When Phil and I first began talking about starting a blog that focused on healthier food that tasted as good as it’s less than healthy counterpart one of the things that excited me most was the idea that the things I’d been making for years and years, things that had become family and friend favourites (and were generally dripping in sugar and/or butter) and making them into something that was just as tasty but without all the bad things they were doing to our bodies.
As a former pastry chef of course my first thought naturally went to baking and wanting things that satisfied my rampant sweet tooth … so I started with the humble muffin.
I arrogantly thought that with the (maybe) tens of thousands of muffins I MUST have made over the years that changing a few ingredients would be simple and be a resounding success first try yes?
Nope nope nopetty nope.
And while there weren’t any tears there was much phooing and swearing
I took a truly tried and tested muffin recipe, did heaps of reading about what are great substitutes for all the normal ingredients like flour, egg, fats etc and confidently lined my muffin tin with my prettiest cases. And watch as the first batch sunk like I’d literally poked them down with my finger. Phoooo 🙁
Repeat the process, except in a moment of crushing self doubt change almost every ingredient in the recipe rather than take one thing at a time and work on those till I got it right. No sireee, not me. I started with double chocolate chip and somehow ended up with strawberry and poppy seed. They sunk too.
Ok, calming words from my better (and often calmer) half and time to regroup. Let’s do this properly. A base test.
In the first sunken batch I’d used half ground almonds and half ground oats. In batch #2 I’d used all ground oats so for batch #3 I kept all the other ‘substitute’ ingredients (banana and yoghurt for moisture, honey instead of refined sugar and coconut oil instead of butter) but used all plain flour instead. And they worked! Confidence in baking abilities restored! (there may have been some dancing) However, I was still making strawberry and poppy seed ones, not the chocolate ones I’d had in my head at the start and I was supposed to be trying to bake with as little refined ingredients as I could. Would wholemeal flour work? Would that make what should be light little airy things all tough and chewy? Turns out it gave them a lovely texture and made them SO edible Phil ate 7 of the little buggers in one day!
I’ve gone on to adapt the recipe slightly since these early days and where we’re at now is something that I’ve since made time and time again and can guarantee you success. If you want to have a crack at them you can find these Double Chocolate and Orange Muffins here … and watch this space for an uh-mazing vegan chocolate frosting that’s coming very soon 😉
Random question .. do any of my fellow bakers, cooks, chefs, chief dish and bottle washers have to deal with a perpetually hungry audience whenever they set foot into the kitchen? I have a husband dancing at my elbow who refuses to wait until things have cooled and a pup that never ever stops guarding the floor just in case anything should drop
Get more lessons and tips like these when you subscribe to our newsletter! We will also send you our free E-book that is chock full of healthy recipes for you to try!