January 21, 2008

recipe to try: quinoa muffins

This past weekend was utterly, bone-chillingly frigid. To say the least. The temps hovered just around zero degrees, and it was the type of weather that seems to just creep into your core and keep you chilled for hours. Needless to say, we didn't do much outside the house beyond running a few errands each morning, and by Saturday evening, I was already coming down with a serious case of cabin fever. I simply could not lay on the sofa zoning out to reruns of Project Runway for one minute more! I decided it was high time to dust off my recipe books and bake up some yummy goodness instead. (New Year's resolutions be damned!)

I read about this recipe for quinoa muffins in the Jan/Feb '08 issue of Everyday Food {Sidenote - this is definitely one of my most favorite magazines! I can't wait for each new issue to come and once I'm through the poor things are just covered in dog-ears. Everyday Food is chocked full of delicious recipes that are easy to make using simple to find, regular grocery-store ingredients. It's a great resource for anyone who loves to cook & bake.}

I didn't have quinoa - and certainly wasn't about to run out and buy some! - so I decided to substitute couscous in its place, which created a great, grainy texture (sort of like cornbread). The muffins had just the right mix of sweet and salty, and the raisins added one more tasty element to the mix. {I love raisins, so I added a little more than was actually called for.} The muffins were a cinch to make and baked up just beautifully - and they looked like the picture, which is always a plus in my book.

Quinoa Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup quinoa, rinsed {I substituted couscous}
1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar {I substituted regular brown sugar}
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole milk {I substituted skim milk}
1 large egg {I substituted egg-beaters}
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes. {If using couscous, follow directions on box.}

Meanwhile, brush a standard 12-cup muffin pan with oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, and 2 cups cooked quinoa; reserve any leftover quinoa for another use.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined; divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

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