Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Muffin Magic

I love muffins. They're like little healthy-ish cupcakes with no frosting. When I eat muffins, I feel like I'm getting a treat. But I'm really getting good-for-me stuff, like carob, wheat bran, and dried fruit. Of course, I'm also getting sugar. But way, way less than what I'd be eating in a cupcake. Not to mention the lack of all that fat from frosting.

I was sent a copy of 150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury to review, and I had a really hard time choosing between the breakfast muffins, fancy coffeehouse muffins, savory muffins, and globally-inspired muffins. Everything looked so yummy! And the center spread of photos had me drooling. But I finally settled on two recipes, one sweet and one savory.

Last week, I made the Trail Mix Muffins to eat for breakfast:

I've always been a fan of chunky stuff, and these little guys were chock full of awesomeness. There's carob chips, dried cranberries, granola, and lightly salted sunflower seeds (for that awesome sweet 'n' salty trail mix taste). Plus, they're made with whole wheat flour and bran for added healthfulness. I heated them in the microwave each morning, and the carob got all melty and delicious.

This week, I made the Fresh Broccoli Muffins to go with my Farmer's Breakfast from yesterday:

Although the name only implies broccoli, these should really be called broccoli-cheese muffins because the cup of vegan cheddar is what really makes these muffins. Nothing goes better with broccoli than Daiya, and these muffins are living (okay, inanimate) proof.

With 150 recipes, this book is filled all sorts of unique ideas for what to pour into a muffin tin. There's plenty of sweet varieties, like Mango Muffins with Cardamom Crumble, French Toast Muffins, Caramel Apple Muffins, Dried Cherry Corn Muffins, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Muffins. But I'm most intrigued by the savory options, like Sweet Potato Sage Muffins, Bell Pepper Basil Muffins, and Ancho Chili and Cherry Tomato Muffins.

My one qualm about the book is kind of a silly vegan police thing. I'm never one to point out things that aren't vegan when vegans are eating them because I hate it when people do that to me. But this is a cookbook. And there's a recipe that calls for a non-vegan ingredient — Guinness beer.

Guinness is one of the few mainstream beers made with isinglass (a by-product of the fishing industry) as a fining agent. And it's non-veganness is common vegan knowledge, so I'm not sure how the author overlooked that. Any other vegan stout could easily be substituted, but perhaps, the recipe should be called Stout Muffins instead.

(UPDATE: According to some of my commenters, the U.S. version of Guinness Extra Stout is vegan. I'd heard "Guinness North American Stout" was vegan before, and I'm guessing "Guinness Extra Stout" was what they meant. That's good news! Looks like I might be making some Guinness Extra Stout muffins...)

Other than that, the book is great! Both muffin recipes that I made were perfectly moist and hearty.


Melissa N. said...

I thought Guinness Extra Stout was vegan-friendly! I remember because right after I heard that I saw some in the supermarket. But it's true, the author should have specified.

Babette said...

That book looks great. I love the idea of making savory muffins. I'll probably get that book if I see it.

Thanks for pointing out that Guiness is not vegan. I had no idea, but now I'm glad I know. I agree with you with the fact that a self-proclaimed vegan cookbook should indeed call for vegan ingredients.

xvavaveganx said...

I love muffins too and it has been so long since I've had one! The trail mix muffins look so amazing and the broccoli muffins are such a fun way to get your veggies. That would be so great on a brunch table!

I have apps on my phone that tell me which brands of alcohol are vegan. Whenever I check it if I'm out and get a drink (which is rare anyway) or even just in conversation if I mention that some alcohols are not vegan people are always shocked. People would never think that animal byproducts are used in the distilling process but I always double check :) That's a bummer that a vegan cookbook wouldn't be careful about things like that... and other things like including honey in a recipe! Luckily we know appropriate substitutes :)

Erin said...

The broccoli cheese muffins looks super tasty! Melissa N. is right, Guiness Extra Stour that's sold in the US is vegan, because it's produced by a different facility that does the rest of Guinness products. I found out right before St. Patrick's Day! Then again, you have the debate over supporting a company that does mostly non-vegan stuff, but I will tell you...that beer was pretty damned tasty.

KTBuns said...

Oh gosh, these look so tasty... started drooling right about the time you described the melty chips in the trail mix muffins!

Please make french toast muffins!!