Lucky Comestible III (5): Tropical Lemon-Coconut Muffins

[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days.  For this third entry, I'm focusing on Avocados. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. ] 

Summer is definitely the season of romance.  I mean, all those couples strolling along the Harbourfront, hand in hand. . . starry nights and waves crashing against the sand at the Beaches. . . candlelit dinners on the back patio under the moonlight, just you and your sweetheart. . . and the black flies. . . and the mosquitoes. . . and the spiders. . .  Hmm.  Well, all those couples strolling along the Harbourfront, hand in hand . . .

Doesn’t everyone love a little romance once in a while? I used to think that romance meant roses and chocolate, but nowadays I know better.  Now I realize it’s just chocolate. 

In my previous lifetime (long before the HH), my Starter Husband  was a natural when it came to romance; he was one of those guys who’d secretly light candles and strew rose petals around the bathtub (which was filled, naturally, with Chanel Number 5 Bubble Bath) while I was out shopping because he saw it in a movie somewhere.  Or I’d open a Christmas present to find a pair of handcrafted tiger’s eye earrings he’d bought, because I’d admired them while strolling through an outdoor bazaar the previous July.  Yes, he was a “romantic,” in the classic sense (still didn’t save the marriage, though). 

Most of us are familiar with the studies about husbands who “help out” more in the domestic areas of the home (washing dishes, doing laundry, cleaning floors, etc.):  they’re also more likely to get lucky in the other areas (read: bedroom) of the home.  In those cases, romance is something else entirely:  it’s the ability to tune in to the ongoing, mundane demands or stresses facing your loved one and to help alleviate some of the pressure by reducing the workload. I mean, we all know there’s nothing quite so sexy as a guy with his hands in a sink of soapy dishes, right?  

The HH is definitley not romantic in the classic sense–I think he’s bought flowers for me twice in the eleven years we’ve been together, and those only under duress–but he sure does shine in the “sharing housework” department.  (I know, I’ve mentioned his lack of cooking prowess before, and it’s true, he loathes cooking; but he does make a great kitchen hand, and if I had to count up household chores, I’m certain he takes care of more of them than I do). 

The HH’s style leans more toward Harry’s in When Harry Met Sally–the guy you love to talk to, the one whose silly jokes make you laugh despite yourself, the one who’s steady and good natured and helpful, even if he does miss a few cues when it comes to your desire for sentiment or being sappy. 

And what prompts me to feel romantic toward my guy?  Well, seeing him on his back on the floor (really, get your minds out of the gutter, people!), rolling around with The Girls and a pull toy (well, actually, I guess that last sentence out of context could be interpreted “that way,” couldn’t it? Lord knows what search terms will lead people to this post, now I’ve written that).  Though he’d probably never admit it out loud, the HH is head-over-tail in love with our dogs.  And recognizing that devotion always sparks my own romantic inclinations towards him. (“We’re pretty cool with it, too, Mum.”)

Although it’s true I’ve bought Christmas gifts the HH had admired months before, in general I tend toward more quotidien romantic expressions such as leaving notes in lunch bags, offering to do dishes when it’s his turn, or baking things for him that I know he loves. 

Which brings me–finally–to today’s recipe. (I know, you were wondering how I’d work it in, weren’t you?)

One of the HH’s favorite flavors is coconut.  Alongside a good hunk of Decadent Chocolate Pâté, coconut cream pie is his all-time favorite dessert.  For his birthday each year, I let the HH choose any dessert on the planet and I will make it for him; among the Toffee Hazelnut Pound Cake, the Opera Cake, the Layered Mocha Mousse Cake and all the others over the past eleven years, the only repeat so far has been coconut cake.  What could be better (or more romantic), then, than a baked good that’s both healthy and coconut-based?

As I mentioned in the first post of this Lucky Comestible series, avocados can be used as egg substitutes in baking.  When I first learned of this option, I experimented with a huge variety of recipes, from cookies to cakes to muffins.  In general, the avocado isn’t detectable if the other flavors in a recipe are fairly assertive to begin with (as in the aforementioned chocolate pâté), but in lighter bases (such as vanilla), you may sense a hint of the buttery green purée. In addition, the avocado will impart a touch of color to the final product (though strangely, it bakes up more yellow than green).

The result of my kitchen playtime was these muffins, a great combination of coconut and lemon.  They’re extremely moist, both tart and sweet, and have become one of the HH’s favorites. When you mix up the batter, however, don’t be alarmed by the brilliant Day-Glo green color–the magical alchemy that is baking will transform it into a deep, rich, lemony yellow that is a perfect visual representation of the intense lemony flavor. 

