Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pumpkin Coco-Nut Muffins

When we were in the Bahamas this winter, coconuts were everywhere for the taking. Any walk could yield a dozen coconuts if you were so inclined to clean them. We really like fresh coconut and snack on it like we do peanuts and fresh coconut, in particular, lends a sweetness and moistness to baking that you just can't find anywhere else. Toward the end of our two month stay (the reason for lack of posts here since internet there is not fast enough for pictures), we picked up an extra coconut and cleaned the outer husk off but kept the hard shell inside and took it with us back to the States. One of our good friends came to Nassau to make the crossing back over with us and the coconut happened to be residing in the aft cabin where he was staying. He happened to comment one day that the coconut seemed to be staring at him, and after taking a good look I had to agree. One thing led to another, and soon the coconut had a face drawn on and a name, "Coco". Well Coco met his demise this week since my food-allergy-prone grandsons arrived and required some coconut-laden breakfast treats.

Muffins are one of the easiest baked goods to make gluten-free so we have them pretty frequently when the kids are around. These muffins are extremely moist and flavorful and will be our favorite one now, changed occasionally with the addition of seasonal fruit, raisins, or dates. Whether you're gluten sensitive or not, these muffins are a great way to start out the day.

1-1/2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 cup freshly grated coconut, divided in half
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk + 2 Tbl
2 Tbl coconut oil


Preheat oven to 400°. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.

Mix the egg, pumpkin, milk, and oil in another bowl and set aside.

Lightly grease the bottoms of 12 muffin tins with extra coconut oil.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until combined and the dry ingredients are incorporated. If the batter is dry, add the extra 2 Tbl of milk. Humidity plays a huge factor in muffin recipes and the amount of liquid required. Do not over mix. This is the number one mistake people make when baking muffins. If you over mix the batter, the muffins will be dense instead of tender.

Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of coconut on top. Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If your oven runs hot, check at 15 minutes. On the boat, it takes me 20-22 minutes. Ovens vary.

Coco, may you rest in peace.