I made the softest, moistest, amaranth muffins to kickstart 2023. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2023 to be The International Year of Millets, and what could be more apt than getting back on my blog with a millet-based recipe. These made-for-breakfast muffins are fibre and nutrient rich from amaranth flour, whole wheat flour and rolled oats and bursting with banana. The chocolate chips are the cherry on the cake.
Baking with amaranth
Millet flours for the most part, can be challenging to bake with. Drier and gluten-free, it’s difficult to use them to produce soft and fluffy baked good. Often, they have to be combined with oats, AP or whole wheat flour to achieve a satisfactory result. It’s generally safe to substitute about 25% of the total flour with a millet flour. Sometimes this quantity can go higher (depending on what one is baking). Trying different proportions is the key to perfecting your recipes.
Amaranth is a gluten-free pseudo-grain, rich in fibre, amino acids, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. The seed of the amaranth plant is ground to get amaranth flour. Its flavour is best described as earthy and slightly nutty. Amaranth flour works in muffin recipes in combination with almond, oat, all-purpose, whole wheat and other flours. Muffins made with 100% amaranth flour will be dense and dry. The flour needs ample hydration to achieve the right texture. If you’re considering swapping AP flour for amaranth in a recipe, about 25% of the total flour in a muffin or cake recipe may be substituted with amaranth flour. The ‘wet’ ingredients may need to be suitably tweaked.
What makes the muffins soft and fluffy?
Bananas, all 350 g of vanilla-scented sweetness that adds moisture to the flours, making the muffins pillowy and moist. Hydration is essential while baking with millet flours which may otherwise yield a dry, sandy crumb. Gooey banana pulp and fibre bind the flours and rolled oats making them plump and soft. What’s wonderful about these amaranth muffins is that despite the large amount of mashed Bananas, the muffins aren’t sticky or stodgy.
Olive oil and a healthy dollop of yoghurt bump up the moisture, bringing a rich, luxurious to the amaranth muffins’ texture. It’s a loaded muffin for sure, and filling as a packed lunch, breakfast on-the-go or just a snack to carry along when you’re in a hurry.
The best part is that this is a recipe that you can tailor to suit your taste. It lends itself to experimentation whether it’s with different flours, toppings or fats and flavourings. It is a forgiving yet delicious formula that you’ll want to add to your recipe book for sure.
Banana Amaranth Muffins
- 45 g amaranth flour
- 135 g whole wheat flour
- 113 g oat flour
- 360 g ripe bananas, mashed
- 113 g plain, natural yoghurt
- 2 eggs
- 149 g soft brown sugar
- 50 g olive oil
- 2 tsp baking powder 1/2
- ½ tsp soda bicarb
- ½ tsp salt
- 40 g chocolate chips
- Line a 12-muffin pan with liners or lightly grease them and preheat the oven to 190°C.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all the flours, salt, soda bicarb, baking powder and ground cinnamon.
- In another bowl whisk the olive oil with the yoghurt and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the mashed bananas.
- Now fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a light hand until there are no lumps. Take care not to overmix.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, fill the prepared muffin tin with the batter till ¾ full and bake for 20-25.the muffins should be tall and domed with no wet batter sticking to the tester toothpick.