But I have made strides in baking and my favorite flour is blanched almond meal. When baked, the texture is very similar to gluten-based flours. Almond flour, which is just pulverized almonds, is high in protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium and vitamin E -- I'd like to see white flour do that, huh? I also like using almond flour because I can enjoy an almond flour muffin without consuming grains which are much higher in carbohydrates, often at the expense of nutrition (depending on the grain). I often eat an almond flour muffin for breakfast since it is so high in protein and I know it will fill me up.
I came up with these chocolate almond flour muffins just today. I was so excited to try one that I didn't even let them cool off all the way before taking a taste test. And boy, they were great! My kids won't even suspect they're getting a healthy treat with these. I secretly added some grated squash -- zucchini would work well, too -- and used agave nectar to avoid that sugary overload that often comes with refined sugar. We've all been brain-washed that chocolate equals fatty, high-calorie bad stuff, but the unsweetened cocoa in this recipe is high in manganese, copper and magnesium as well as providing a tiny boost of fiber. See, eating healthy can be tasty! For an extra-special treat, add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to this for even more chocolate flavor.
Chocolate Muffins with Hidden Squash
Makes 10-12 muffins
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup grated summer squash or zucchini, drained in a fine-mesh strainer to remove extra liquid
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with liners or oil muffin cups. (A light muffin pan works best with almond flour. If using a dark pan, reduce heat to 325 degrees).
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and cocoa until uniform in color. In a medium bowl, whisk together grapeseed oil, agave nectar, egg and vanilla. Stir in grated squash or zucchini. Add wet ingredients to dry and ingredients and stir until well blended.
Scoop batter into muffin cups evenly, about 2/3rds full. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then move to a wire rack to continue cooling. Serve or store in the refrigerator.