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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LOW-FAT AQUAFABA MANDARIN ORANGE-PECAN-CRANBERRY MUFFINS (AND MINI TEA BREAD)

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About 10 years ago, I developed the original of this recipe for my now-defunct cooking newsletter The Vegan Feast Kitchen.  I was going for a partially whole-grain, low-fat, moist muffin with good structure.  (I don't like dry muffins.) In those days, I often used medium-firm or silken (extra-firm) tofu as an egg replacer in this type of baking, and it worked well. The other day I came across the recipe and I had all the makings. They sounded perfect for a cold winter day, along with a hot cup of tea. 

As I was assembling the ingredients, I wondered if I could use aquafaba instead of the tofu (my freezer is full of aquafaba ice cubes!). I had my doubts, because tofu is solid and aquafaba is liquid.  But, you never know til you try, so I took the plunge and substituted aquafaba for the tofu, measure for measure, but cut the non-dairy milk down by 1/4 cup. I also decided to cut the sugar down by a third, which turned out to be a good decision. The batter was very moist, even by my standards (my muffin and cake batters tend to be more moist than traditional ones) and I was a bit worried, but there was not much I could do about it at that point, so into the oven they went.

I also opted for using the two-thirds of the batter for muffins and one third for mini tea breads in little fruitcake pans, just for the heck of it.

It worked! The muffins and the tea breads came out beautifully.  (Note: I don't know if the batter would turn out so well in a large loaf pan.) The crumb was moist but the muffins and bread were easy to slice, and the flavor and aroma were balanced and delicious. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I'm happy to be able to use up some of my aquafaba stash in all of my old muffin recipes.



  
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BRYANNA'S LOW-FAT AQUAFABA MANDARIN ORANGE-PECAN-CRANBERRY MUFFINS (OR MINI TEA BREAD)  
Makes 18 muffins OR 12 muffins plus 2 mini tea breads

DRY MIX:
2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour (do not substitute regular whole wheat flour or the muffins will be tough)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
WET MIX:
1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy milk)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup aquafaba (liquid from cooking chickpeas, or from canned chickpeas)
1 cups light unbleached granulated sugar
6 tablespoons smooth unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon oat bran
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
grated zest of 2 of the mandarin oranges/tangerines from "Additional" below
ADDITIONAL:
3 large mandarin oranges/tangerines (or 6 small ones)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup lightly-toasted chopped pecans (or other nuts, if you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare 18 muffin cups. (OR 12 muffin cups and two mini loaf pans [5.75 x 3 x 2 inches). You can use silicone cupcake liners, if you wish. I use my Homemade Cake Release to grease the muffin pans (and mini loaf pans) and don't use liners, because I like a bit of a crust on my muffins.

Use a citrus zester to zest two of the mandarin oranges. Set the zest side. Peel all three of the mandarin oranges and section them. Remove any pits that might be present. Carefully cut the sections into small pieces with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Whisk together the Dry Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Add the mandarin orange
pieces, pecans, and cranberries and toss briefly to coat.

In a blender, combine the Wet Mix ingredients until smooth, including the mandarin orange zest.

Pour the Wet Mix into the Dry Mix and stir briefly-- it will still be lumpy. Don't over-stir. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups (and mini loaf pans, if using). Bake for about 20 minutes for muffins and 25 minutes for mini loaf-- test for doneness with a cake tester or toothpick. Cool the pans on racks for 10-15 minutes before removing the muffins.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1 muffin or 1/6th tea bread):  249 calories, 52 calories from fat, 6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150.8mg sodium, 253.7mg potassium, 46.9g carbohydrates, 3.8g fiber, 13.5g sugar, 3.8g protein


Enjoy!


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