Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthy Amaranth Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

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I have been experimenting in my kitchen with baking with amaranth and honey bee pollen. Amaranth is an ancient grain traditionally grown in South America by the indigenous people. Amaranth is a very small grain shaped like a small bead and has a nice nutty taste. Honey bee pollen is the pollen that bees collect and take to their hives. Honey bee pollen is considered a complete food meaning that it contains every single type of amino acid possible. Honey bee pollen varies from place to place as bees will collect pollen from their local flowers. Our honey bee pollen locally is a dark yellow color, but honey bee pollen can be red, green, orange, and brown depending upon the type of pollen found in the flowers locally. Honey bee pollen should not be given to children under the age of two and people who are allergic to honey as a severe allergic reaction can occur.

I set out to make a healthy muffin that tastes good and is not something that you can readily buy at the grocery store. Luckily, amaranth is easy to bake with as is honey bee pollen. Honey bee pollen can have a chalky texture when eaten raw, but when I baked with it, the honey bee pollen infused itself beautifully within the muffin leaving no chalky texture anywhere in the muffin. The only potential downside to baking with honey bee pollen is that experiments have not been done on honey bee pollen to ensure that the structural integrity of all of the amino acids remains intact when baked, so you might potentially be losing some of the nutritionally quality of the honey bee pollen by baking the honey bee pollen.

These healthy amaranth whole wheat pumpkin muffins were excellent. The muffins were sweet and hearty with bits of pecans, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries sprinkled throughout the muffin to create a fun and flavorful muffin that is very filling. These muffins are perfect for breakfast on a busy morning when you do not have time to cook. Both of my kids loved these muffins. Miss Bubbles ate three muffins after they came out of the oven.

Ingredients (makes 18 medium muffins) from my own kitchen

2 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup amaranth
½ cup wheat bran
¼ cup milled flax seed
¼ cup honey bee pollen
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup cranberries, dried
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Whisk the brown sugar and eggs in a large bowl until smooth.

3. Mix in the pumpkin, amaranth, wheat bran, flax seed, honey bee pollen, applesauce, and vanilla extract until well combined.

4. Mix the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a large bowl.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly while stirring constantly. Stir until well combined.

6. Mix in the pecans, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Mix until evenly distributed.

7. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full.

8. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

9. Cool the muffins 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the pan. Enjoy!

Posted on Simple Lives Thursday

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