Quinoa, long the province of stores in which patchouli figured prominently, has gone mainstream. There are now quinoa recipes in tons of magazines and on tons of cooking websites, and not just the “crunchy” ones. Quinoa is the It food.
Honestly, I only heard of it a few years ago, and another year or so passed before someone took pity on me and told me how to pronounce it. Which is nice, because it’s now making regular appearances in our kitchen. It’s easy to cook, has a better nutritional profile than rice, and has a mild, nutty flavor that blends well with lots of other foods. It’s the blank slate of proteins: we’ve tried it with salads, chili, stir fry, and a few other things I’m forgetting. Turns out it’s pretty tasty in baked goods too.
I’ve made at least four different kinds of muffins this summer, with varying degrees of success. (Did you know that blueberry muffins can go off? Not stale–off.) My husband has been fairly indifferent to my efforts thus far–he’s more responsible than me and usually eats oatmeal for breakfast. But he was the initial champion of quinoa in our house, so I was very happy to come across this recipe for quinoa muffins. Finally, a muffin recipe that might mean I wouldn’t have to eat the whole batch myself!
The original calls for raisins, but many of the commenters on the MS site reported success with dried berries, diced dried apricots, or chopped nuts. I was doing a mental inventory of our dried fruit stash, but then I read a comment that suggested using chocolate chips “so the kids will eat them.”
“Screw the kids,” I thought. “I like chocolate too!”*
So I biffed the “healthy” profile a little with the chocolate, but I did tweak the recipe to use less sugar, went with almond milk instead of whole milk, and I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat. My muffins look darker than those on the MS site because I decided to chop the chocolate a little, figuring that the tiniest bits of chocolate would melt when mixed with the still-warm quinoa. They did, so I ended up with a slightly chocolatey batter with larger chips throughout. I also ended up with muffins that I didn’t have to eat all by myself. Success!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups flour (all purpose, or a combination of white whole wheat, wheat, etc. )
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup mix-ins: raisins, dried berries, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened almond)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or similar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour or place muffin papers in a 12-cup tin.
Bring the quinoa and water to boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Measure out 2 cups cooked quinoa and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and mix-ins. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg, oil, and vanilla.
Gently stir to incorporate the cooked quinoa into the flour mixture. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and stir until just combined.
Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin for a bit before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: These muffins freeze well wrapped in foil, and they’re excellent warmed in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. (The frozen muffins, that is. If you want warm unfrozen muffins, 15 seconds should do it.)
* Warning: Parenting advice from a non-parent ahead…
In general, I think adding what is essentially candy to food “so the kids will eat it” is not an ideal habit, and, frankly, only seems necessary because the parents have established that precedent. “But SGL, you sanctimonious jerk, you used chocolate chips!” you say. Yes, yes I did. And sometimes I have cheesecake for breakfast. I am enjoying my impressionable-young-child free days while they last.