We go way back, quinoa and I. All the way back to my college days. Waaaaay back. Now I could whine about how tough it was to be a poor college student but truth is, I got a very nice allowance each month that I managed very badly indeed. So as the end of the month loomed, I always found myself faced with tough choices money wise. Buy more albums (remember albums?) or eat properly. I bought more albums. I ate poorly. Day after day, brown rice, frozen peas and a sprinkling of parmesan cheez in a can. That is until I discovered the wonder of the Green Mountain Grainery (as I found out years later, like yesterday in fact when I Googled it, Colorado's first natural/health food store). Bin after bin of stuff that would make the crunchy granola crowd swoon (including actual crunchy granola!) And it was there that I was was introduced to quinoa, along with amaranth, millet, barley and a whole bunch of other "exotic" grains that are now available in just about every run-of-the-mill grocery store. (Yes, there's no doubt that quinoa is the trendy grain du jour. You can't turn around these days without tripping over it in some form or other. But I, my friends, being ever ahead of the curve, teetering on the cutting edge, leading the pack, tipping the point, I have been into quinoa since way before it was A Thing. Are you impressed? Yeah, me neither. Especially when you consider that I pronounced it "kwin-oh-wah.") Quinoa was plentiful, it was filling, it was good for you–not that I cared back then–but best of all, it was CHEAP. Way cheaper than brown rice. So I ate LOTS of quinoa. And I've been eating quinoa ever since. There's almost always a vat of cooked quinoa in my fridge so I can easily add it to just about anything. Soups, salads, chilis, stews. The only thing I haven't done is bake with it. Until now. Because quinoa is the theme of this month's #BreadBakers challenge. Eep.
Let's just be kind and say that my road to quinoa success was full of potholes. My first attempt was a citrus-y quickbread made with quinoa flour and other good-for-you ingredients like yogurt, almond milk, coconut sugar and oil, chia seeds and ginger. And…mere words cannot describe the awfulness that was this bread. As in Mr. Dough and I took a taste, said "Eeeeew" and made faces that would have done a five-year-old proud, whereupon I promptly picked up the loaf and dumped it in the trash awful. A perfect storm of awful. The kind of healthful food that makes one race for the Twinkies.
Second attempt: a lovely sounding yeast bread made with oatmeal and cooked quinoa. A chance to use my new bread machine (yes, I caved). A few hours later, I took a beautiful golden-domed loaf out of the machine, set it on a rack to cool…and watched as it collapsed on itself to become a sad little deflated quinoa balloon. (Personally, I think my bread machine has it in for me.) Now on the upside, this bread actually tasted great and I was all set to try again but another BreadBaker beat me to it (or something similar). Piffle and darn.
Third attempt: Another quickbread. Another failure. Another sunken, sodden mess of good ingredients gone bad–carrots, bananas, raisins–and UNCOOKED quinoa. Another one for the trash, and I'm still picking uncooked quinoa seeds out of my teeth. I was demoralized, defeated and desperate, not to mention running out of quinoa.
What's that expression? Fourth time's the charm? (Work with me, people!) That brings us to quinoa apple muffins. Mind you, I didn't have high hopes. But…DING! DING! DING! We've got a winner here! Surprisingly light (especially for a muffin that's made with a boatload of cooked quinoa), incredibly moist and tender, with little bursts of apple-y goodness and a sweet crunch of oatmeal topping. Plus, they're chock-full of spiffy amino acids and flavinoids and anti-inflammatories and heart-healthy fats and vitamins and… oh, whatever. THEY TASTE REAL GOOD!
quinoa apple muffins
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups fat free yogurt
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil (such as safflower or canola)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups diced apple
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
- Rinse the quinoa under running water for about 1 minute. Drain, then place in a medium pan with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for about 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and let cool.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until combined.
- Add yogurt, milk, oil, eggs and extract into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined (some streaks of flour are okay, don't overmix). Fold in the diced apple and cooled quinoa.
- To make the topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until the oats are coated.
- Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter (an ice cream scoop is great for this), then sprinkle with some of the topping.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Makes 24 muffins.
Adapted from smellofrosemary.blogspot.com
here's what #BreadBakers have been baking this month
- Eggnog Cranberry and White Chocolate Quick Bread by Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
- Garlic Multigrain Bread by Kelly at Passion Kneaded
- Maple Walnut Quinoa Quick Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Mocha Porter Quinoa Loaf by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- No Knead Quinoa Bread by Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Pan de Quinoa y Miel by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Quinoa and Millet Bread by Anshie at Spiceroots
- Quinoa Poolish Baguettes by Adam at Bakers and Best
- Quinoa Oatmeal Bread by Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Quinoa Pumpkin Muffins by Kathya at Basic N Delicious
- Red Quinoa Sourdough Bread by Sophie at Sweet Cinnamon & Honey
About #BreadBakers#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to email@example.com.