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Cranberry-pistachio muffins

7. December 2007
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I adore baking, but I don’t do it nearly enough. This is mainly because I’m a very messy person and counter space is rare.
I can cook with only a postage stamp size surface area, but for baking, I like room. Clean room.

So I spent half of my morning cleaning and doing dishes, and then I tried this recipe, adapted from something I’d found over at the Fatfree Vegan. I made some substitutions, and the muffins turned out quite lovely. Chewy, not too sweet (I hate sweet muffins) with a nice grainy texture. Next time, I might add a different sweetener to complement the nuts and cranberries a bit better, but stevia was all I had, and I’m still trying to keep things as low-cal as possible.

Cranberry-Pistachio Muffins

2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon ground linseeds
3/4 tsp Stevia powder (which is equivalent to roughly 3/4 cup sugar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fresh soy milk (different milks will add subtle different flavours)
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup chopped pistachios (mine were salted, and it didn’t affect the flavour all that much)

Put the cranberries in a bowl and pour the hot water over them. Stir and set aside while you prepare the rest. This will plump up the cranberries and leech some of the sugar back into the water.

Preheat the oven. I don’t have an oven thermometer, so I bake by feel (I like to live dangerously).
You should know your oven. Pick the right temperature for muffins for you. If you’re unsure, bake a little lower, a little slower. You’ll be fine.
Prepare your muffin pan, either by spraying or lining your sticking pan or by just rinsing out your non-stick. Just get it ready. My non-stick pan is sticky from so much use, but I still never line it. It’s fine.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flours, linseeds, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, stir together orange juice, soy milk, apple sauce and vanilla. Strain the liquid from the cranberries into the liquid ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid. Stir just to until all flour is moistened;don’t over-stir or you’ll end up with dense, super-chewy brownie-type muffins. If you want that, keep on stirring.
Stir in cranberries and nuts.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Remove muffin pan to a wire rack. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully removing muffins from cups.

I ended up with 12 mini muffins and six large ones. Your own mileage may vary.

Would I make these again? yeah, probably. If nothing else, this is a solid, easily adaptable Vegan, diet-friendly recipe. If you’re following Weight Watchers, 2 mini muffins or one regular work out to 1.5 points. Oooh yes.

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