On a cool afternoon as I powered around the block on my daily decompression session (i.e. half-hour walk), I got to thinking about muffins. This wasn't for any particular reason, nor was it entirely unusual, but I decided I wanted to make some apple and cinnamon muffins to take to a presentation I was doing for a group of teachers (surely they would like me more if I brought them baked goods!?) However I didn't only want to take the muffins to win hearts, I wanted to demonstrate that it is possible (and dead easy!) to create a snack that is kid-friendly in a world overrun by muesli bars where almost every major food group has been either demonized or banned due to booming allergies.
I arrived home, ready to search the internet so as to not reinvent a wheel I was sure had been turned many times. Even with the best intentions, I couldn't find a recipe that was completely allergy-friendly, (i.e. dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free) that wasn't going to be either totally bland or incredibly expensive to make (hello 2 cups of almond meal!).
I set about tinkering in the kitchen and it didn't take long before I had a muffin that I knew I wanted to eat, so I was sure a room full of hungry teachers would probably be interested as well.
I've since made this recipe countless times and I can tell you, it's always a winner - even more so when you include a generous slather of peanut butter on top (despite negating the allergy-friendly purpose of the recipe!). The besan flour comes from chickpeas, is easy to find in the supermarket, and packs a generous protein punch. The apples and sultanas lend a sweetness of their own so it doesn't take a lot of extra sugar to get a delicious flavour, and the spices are lovely and warming at any time of the day! They also freeze like little champions and if you take one out in the morning, he'll be ready for your 11am cuppa.
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
300ml almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups besan (chickpea) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup oats (or quinoa flakes if you're particular gluten-sensitive or coeliac)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups grated apple (approximately two apples)
1/3 cup sultanas or raisins
Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius and lightly grease a tray for12-16 muffins (depending on the size you make, you'll end up with 12 larger and 16 smaller).
In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water; set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar. You'll notice that it curdles - this is meant to happen.
Sift the besan flour, together with the baking powder and baking soda, into a large bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients (salt, oats, sugar, nutmeg, ginger).
Into the bowl with the milk and apple cider vinegar, add the flaxseed and water combination, the vanilla, and maple syrup and mix well. Add this mixture into the flour mixture.
Finally, add the grated apple and sultanas into the flour mixture - everything should now be in the one bowl. Be careful not to over-mix, just mix until everything is combined.
Measure equal quantities into each of the muffin cases.
Place into the oven. Check the muffins after about 15 minutes by inserting a skewer into the centre of a couple of muffins, the skewer will come out clean when they're done. The muffins may require up to 20 minutes in the oven depending on their size (and your oven!)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.