Bake up some healthy holiday goodness, with these moist pecan-topped cranberry orange quinoa muffins!
I’ve become a little obsessed with the whole idea of adding quinoa to baked goods. This would be my third quinoa muffin recipe. (The other two are here and here.) I don’t want to overdo it or anything, but I kinda can’t help it. Quinoa muffins are really, really good. Like as in, better than their non-quinoa counterparts. As in, I’d make my muffins this way even if the addition of quinoa didn’t make them healthier. Yes, they’re that good. If you haven’t tried some quinoa baking yet, it’s time to get to it.
I could seriously just start a spinoff blog where I posted quinoa muffin recipes several times a week. For now though, this blog is plenty to keep me busy, so I’ll just continue to feed you guys a new quinoa muffin variations via Connoisseurus Veg every few weeks or months.
For this installment, I wanted to go seasonal. You know how when you go out and do your Thanksgiving shopping, you always see that two-for-one special on fresh cranberries, with that sign that says to freeze the second bag? I always fall for that, and usually the second bag gets forgotten in the abyss of my freezer until the following August, at which point the berries are severely frostbitten because I didn’t wrap them up properly, thinking I’d use them so quickly that the act of even freezing them would seem silly. Well not this year. (Take that, Ocean Spray and your twofer deal!)
This year, I got on those berries right away. In fact, I didn’t even freeze them. I have, at least partially, quinoa to thank for that, because where there’s quinoa, and where there’s any suitable muffin mixer, there’s an excuse to make some quinoa muffins, which always get eaten. My boyfriend takes them to work and gobbles them up as an afternoon snack. I nibble on them over tea at bedtime. Healthy baked goods are the bomb.
Now, keep in mind that these are on the healthy side, and they are therefore not super-sweet desserty muffins. The sugar content is relatively low, and the berries are tart. I love this, but I don’t want anyone deciding this is going to be their Christmas Eve dessert and being disappointed at the lack of sweetness. My suggestion is this: mix the batter up according to the recipe, taste (always an advantage in vegan baking that you can do this), and if you’re not happy, add some more sugar. Keep in mind that those tart berries are going to counteract any sweetness in the batter, so if you think it’s just sweet enough, you might want to still bump it up a notch.
- ½ cup quinoa
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 cups spelt flour (could sub all purpose)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- 1 cup chilled non-dairy milk of choice
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 16-32 pecan halves, optional
- Rinse quinoa under cold running water for two minutes.
- Place in small saucepan with orange juice over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Allow to sit, covered, for at least another five minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line or spray 16 muffin cups.
- In large mixing bowl, mix 1 cup of your cooked quinoa (you should have just a little bit extra), flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest.
- Whisk together milk and cornstarch, and add to dry ingredients, along with orange juice, oil and vanilla. Mix until just blended.
- Fold in berries.
- Distribute batter among muffin tins and top each muffin with 1-2 pecan halves, if using.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and springy to touch.