I love muffins! But unfortunately most of the muffins that call my name at the bakery are not so healthy or good for me. Imagine my delight when I bought Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton and discovered that she had 7 muffin recipes, all vegan and all packed full of nutritious goodness.
As I was browsing the muffin recipes, the Strawberry Goji muffins caught my eye. I recently bought a bag of goji berries and had been tossing them on my salad. Using them in muffins seemed ingenious. Did you know that goji berries are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth? It’s true!
They are a member of the nightshade family (Solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper, as well as some poisonous plants like belladonna and deadly nightshade. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, the goji berry is now grown in many other countries as well.
Although they have only been introduced in Western countries in recent years, gojis have been used for thousands of years in Tibet and China, both as a culinary ingredient and medicinally.
Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.
This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system.
Source: The Heatlhy Eating Site
Looking over the ingredient list I realized I had every item already at home. Dreena suggested adding dark chocolate chips to the muffins, so of course I did
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup sifted spelt flour
- 1/3 cup unrefined sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (or cinnamon)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup + 1 to 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries
- 1/4 pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (I used cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup mini-chocolate chips, optional (I used Enjoy Life Brand)
- Preheat oven to 425º F, you will lower the temperature to 375º F after the muffins have baked for 5 minutes. I learned this trick from Sally, she calls it her sky-high muffin trick. I highly suggest you try it.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and cardamom, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir to mix well.
- In a blender, combine the strawberries, milk, goji berries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and arrowroot powder (you may want to let these ingredients sit for a few minutes to help soften the goji berries). Puree until fully smooth.
- Add the blended mixture, as well as the oil, to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Fold in the mini-chocolate chips.
- Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, you want to fill them all the way to the top in order to achieve your high-domed muffin tops.
- If desired, sprinkle some whole goji berries, sugar, or mini-chocolate chips on top of the muffins.
- Bake at 425º F for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 375º F and bake for 14 to 19 minutes, until the muffins are set in the center.
- Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes in the muffin tins, and then transfer the muffins to cool on a cooling rack.
Have you ever tried goji berries?