Orange pineapple muffins and mini loaves (for Burke and Joan : ))

By now, anyone who's been reading this blog must have just about had enough of at least two recurring threads: whole boiled citrus a la marmalade in baked goods, and pineapple-coconut. I've even found myself doing a little restless toe-tapping when I catch myself focusing on yet another variation of one of these veins. Impatience hasn't been enough to counteract the fixations, however, so this week I gave in and worked on creating something that would combine the two. My hope is, I'll get to either flood and smother what is starting to feel like a pleasant plateau of a time loop; or, I'll simply revel in the decadence of the experiments. Baking with these ingredients is kind of like indulging in a little homemade kitchen aromatherapy. The tangy sweet, clean citrus scents envelope the house with a sort of magnanimous purity. As for fresh pineapple (and it is really important, I think, that it's fresh) and coconut, who can resist a taste of the tropics, however short-lived? And, any leftovers can be used for a true palate cleanser of a light and refreshing sorbet. This quick bread recipe is actually round three of trials. Initially, I included yogurt, and used significantly less flour. Testing out at a pasta night with our triathlon club, it was mostly well received. At the same time, it was kindly pointed out by our friend and fellow triathlete, foodie, and health blogger, Burke, that despite clear potential, the product had a slight gummy texture similar to what you might expect in certain gluten free recipes. (No sarcasm on the kindness part, Burke, in case you're reading...I DO appreciate the candor, and that's why this version is for you!) I had suspected the same, and this unprompted observation confirmed it. So, for trial two, I increased the flour and cut out the yogurt, which made a slight impact. Trial three, I increased the baking powder, and also used organic evaporated cane juice (OK, raw sugar...but doesn't that sound so much better? And, it does retain more nutrients than plain old granulated, being far less processed, so is less taxing on the digestive system!). This version was by far my favorite, though I did honestly like the results each time.  The batter goes a long way, ample enough for two mini loaves and about 12 mini muffins. One caution, if you don't plan on eating of giving these away quickly, freeze or refrigerate them, as they are very moist and will mold quickly.

Orange Pineapple Quick Bread

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup raw evaporated cane juice or honey
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk

1. In a saucepan, cover the orange with water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer half an hour. Drain and cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine flours and baking powder. When citrus is cool, cut in half and discard the seeds. Put the halves in the food processor with the pineapple and chop finely.

4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Add oil, coconut milk,  honey or raw sugar, and pineapple orange mixture. Stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add egg and citrus mix to it. Stir to just combine.

5. Pour batter into prepared mini loaf and/or muffin tins. Bake at 350°F, 15-18 minutes for mini muffins, 25-30 for mini loaves or regular muffin tins.

For pineapple coconut sorbet: I had extra pineapple and coconut milk. Combine 1 cup light coconut milk, 3/4 cup crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup raw sugar and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Refrigerate overnight then transfer to the container of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Photo credit: Flikr user shok