Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Delicious Vegan Zucchini Muffins

I am definitely not a vegan. And it is highly unlikely that I will ever be a vegan. Still, I was led to try something new to accomodate my son, Gavin. We had him tested for food sensitivities in the spring and to our surpise, he is highly sensitive to egg whites, among other foods (most of them ones that I enjoy using in baking!).

This was, to my mind, a huge problem. I am a really good "morning mom". I love getting up early and surprising my family with warm muffins, scones, sticky buns - whatever strikes my fancy. With egg whites (and yolks, to a lesser degree) on the list of foods to avoid, my breakfast repetoire has been seriously depleted.

I started searching the local library database for healthy baking books and I stumbled across a book called Babycakes by Erin McKenna. The book is described as, "Vegan, gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes from New York's most talked-about bakery". I was intrigued and requested the book right away.

I was totally blown away by the book. The recipes looked really good and they were definitely well tested, but would they work in my kitchen? I started gathering the variety of ingredients needed, which was more expensive than I anticipated, but not difficult to find at my local, natural foods store. Agave nectar for sweetness, coconut oil for the fat, and whole spelt flour to take the place of my standard all-purpose. I had the rest of the ingredients needed and I went to work making these zucchini muffins.

The muffins were a revelation. Everyone enjoyed them, even Alan, who pretends not to be picky, but actually is. Although the kids were slightly concerned about the green flecks from the zucchini, they ate them up, too. I really liked the texture of the muffins and it was amazing to me that they could contain no eggs, flour, or sugar and still taste so good. The proof that these were winners was later that night. There were three muffins left covered on the counter, and upon seeing them, Alan and I both helped ourselves to a late-night snack (something I normally try to avoid). That left one, and when I came downstairs in the morning, it was gone.

Vegan Zucchini Muffins

2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Add the oil, agave nectar, rice milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and fold in the zucchini just until evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
3. Fill the muffin cups evenly. Bake the muffins on the centre rack for 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished muffins will bounce back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the centre will come out clean.
4. Let the muffins stand in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. The book didn't say anything about how to use the oil in the recipe, so I gently heated the oil in a small pan just until it liquified.