Next time you want to express your love toward the object of your affection, trying baking these. . . and then, who knows what type of romance might ensue? 

I’m also submitting this recipe to A Fruit A Month, the event started by Maheswari of Beyond the Usual and this month hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes.  This month’s focus is coconut.  The roundup will be posted after June 30th, so head over to take a look after that!

Tropical Lemon-Coconut Muffins

Moist and filling, these are the perfect breakfast or snack.  And because the avocado already contributes monounsaturated fats, these don’t require any added oil! 

1/2 cup (125 ml.) avocado purée (may be previously frozen)

1/2 cup (125 ml.) agave nectar

juice of one lemon plus enough water (if necessary) to equal 1/4 cup (60 ml.) liquid

2 tsp. (10 ml.) fresh lemon zest (about one lemon)

3/4 cup (100 g.) whole barley flour

1/2 cup (65 g.) whole oat flour

1 tsp. (5 ml.) baking powder

1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) baking soda

1/4 tsp. (1.5 ml.) sea salt

1 cup (80 g.) shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C.).  Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, combine the avocado, agave nectar, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Mix until smooth and evenly blended.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the coconut.

Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir quickly to blend (it will begin to fizz and bubble right away; this is as it should be; do not overmix, as this will result in flat muffins).  Use an ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup (80 ml.) measuring cup to fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full (these don’t rise very much when baking, so the height of the muffins when raw is what they’ll look like when baked as well).

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Makes 6 large muffins.  These freeze beautifully.

 [This recipe will also appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog.  For more information, check the "Cookbook" button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]

Other posts in this series:

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Comments

  1. Now that’s an interesting recipe Ricki. I like the addition of avocado – as a replacement for other oils. Nice one. I’m not a big fan of coconut . . . but love this basic idea. Think I’ll be giving it a go very soon.

  2. What a sweet post! I agree with you entirely on the definition of romance and what’s important (and my other half always picks lemon meringue pie which I make for him even though I don’t like it because I love him (awww)). I’m also intrigued that the avocado bakes up yellow – I wouldn’t have expected that at all.

  3. That was a lovely post Ricki and I will be passing some of it on to Graham to take heed of!
    Do not mention mozzies, they are having a right feast on me, here in Cyprus. I hate the little buggers!
    Lovely, lovely muffins :)

  4. that’s a sweet post about the HH!

    I got bitten every day on holiday in Philip Island last week which outraged me in the middle of winter. Not so romantic indeed – I much prefer to stick to food for a little romance.

    And I was a little disappointed to hear the mixture didn’t stay a day glo green – now that would be fun!

  5. Those muffins sound totally amazing and I’m really into the idea of using avocado instead of oil/fat. Very creative!

  6. I have never really thought to bake with avocadoes before — but I’ll have to try it out soon!

  7. awwwwww! i agree, what a sweet post! and these muffins looks stellar! dan looooooooooves coconut (and i looooove avocado) – i think i’ll be making these sometime soon for us. they sound so tasty! yay!

  8. Aww, lovely :0) And those muffins?? OH MY GOODNESS yum :0D

  9. Awww, so sweet! Those muffins sounds very romantic to me. My husband and I are similar to you and HH, it seems like it’s the little things that we find the most romantic…

  10. Anything with coconut is good enough for me!!

  11. Lovely tropical bits! I really like the idea of subbing avocado in for eggs. Really nice recipe.

    Some folks like roses and candy, along with heavy romance. I am very happy that my John isn’t conventional. The most romantic thing he did recently as to buy me my own Nuvi GPS when I went on a trip to Tennessee. My favorite thing about John is his uncanny ability to give the most practical gifts. :)

    Heck, I can grow my own flowers and make my own candy. ;D

  12. Courtney says:

    I finally found barley flour in bulk, so I am looking forward to trying your muffins! I have yet to use my barley flour…how exciting! Silly question, though, about how much avocado did you puree to get a 1/2 C of puree? I am not a huge avocado fan (I know, I know!) but I think this will be a good way to “sneak” it into my diet…do you think 1 small one will yield enough puree?

    Thanks!
    Courtney

  13. What a delightful story and I love the muffins – uhmmm…can I eat these or do I have to say “yeah, they look great but I’ll pass”. I suspect I’m going to end up feeling rather deprived.

  14. Just seeing those muffins makes me wish that I liked coconut!

  15. I very much enjoy muffins and coconut. I can’t keep up with all of your lovely recipes. I did not know that avocado could be substituted for egg. Interesting.

  16. What wonderful recipe- Wheat free, and delicious! Definitely one to put into my files. Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. Kathryn,
    You know, I’m not a huge fan of coconut, either, but I really don’t mind it in these muffins! I think the lemon is actually the most prominent flavor, but I found that the coconut somehow held them together better.

