Flaxberry muffins (and the incredible versatility of ground flaxseeds)


I may as well tell you, this muffin recipe has been sitting on top of the mental queue of blog posts for a couple of weeks now. They keep getting their number called, and yet somehow defer. This is partly because I didn't take time to photograph them well, even on a relative standard of "well for me"; and, primarily because, despite the fact that I really, really like them (especially warm, fresh from the oven), I don't particularly have tons to say about them. Which, today, is actually perfect, because I have a lot on my mind and things to don't really need distraction from a nagging blog with a semi-delusional, needy sense of self-importance.

The thing about these muffins, inspired by a recipe from Runners' World, that excites me the most is the sheer potential of flax meal, or ground flaxseeds. Breaking the hard outer shell when grinding flaxseeds creates a floury, slightly oily powder. Unlike its seed form, the meal is easily digested, and provides a hefty dose of fiber, plus omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic (ALA).

I love sneaking flaxmeal into things (especially baked goods), tossing it in cookies, cakes, breads, oatmeal, yogurt, and more. Only recently I've learned what true potential it has for accommodating special diets. You can replace eggs with a flaxmeal/water mixture, for example, substituting roughly 1 tablespoon flaxmeal in 3 tablespoons water for one egg. You can also replace fats like butter or oil with flaxmeal. Check out this link from the Flax Council of Canada for more details.

What I should also tell you about these muffins is, they are a bit of an acquired taste. I've been tweaking them, and I've enjoyed both (so far) variations, but I'm not sure they're an automatic kid-favorite. For kids, I'd maybe include a little jam filling, or increase the sugar a little bit. For myself, I love them with less sugar than I'm listing here, down to 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup.  And although I'd never expect anyone (and would hope  no one) would really eat them all straight from the oven, that is indeed when they are best, so be sure to warm them, and play around with them, too. I used raspberries in these one tie, strawberries the other, but I'm itching to try blueberries and some sliced almonds.

Of course, despite the fact that it excites me that you can replace eggs with flaxmeal and water, I threw not one, but two eggs, in these. I also like them with one egg and one egg white. You could say, I am simply a fan of eggs these days, and the easily affordable, high quality protein they provide. I'm pretty sure you can go without eggs, too, however, and I'll let you know when I find out for sure.

Flaxberry muffins

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry (or regular whole wheat) flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup flaxmeal/ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond or skim milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup berries (I used raspberries)

Mix flour, oats, baking powder and soda, spices, and flaxmeal in a large bowl. Combine liquid ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once. Stir until thoroughly moistened but lumpy, and fold in berries. Fill muffin tins, lined with paper or foil cups, to about 2/3 full. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes.