On a more mundane topic, I have come up with a very nice Carob Muffin recipe. The old hippy in me gets misty eyed at the thought of carob, which at one time was really popular. Problem was, it was presented as a substitute for chocolate, but it’s nothing like chocolate at all. Cocoa and carob look the same–brown–but the similarity ends there. So people got disgruntled with carob and it went into eclipse. It actually has a mild, date-like flavor, and is just a bit sweet. I found this recipe in Sweet and Sugarfree, An All-Natural, Fruit-Sweetened Dessert Cookbook by Karen E. Barkie. (It’s available at Amazon for one cent.) One thing to say upfront: This is a slightly sweet, moist muffin that is perfect in lunches. If you like conventionally sweetened treats, this may not be for you. But if you are looking for ways to cut sugar out of your diet, but still would like a treat with your morning cup of coffee or tea, this is a wonderful recipe. It’s light and moist and tweedy-looking, and the jewel-like date on the top of each muffin add a nice touch.
1/2 cup of mashed banana
(about two small bananas)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup milk or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
or unbleached white flour
1/4 cup carob powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
6 whole dates, sliced in half lengthwise
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Beat together the mashed banana, oil and egg until creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat. Measure together the flour, carob powder, baking soda, baking powder and pinch of salt. Sift into the banana mixture, stir, and then add the coconut. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. This batter will fill all 12 paper liners to the top. Top each with a date half. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (Recipe specified 15 minutes, but mine took 20 minutes.) Cool.
Baking notes: You can use unbleached white flour in place of the whole wheat pastry flour. I used coconut milk because it complimented the flaked coconut in the recipe, but you can certainly use regular milk. If you would like this muffin to be sweeter, try adding 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dates.
You might wonder why I don’t just add in an artificial sweetener such as Splenda. So far, every artificial sweetener I have come across has a little cloud hanging over it. Stevia is the only sweetener I will be experimenting with in the future–it is made from the stevia herb. Meanwhile, I will try to face the fact that it’s just better to let my taste buds adjust to less sweet stuff. The old hippy in me knows that you can’t always get what you want, and furthermore, that’s not a bad thing!
Meanwhile, if only the ice in this bird bath would melt!
This sweet goldfinch is ready for spring, and so am I! Namaste. Fran