Margaret has a passion for cooking, baking, and creating recipes that satisfy her cravings for delicious and indulgent food.
These Tender, Delectable Muffins Will Satisfy Your Craving for a Healthy Sweet Treat
I love eating muffins for breakfast! Sadly, most of them are loaded with unhealthy fats and processed ingredients, like refined, bleached white flour and cane sugar, that make them a nutritional disaster. And a lot of "healthy" muffin recipes I've tried either have a dense, unpleasantly chewy consistency or have a mediocre nutrition profile. So I've been experimenting with some of the more promising ones and adapting them to make them more delicious and nutritious. These triple-coconut lime blueberry muffins have been my most successful experiment to date!
Although these are not as sweet as sugary as traditional muffins, they are sweet enough for someone like me who has a definite sweet tooth. They're also as quick and easy to make as regular, high-fat, high-sugar, streusel-topped blueberry muffins. The crunchy topping is a wonderful combination of unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut sugar, and ground flax seeds, which add fiber and nutrition along with flavor and crunch.
The Inspiration for This Recipe
I was inspired to develop this delicious, easy-to-make treats after trying the wonderful Double Coconut Blueberry Muffins recipe from vegan food blogger Kathy Patalsky of The Lunchbox Bunch. I loved the fact that her recipe was made with coconut oil and was chock full of luscious wild blueberries. Not only are wild blueberries bursting with a sweet flavor, but they also have a high concentration of antioxidants that makes them one of the world's healthiest foods.
Even so, I wanted them to have even more flavor, fiber, and nutrition, so my husband and I could enjoy them often as part of our healthier eating lifestyle. So I made quite a few changes and came up with my own version that we like even better.
I've Boosted the Flavor and Nutrition
I made a number of changes to the original recipe that make these muffins even more healthy and nutritious, and my husband and I think they're also even more delicious!
- I substituted unbleached all-purpose flour for regular white flour in the original recipe and replaced nearly half of it with more nutritious, high fiber white whole wheat flour.
- I substituted fresh lime juice and zest for the lemon to play off the tropical flavor of the coconut.
- I traded the vanilla extract for almond extract.
- I substituted healthier organic unsweetened coconut for the bleached, sweetened coconut.
- I and amped up the coconut flavor from double coconut to triple coconut by substituting coconut palm sugar — AKA coconut sugar — for raw turbinado sugar or maple syrup.
One of the advantages of coconut sugar vs. white cane sugar is that it has a relatively low glycemic index. It also has a hint of caramel flavor, similar to the taste of a light brown sugar. I use delicious Nutiva unrefined, unprocessed, organic coconut sugar, which is certified organic, verified non-GMO and made from fresh coconuts.
Healthy Vegan Triple-Coconut Lime Blueberry Muffins
For greasing the muffin pans:
- Virgin coconut oil
For the muffins:
- 1 cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon 100% organic white whole wheat flour, e.g., King Arthur brand
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar, AKA coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, (may substitute lemon juice if desired)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest, (may substitute lime zest if desired)
- 1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (can use sweetened coconut if desired)
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, preferably the smaller frozen wild blueberries from Maine
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, (can use sweetened coconut, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
For greasing the scoop:
- Almond oil or nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Grease a 12 cup nonstick muffin pan generously with coconut oil and set aside.
- Warm the blueberries just enough so they are no longer frozen; they should remain cold and firm, not thawed until they're soft. Set them aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the unbleached white flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, flax seeds and salt until well combined.
- Put the coconut oil, coconut sugar and almond milk Into a medium microwave safe bowl or a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. (Tip: Gently warm the coconut oil to soften, if necessary, to make it easier to measure.) Microwave the ingredients in the bowl or measuring cup for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until the coconut oil is melted and the liquid mixture is warm but not hot.
- Pour the warm coconut oil mixture into the dry ingredients in the large bowl and use a silicone spatula and a folding motion to combine well. Then stir in the lime juice, lime zest, mashed banana and shredded coconut. Then fold in the blueberries gently. (Don't be alarmed about the light blue-gray color of the batter when you fold in the blueberries. As you can see in the photo of my most recent batch, the color is significantly lighter after the muffins have been baked!)
- Grease the inside and outside of a stainless steel 4 oz. scoop with a spring-action scraper (such as an ice cream scoop) with almond oil or nonstick cooking spray. Make sure to squeeze the handle to move the scraper aside so you don't miss a spot. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, distributing it evenly.
- Stir the topping ingredients to combine well, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove the muffin tin from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing the muffins, which will be VERY delicate.
Tools That Help Me Get the Job Done
Use a Silicone Muffin Pan to Release These Tender Muffins Easily Without Sticking or Breaking
Since these delicious muffins are very delicate, especially when they're still warm from the oven, it's important to make sure they don't stick to the pan. The same is true of most other cake-like muffins (my favorites) and, of course, cupcakes. A great way to help prevent them from sticking to the muffin tin is to use one made of silicone.
I recommend Mrs. Anderson's Baking 12-cup silicone muffin pans made by Harold Import Company (HIC). Not only do these work very well, but part of the proceeds of HIC's The Essentials line of cooking gadgets goes to support the national nonprofit high school culinary scholarship program C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program), which prepares under-served high school students for college as well as careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries by providing opportunities for education and employment. While this particular product is not part of that line, I like to support companies that give back to the community through meaningful philanthropic contributions.
Use a 4 Tablespoons Scoop to Quickly Portion the Muffin Batter Evenly
I highly recommend using a stainless steel scoop with a spring action scraper. After years of using an old-fashioned, traditional ice cream scoop, I found that it became harder on my hands as I got older. Now I use Norpro's heavy-duty, professional quality, 4 tablespoons stainless steel scoop that lets me scoop muffin batter, jumbo cookie dough, meatballs, ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt with much less strain on my hands. It also scrapes off the contents much more cleanly, leaving almost nothing in the scoop.
Bake These on Sunday and Enjoy Fresh Muffins All Week
I like to make a batch of these coconut blueberry muffins on a Sunday afternoon or evening. That way, even if my husband and I each eat one of these while they're still slightly warm (after cooling in the pan for 30 minutes) — something we've never been able to resist doing — we still can enjoy them for breakfast every morning during the following Monday through Friday. They reheat beautifully! We just wrap each muffin in a damp paper towel and then microwave them on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time until they're just warm (which, by the way, is a good way to warm up any type of baked goods in the microwave without making them tough).
Sometimes I'll bake batches of these and a couple of other muffin recipes and freeze them. That way we can thaw and warm them whenever we want a quick, delicious, slightly decadent breakfast on busy mornings, and by baking a variety we can pick whatever muffin flavor we're in the mood for that day.
© 2013 Margaret Schindel