Coronavirus diaries: Yes, I’m baking

Look at this texture!

Like everyone else, I’ve been baking since we stopped being able to travel, meet with friends, go to coffee shops, go to bookstores or do much of anything else outside the home (other than taking long walks). I just invented a new muffin recipe (based on one I found online) that I think is absolutely delicious, so I’m sharing it here. It contains no eggs, because I can’t eat eggs, so I hope anyone else who avoids eggs will find and enjoy it. I’ll also provide some notes on how to make the recipe completely vegan.

Let’s jump right in; you’ll find notes at the end. If you want tips on how to make these muffins totally vegan, those are in the notes, too.

No-Egg Squash and Raisin Muffins

Makes 24 (2 dozen) – Not too sweet, these are nice for breakfast or a snack.

(Adapted from this recipe, which includes eggs: https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/chai-spiced-butternut-squash-muffins/)

  • 1 stick butter, melted 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 generous cups finely mashed cooked squash (I used kabocha)
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds 
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest (use an organic orange and wash it first)
  • 1¼ cup raisins

Line two 1-dozen muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter and stir in the olive oil. Set aside.

Mix the ground flax seed and warm water – whisk for a minute – and set aside. This is your egg substitute.

Measure out the flour and with a fork, stir in the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Break up any clumps of baking soda or baking powder as you do this.

Separate the raisins from each other. 

Using a whisk, beat the sugar into the butter-oil mixture. Then beat in the vanilla; next, the yogurt; then the flax-water mixture and the grated orange zest. Last, whisk in the mashed squash.

Stir in the raisins until they’re well distributed. Then, using a wooden spoon or silicon scraper, stir in the flour mixture 1/3 at a time.

Spoon the batter into the paper cups, filling each one ¾ full or so. You can top them all off with any extra batter. 

Put the muffin tins into your oven side by side. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Fifteen minutes into the baking, swap the positions of your tins so the lines of muffins that are at the outside edges of the oven are now at the center. Finish baking.

The muffins are done when you can lightly touch the top of one and it springs back. Put the muffin tins on cooling racks, and after about 5 minutes, carefully lift each muffin out of the tin and place on another cooling rack. This keeps the hot muffins from sweating inside the tins and getting a bit soggy on the bottom.

Wait for the muffins to cool completely before packing into a plastic bag or box. These muffins freeze well.

NOTES

Flour. The first time I made these muffins, I used whole-wheat pastry flour. The second time, I used stoneground whole-wheat flour. I preferred the stoneground. Either works fine.

Flax vs. eggs. If you want to use eggs instead of the flaxseed egg substitute, use four eggs and eliminate one teaspoon of baking soda. You can also add another 1½ tablespoons of flour to make up for the extra liquid provided by the eggs.

Cooking and mashing the squash. Do this ahead of time so the squash isn’t hot when you mix it into your batter. If you cut up the squash (peeled, of course) and boil it, mash the chunks with very little water. If you are using leftover roasted or baked squash, you can just scoop the soft flesh out of the peel. If you need to use a little water to mash it, that’s fine.

Making it vegan. Eggs serve as both a rising agent and as a binder, which is why this recipe uses extra baking soda and baking powder, with an acidic ingredient (yogurt) to act as a rising agent with the baking soda. The flaxseed serves as the binder.  To make this recipe vegan, you can eliminate the yogurt and use two or three tablespoons of lemon juice instead. You can eliminate the butter and just use olive oil – you’ll need ¾ cup of oil in total, because 1 stick of butter equals ½ cup.

Let me know how it turns out

If you make these muffins, let me know how you like them in the comments section below. If you make substitutions, please share those, too. I’m sure lots of people would like ideas for variations.

No-egg muffins for breakfast & snacks during coronavirus
Yummy now, yummy tomorrow, yummy from the freezer in a week or two.

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