Whenever I am lucky enough to get a carton of berries–strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, heaven bless if elusive blackberries are attained–it feels like sacrilege to bake with them. They’re not cheap at this part of the globe, and no matter how abundant the minimal abundance can get, they seem too precious, too much of a luxury to put into baking. Not that baking isn’t worth it–glorious bursts of roasted berries amidst soft, fluffy muffin or cake is an absolute joy–but it seems so much of a waste to drown perky, bright and amazingly radiant berries amidst thick claggy batter and wilted under the full on glare of the oven. Such Neanderthal brutality we subject such dainty, fainting fancies to! However, the very versatile banana is alright. They’re pretty much everywhere every year every time, and come in several varieties to boot. And the beautiful sugary sweetness they lend, plus a tender moist crumb and a delicate creaminess, is a definite asset when it comes to the flavor throwdown. In fact, I think I eat more cooked banana than raw–mashed into oatmeal, mashed into baked oatmeal, mashed into muffins. Absolutely lovely, plus the minimal and gentle flavor it holds means that it can either be the forefront star or a canvas/platform to boost other flavors–it goes with just about anything under the sun, from nuts to vanilla to berries to chocolate to caramel, and all sorts of weird and wicked and weirdly wicked combinations. It’s a sturdy ‘un, banana. One you can rely on when things get tough. It’ll lend you a peel to blow your nose on, and a curve to cry on.
All weird banana personification aside, these are wonderful breakfast muffins. I find making a batch of 6 ensures you have a decent amount to tide you over a few days without being positively drowned in them–which, although it is a great thing to be surrounded by copious scrummy bakes, may prove insurmountable when good ol bacteria and mold decides to take root in uneaten beauties and scar them for eternity, dooming them for a sad spiral down into the trash bin, which is both a horrid waste and a horrid shame. Not that these will last long anywhere though–I just have a family that gets bored of one type of food very easily. They lose interest after a muffin or two, no matter how delicious they are. Which is sad, but means more for me! I guess! And more of these muffins are definitely a great thing.
Some time ago the lovely guys at Muma Health sent me a pack of their Raw Core Love to try. Raw Core Love is, in essence, a seeded grain mix–a soft mix of flakes, grains, and seed that came in a packet with a transparent front that shows the complex shades of differently shaped components within, dotted predominantly with the black scatter of chia seed. The blend, along with chia seed, includes quinoa flakes, sunflower meal, psyllium husk, linseed meal, millet meal and poppy seed–quite an exotic blend of grainy goodness! It’s gluten free and vegan for those with particular diets, and flavor-wise it’s quite neutral–you get a lot of texture from all the different meals and seeds and flakes, and overall a sort of nutty, oaty toastiness, but the blank canvas allows you to paint many flavors on it whether sweet or savory. The guys over at Muma Health mean for it to be a condiment–a little scatter of texture to add on your meals, scatter over a dish and whatever you may choose for a little boost of fibre and Omega-3, along with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins. It’s a lovely idea, and I’ve tried it a number of ways–stirred into oatmeal, mixed into pancake batter (so good! adds so much texture and thickness to boot), mixed into baked oatmeal, folded into muffins and cakes…it’s come out amazing all ways, and even sprinkling over toast or oatmeal! As a garnish or as an ingredient, it’s a great one to have, and adds both volume to your mix and a fresh funky hit of texture too.
You can see creations used with Raw Core Love on my Instagram here–I’ve certainly had a lot of fun using it left, right and centre in all matters of food, and I haven’t been disappointed yet! It’s like the chameleon of the seedy food world. Not seedy as in dubious, but seedy as in full of seeds…oh, you know what I mean. It can take on any flavor and add to it, plus it’s cool. Here I mixed it into muffins for an interesting crunch and texture amidst what can be an endlessly doughy muffin, and it gives the crumb a wonderful pillowy-ness and thickness too with all the meals and flakes. I’ll definitely recommend Raw Core Love–it takes just a pinch or so to ensure you get a little more of what does your body good, and gives you a boost to start the day!
These muffins are lovely. I’ve only just started using carob not too long ago and I’m addicted–it gives such a rich, caramelly, almost date like fudginess and sweetness to the normal chocolaty flavor. It’s not as intense as cocoa, but gives another dimension, of fruity rich and fudgy goodness that I’ve come to really like. Added to the tropical, very unique sweetness and toasty flavor of coconut and with the creamy banana mashed into the batter, you get a very lovely plump little muffin with a toasty, nutty buckwheat flavor to boot. Dark with rich fudgy chocolate, with a fluffy soft crumb that melts on your tongue with banana and a bright ribbon of coconutty flavor, and topped with toasted coconut–my new addiction–that promises a burst of bright buttery coconut on top, these are absolutely gorgeous. They fill you up very nicely with the buckwheat and Raw Core Love, and have a host of lovely natural ingredients.
I honestly love using buckwheat flour in baking due to the lovely texture it gives, and the Raw Core Love really gives it a right boost in terms of both fibre and body. These sturdy, soft muffins straddle the line between dessert and breakfast quite closely–they could almost be brownie-ish with all their fudgy glory, if you close your eyes and stir in some chocolate chips into the batter and underbake them ever so slightly. What better way to start your day with chocolate–and a side serving of fibre and energy-boosting nutrients too?
carob-coconut banana buckwheat muffins
You will need:
-1 cup buckwheat flour
-1/2 cup spelt flour/oat flour/wholewheat pastry flour
-2 tbs carob powder
-2 tbs Muma Raw Core Love
-1/4 cup shredded coconut
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-scant pinch salt
-1 large banana, mashed
-1 egg (flax egg if you’re vegan)
-1/4 cup Greek yogurt
-1/3 cup coconut milk (or any plant based milk)
-2 heaped tbs dark chocolate peanut butter/Nutella/normal peanut butter
-3 tbs coconut oil
-2 tbs coconut sugar/raw cane sugar
-2 tbs maple syrup
-1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until thoroughly combined (buckwheat flour through to scant pinch salt). In another, whisk the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated and emulsified. Slowly add dry 1/2 at a time and mix with a wooden spoon well–it will be a wet, rather craggy and thick batter. Divide amongst the 6 muffin cups, filling just about to the top, and top with the toasted coconut. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick emerges only slightly moist. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
(disclaimer: I was not paid to advertise these products, Muma Health sent them to me for review. All opinions expressed are mine, and I think it’s pretty darn delicious.)