Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I can't believe it's not butter... or egg!

Mmmmm! These little muffins are so fantastic!

One of my favourite things about vegan baking (other than licking the spoon) is that the end product is always so light and moist. I think there is this terrible misconception that the lack of egg or real butter would make it heavy as a brick and dry... not from my experience!
Another joy of vegan baking is that non-dairy milk (unopened) has a fairly long shelf life so you can always have a "box" of almond, rice, or whatever milk in the pantry. Same with many vegan egg substitutes (flaxseeds, for example, are good for up to 2 years!) So convenient :)

These are also quite healthy - no hydrogenated fats, low cholesterol (if any), all the great benefits of ginger (it's helpful in warding off colds so it's good this time of year), and flax seed which is a good source of fibre and Omega-3 fatty acids.

The muffins are wonderful just as-is but I highly recommend them heated through with a little non-dairy butter. Even better - add some marmalade or other jam, too.

PS - Do not try to substitute dried, ground ginger for fresh. It won't do these justice at all. And you will thank me for pointing that out when you experience the lovely smell that occurs when that ginger starts spinning around in your food processor :)

Makes 12 muffins

2 tbsp. ground flaxseed (equiv. of 2 eggs) *See note on flaxseed below*
6 tbsp. water
1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger (I may have used more - I just had a chunk of gingerroot and used the whole thing)
1 cup granulated sugar (I always use evaporated cane juice sugar since I know it's not refined in a non-vegetarian manner)
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter (I really like Earth Balance - the whipped stuff is not good for baking, though!)
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond but you could use hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk...)
Juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Remove the skin from the ginger (a small metal spoon does a great job!) and then chop the ginger into smaller pieces. Throw the pieces into a food processor and pulse until well chopped. If you don't own a food processor, you could use a Microplane grater or fine box grater. Remove from the processor and set aside.

2. Add the ground flaxseeds and water to the food processor bowl and pulse until you have a thick and creamy mixture.

3. Combine the ginger and 1/2 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and is combined with the ginger. This only takes a couple of minutes. Set aside to cool and stir in the lemon zest.

4. Stir the salt, flour, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

5. In a large bowl, beat the non-dairy butter until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until well-blended. Add the flax mixture and stir well then add the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Mix well to combine. Add the dry ingredients as well as the ginger-sugar mixture. Stir until just blended.

6. Spoon into prepared muffin tins (I love to use my ice cream scoop for this). Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*I always seem to end up with more batter than I need with vegan baking recipes.

*Note on flaxseeds:
Tiny little nutrition powerhouses!
Flaxseeds are an excellent (mercury-free!) source of Omega-3 fatty acids but you won't get that benefit unless you grind up the seeds. Buy whole flaxseeds (Bob's Red Mill has them) and then grind them up as you need them. A coffee grinder does a great job of this.
But now you're saying "well, what the heck else do I do with this bag of flax?!" I like to grind some up and add 2 tsp. to my daily mid-morning oatmeal. You can also sprinkle them on salads, soups, in smoothies, or on cold cereal.
PS - not sure it's necessary but once open, I store my bag of flaxseeds in the fridge.

Ginger Muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking.


Tiffany and Ganesh said...

we are so alike, gillian! :) these are awesome. my bff (who is vegetarian, too) loves ginger and her bday is this week. i am so making these for her! i need to get some ginger and flax seed first though. thank you for sharing this recipe!

Joelen said...

I'd really like to experiment with flaxseed - thanks for sharing this!