    Lysy,
    How very generous of you to bake something you don’t even like! Now, that’s true love, I’d say :) . And yes, it was a bit of a surprise to see how the avocado changed color when heated!

    Holler,
    Sorry to hear about your encounters with mozzies (love that word!). But I’m guessing the rest of it is compensation enough ;)

    Johanna,
    Sounds like we have the same skin type–if there are 12 people outside and one mosquito, I’ll be the one to get 12 bites when everyone else gets none! And sorry I couldn’t keep the avocado green for you–but you could just add a few drops of food color from the amazing green gourmet giraffe cake you made!

    Claudia,
    Thanks! The avocado seems to work pretty well that way. . . I’m still working on some other recipes. :)

    Catherine,
    It was a bit of a surprise to me, too, but it seems to work!

    Jessy,
    Glad these sound like the perfect ingredient combo for the two of you! Hope you like them if you do try them out. :)

    VeggieGirl,
    Thanks. . . No carob, but still pretty good ;)

    Vegan Noodle,
    Glad you liked the muffins. And hold on to that guy, I say. . .

    Romina,
    Glad to hear you’re a coconut fan! The HH would be very pleased, too :)

    Deb,
    Hadn’t thought about the flowers and candy that way, but how true!

    Courtney,
    I think you’d need a larger avocado. But I’d suggest pureeing what you have, and if the puree falls short of 1/2 cup, just top it up with soymilk (or maybe even applesauce), and it should still work out!

    Giz,
    You should never feel deprived! I think a “diet” should be something you could live on forever. . .at least, that’s what I’m hoping to do.

    Katy,
    Sorry you don’t like coconut! But if you like lemon, these may still be in the running ;)

    Lisa,
    I’m not sure the avocado-for-egg would work in every recipe, but for strong flavors like this one, it seems to work out beautifully.

    BitterSweet,
    Thanks so much! I hadn’t even thought about the fact that it’s wheat-free. . . good for those with sensitivities, even if it does have a bit of gluten.

  18. Those muffins look amazing! I adore all things coconut.

  19. wow, i never knew about the avocado as egg replacer, but it makes sense now that i think about it! i’ll have to try it out sometime (perhaps via these muffins!)

  20. I had recently read somewhere about using avos as a substitute and have been meaning to give it a try and these past few recipes have inspired me to do so!
    With the long weekend coming up I’ve already promised to make those lentil pistachio patties and I think I’ll make these coconut lemon muffins as a surprise..although I might switch the lime for the lemon..and not just so I can sing “put the lime in the coconut!”

  21. atxvegn,
    If you like coconut, these should be a hit! My HH loves it too, and these are one of his favorites.

    a-k,
    Give it a try! I bet you’ll come up with all kinds of cool and inventive recipes. . . !

    Brandy,
    I bet the lime would work really well, too (and give you an excuse to sing as well ;) ).

  22. Avocado? In a muffin?

    This I gotta try.

    You’re amazing, darls. Just amazing.

  23. Lucy,
    You don’t taste it, I promise. Just lemony coconutty sweet and moistness. :)

  24. Loved this post! And those muffins look so good. I had no idea you could use avocados as an egg substitute.

  25. wow these look amazing. and avocado?? really? i will give it a shot. could i sub applesauce though just in case??

  26. I don’t use sugar, honey, agave (no substitutes either except stevia) so wonder how I could sweeten this successfully. Do you think stevia would work? How much? They sure sound fantastic! Love your use of avacados – GO!

    • Barbra, I created this recipe before I started the anti-candida diet; I can’t have these any more, either (too much agave and can’t have barley flour). You could try coconut nectar if you’re allowed it; if not, I don’t think these would work with just stevia, as the texture would be altered too much. Sorry!

  27. These look so good! Do you think I can use something else in place of the barley flour?

    • Hi Tatiana,
      Thanks for your comment! When I created that recipe, I was still eating gluten, so I wouldn’t use the barley myself right now, either! I’d say you could use spelt if you can use it, or an all-purpose gluten-free flour. I haven’t tried these with other flours, though, so that’s just a guess. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I also incorporated a lot of unusual ingredients in my baking, like puréed spinach in brownies, avocado, chia seeds, or whole oranges. My more recent ebooks are all completely gluten free, as well as [...]

  2. [...] I also incorporated a lot of unusual ingredients in my baking, like puréed spinach in brownies, avocado, chia seeds, or whole oranges. My more recent ebooks are all completely gluten free, as well as [...]

  3. […] Tropical Lemon Coconut Muffins from Ricki Heller […]

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