Thursday, April 4, 2013

"It's All Good".........Sweet Potato & Five Spice Muffins, Millet-Fig Muffins, and Bummer Ba



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Wow.  The hater's be hatin' on Gwyneth's new cookbook so bad that I'm almost afraid to post anything from it.   The reviews have been scathing, condescending and some are downright mean.  And most of them have nothing to do with the quality of the recipes.  Granted, there's really no need to put a "recipe" for a poached egg in a cookbook.  If you don't know how to poach an egg, google that shit.  And, yes some of her comments are a little pretentious.  I know you're rich Gwyn.  Don't care.  But the author's side notes in a cookbook are not why I buy it.  I'm strictly here for great tasting recipes.  

Let's be clear.  I'm not advocating her "elimination diet" and I'm not about to do it myself.  I don't have an issue with gluten, and I'm not interested in being vegan.  And you know she lost me after the first two items that one must eliminate from the diet.....coffee and alcohol.  Oh, Hell to the N. O.  Gwynnie.  And no corn?  The miracle food?  Not happening.  That being said, if something can taste good and be good for me at the same time?  No need to hate on that.  I like quinoa and kale and who's not looking for a few more interesting ways to get a sweet potato into your day.  :)  Or not.  Work with me here.

L to R....Sweet Potato & Five Spice Muffins, Bummer Bars and Millet-Fig Muffins

Since, I had a menopausal night at was wide awake at 4:00am this morning and the never ending rain cancelled my tennis match, I decided to give Gwyneth the benefit of the doubt.  I started with the Sweet Potato and Five Spice Muffins basically because I lurve anything with five spice.  It's got such a warm, er, spicy flavor.  I thought these were delicious.  The sweet potato keeps them moist and the combination of the warmth of the maple syrup and five spice powder these reminded me of Fall.  I'll definitely make these again.



Next, I tried Millet-Fig Muffins.  Don't let millet freak you out.  It's just a grain and Whole Foods carries it, but if you don't have a Whole Foods, you can order it from Amazon.  (What can't you order from Amazon?)  And figs are available everywhere.  And since Fig Newtons were a childhood favorite, I'll always gravitate towards a fig recipe!  These were really good too....loved the combination of the figs, maple syrup and ginger.  And the millet gave them great texture and crunch!  Another winner.  


Another plus for both these muffins is that neither required me to get out my stand mixer.  Yup just two bowls.  Easy and fast.  (The recipes......not Gwyneth.)





 Next up were the Bummer Bars.  If you're like me and think the name is totally lame, just call them protein bars.  The original recipe calls for Quinoa Flakes, but I couldn't find them at WF.  Gwyn says they're a gluten-free sub for oats, so I used oats!.  These also call for brown rice syrup, which I did find at WF, but you can sub in corn syrup.  These are basically a canvas for creativity.  I might throw in some chia seeds next time or a different dried fruit.  I used prunes this time because I like them, but figs or apricots would work and I might use almonds instead of walnuts.


These are great to throw in your gym bag for a little protein punch after a workout, or when you get that 3:00pm hunger pang and your teeth need something to crunch.  Or maybe that's just me.  I think with the right dried fruits, your kids might even like them after school.  




I'm def not hating on Gwyneth's new book.  I was 3 for 3 today and I'm trying the Crazy Good Fish Tacos for dinner tonight and maybe the Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Chipotle and Coriander tomorrow.  I'll let you know.



I've done some gluten free baking in the past so I had GF flour on hand.  I use this brand and you can get it at Williams-Sonoma (but I'm sure Amazon has it too), but do some research.  There are tons of GF flours out there.

Here are the muffin and bar recipes:

Sweet Potato + Five Spice Muffins
It's All Good  -  Gwyneth Paltrow

Makes 12 muffins
Vegan

1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup good-quality maple syrup plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour (if the flour doesn't include xantham gum, add 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.  Prick the sweet potato a few times with a pairing knife or a fork.  Bake until soft (when a pairing knife can cut through with zero resistance), about 1 hour.  Set the sweet potato aside until it's completely cool.

Peel the sweet potato, discard the skin, and mash the flesh in a mixing bowl with a fork.  Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla into the sweet potato.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder, and salt.  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with the extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking.  Let the muffins cool before serving.

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Millet-Fig Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
Vegan

2 cups gluten free flour (if the flour doesn't include xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup raw millet
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
A big pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup ground flaxseeds
2/3 cup good quality maple syrup
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped dried figs

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and flaxseeds together in a large bowl.  In another bowl whisk together the maple syrup, almond milk, and olive oil.  Toss the chopped figs in a small bowl with a spoonful of the dry ingredients (this helps keep the figs from sinking to the bottom of the muffins).  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the figs.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until the muffins are browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  20 to 25 minutes.

=====================================================================

Bummer Bars

Vegan

1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes (I used oats)
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
A pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup good-quality maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1/2 cup chopped prunes or apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.  Line a brownie pan (we use a 9 x 11 inch dish that's 2 inches high) with parchment paper or line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and pour the mixture into the brownie pan, or evenly divide it among the muffin cups.  Pack the mixture down with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 1/2 hour, or until the bars have firmed up and are golden brown.  Let cool before removing from the pan or muffin cups.  If you used a brownie pan, use the parchment to lift the bar out of the pan, and cut into rectangles.  Serve right away or store in an airtight container.


36 comments:

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  2. Glad to see I'm not the only one who just thought the recipes were interesting. I'm making the bummer bars right now and have tried a few of the other recipes. The Salmon Burgers were super tasty (I couldn't find pickled ginger and subbed some fresh ground ginger and some vinegar) and we also loved the lemon salmon.

    I'm kind of with you on the rest of it...I already knew she was rich and kind of laughed off some of the comments.

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  28. Cool post! I actually made the bummer bars today. And...they were a bummer. I was using the recipe from the book and baked them in muffin tins using liners. No bueno! They stuck to the liners and we are eating paper. I will definitely do them again but only in a pan. I didn't read through all of your comments so not sure if someone else said it but I found the quinoa flakes in the hot cereal section. They are kind of like oatmeal!

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  32. I used hazelnut flour and they ended up looking like fallen soufles. Big mistake.

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  33. I agree - the recipes are pretty good in Gwyneth's book. I tried the fig millet muffins and few other recipes and had great results. Always nice for new inspiration with healthy ingredients. As far as the hype, wealth and elimination diet - I am not so interested. I like your adaptation of her recipes - smart to substitute with what you have on hand!

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  34. I agree - the recipes are pretty good in Gwyneth's book. I tried the fig millet muffins and few other recipes and had great results. Always nice for new inspiration with healthy ingredients. As far as the hype, wealth and elimination diet - I am not so interested. I like your adaptation of her recipes - smart to substitute with what you have on hand!

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  35. Has anyone have suggestions to make them less crumbly? I tried adding one egg and it helped some. Thanks.

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  36. Mine were really crumbly too. But I did cook with convection. Maybe that dried them out?

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