), I knew he’d changed his mind. He mumbled something like, “they’re much, much better this morning”. Take note if you try these.
Note: I was happy with these but being a gluten-free flour newbie, I will continue to experiment with other flours and grains.
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (or your flour of choice)
- ½ cup quinoa flour (or use another gluten-free flour)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup lightly-packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup milk (I used nonfat)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 heaping cup frozen blueberries (you can use fresh)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin (or use cupcake liners; I used a ⅓ cup muffin tin) and set aside.
- Whisk together the whole wheat flour, quinoa flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl then stir in the cooked quinoa.
- In a separate bowl combine the oil, milk and egg then stir into the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the blueberries and spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake for about 21 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.