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Posted Jan 04 2011 12:00am

I realize that right now most people are thinking they would do fine forgoing baked goods for the rest of eternity.  And I understand.  It has been an indulgent couple of weeks, and jeans are outrageously expensive.  But I just spent the afternoon testing muffin recipes for work, and I have to share my favorite.  


Using two different sweeteners here, Rapadura and maple syrup, adds dimension and prevents either ingredient from overpowering the subtle flavor of the parsnip.


4 ounces (about 1 heaping cup) walnuts 1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Rapadura
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
12 ounces (about 5 medium) trimmed and peeled parsnip, grated
8 ounces pitted Medjool dates, chopped* NOTES
*Dates love to stick to your knife, making them a real chore to chop.  Two tips: store them in refrigerator, as they are easier to handle when chilled; toss them a pinch of flour before and after chopping.**This recipe works wonderfully as a quick bread (See photo above). Simply pour batter into a greased (I spread olive oil on with a paper towel or basting brush) glass or cast iron bread pan (8.5” x 4.5” x 2.5”). Increase cooking time to 60-70 minutes; bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners and spray or brush with extra virgin olive oil. 

Spread the walnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until toasted, about 9 minutes. While still warm, fold the walnuts into a clean kitchen towel and lightly rub to remove the bitter skins; cool and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, Rapadura, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, walnut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until just combined (don’t overmix or muffins could turn out tough).  Add grated parsnips, chopped dates and walnuts; stir until evenly incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container, at room temperature, for up to four days.

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