I am in love…but my husband need not be concerned. There is no love triangle that would threaten to take me away from him; in fact, he’s been quite happy with my newfound adoration…for quinoa.
In the past, this South American seed (considered to be an ancient grain) would be served in my kitchen only once every several months but lately I’ve found myself trying to add it to everything I can. I can’t quite account for this change but I must admit I’ve been enjoying its versatility, allowing me to use it as a savory cake, in a salad and now in a baked good. I can confidently say: quinoa is here to stay.
When a friend gave me a large bag of apples from her tree recently I knew I would be baking with them but I wanted to make something other than a tart or galette, since I’ve shared quite a few of them here already. We had another friend staying with us, too, and between him and my husband I couldn’t keep up with demand for bread to help fuel them for their morning bike rides. I baked Irish brown bread but that only lasted a couple of mornings so I decided to bake muffins one afternoon and of course I knew that quinoa would be making an appearance here, too.
Besides the apples and quinoa being the foundation of these muffins I also spotted a couple of bags of Trader Joe’s candied pecans in the pantry. I consider the latter a convenience item and add them to salads for a sweet-salty crunch. Why not add them to the muffins, I thought.
Well, that turned out to be a good decision. We all loved these muffins and couldn’t get enough of them. Not greasy but moist, the apple chunks lending freshness, the pecans some crunch, the cinnamon some depth–we inhaled these muffins. I didn’t use much sugar in the batter so don’t expect a lot of sweetness here but the best part? The quinoa added such a nice texture–almost like cornmeal–that I can’t wait to bake with it again. Savory quinoa muffins maybe?
** Substituting the apples and pecans for other fruit and nuts, as well as substituting the whole wheat flour for gluten-free flour, this would make a great base recipe for other flavor combinations.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (or your flour of choice)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup lightly-packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup milk (I used nonfat)
- 1 cup chopped apples (about ½ large)
- ½ cup chopped pecans (I used candied pecans for more flavor)
- 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 flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon 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 apples and pecans and spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.