Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sweep-the-Kitchen Quinoa Muffins

For the last few months I've tried to make a habit of baking a batch of muffins on Sunday afternoon - it makes for an easy breakfast and/or snack for the toddler, and a dozen generally lasts for about a week on the counter.

Generally I use this ancient bran muffin recipe of my mother's that makes enough batter for about three dozen muffins, and said batter is theoretically safe to keep in the fridge for up to a month. This has worked well and I will post my adapted recipe at some point for these plain old bran muffins.

This week, however, I was inspired to try something new. I wanted to make something that I could use for my own breakfast, so I needed something more protein-heavy than the normal muffin. And my last round of whole-wheat muffins were very brick-like after being left out overnight, so I wanted something moist.

A friend had delivered some super-healthy and delicious quinoa muffins to our house once upon a time, so I went searching online for a recipe, as I had some overly-soggy quinoa in the fridge from a failed dinner earlier in the week:.


In my search, I ended up at Enlightened Cooking and that is what I based my recipe on. However, I also found the original Martha Stewart recipe (not hard, as it is the top result in a google search for "quinoa muffins." The second link in that same page of results is for another blog that uses the Martha recipe EXACTLY but doesn't give credit! SHAME! Does she think that by suggesting people add chopped fruit and nuts she's creating original content? I don't think so, and neither does Dianne Jacob, from what I can tell. Especially since the hillbilly in question didn't even say "inspired by" Martha. As if there is anyone out there who bakes or cooks who ISN'T inspired by Martha!


So I have the base of my muffin now, and it's time to go hunting up some add-ins for them. Turns out the only dried fruit I have on hand is prunes (for Chicken Marbella, when I am feeling indulgent) and dates.

I wanted a savory muffin if possible, as the quinoa was cooked with chicken stock originally, so I thought about the dates. Should I add nuts? Here comes the inspiration part: BACON. I LOVE LOVE LOVE dates wrapped in bacon. In fact, I have a very clear sense memory of the first time I had bacon-wrapped dates, at a holiday party in a Capitol Hill rowhouse my first Christmas in Washington, DC (that would be 2001). And I actually had bacon on hand, so there you go. These would be bacon and date quinoa muffins.

It was pretty simple, really:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (this actually turned out to be about 2/3 cup with the remainder all-purpose, as I was at the end of my whole wheat flour)
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 c chopped dates
1/2 lb bacon, fried and chopped
3/4 c buttermilk
1/3 c honey
1/4 c oil
1 egg

I did my bowl of dry ingredients, then added the mushy quinoa to it and mixed as well as I could, then added the dates and bacon and mixed those in gently. I put my wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, then poured that into the big bowl and gently folded it all together.

Bake at 350 for 25 min (15 for the mini-muffin size).

RESULTS: Not bad! I was going for savory (hence the bacon, reducing the honey and omitting the vanilla from the original recipes) and I knew the quinoa was already mushy so I upped the leavening in hopes they wouldn't be solid bricks.

They were pretty dense, though I thought the dates and bacon were a bit sparse for my taste. When I make these again the quinoa will likely not be so heavy, but I will double (or close) the add-ins so they will still be a substantial muffin. I would also probably add a little nutmeg next time. I think it goes well with savory/bacon stuff, and these needed a bit more complexity. That said, I think the tang of the buttermilk helped them avoid too much blandness. I might also switch out some honey for molasses to up the date flavor.

The toddler liked them a lot, as did I. I think these are definitely substantial enough for a workday breakfast for me (which might help me avoid my way too regular fast food breakfast detour).


  1. I remember those very bacon-wrapped dates!

    And you have one heckuva adorable toddler.

  2. yummy! (I'm so sad that I have allergy for eggs :/ :D)