Applesauce Muffins with Currants and Goji Berries (gluten free, vegan)


I have a history of letting applesauce go bad.  I open a jar, use a little for something, then tuck it in the back of the fridge.  Then it sits. I intend to use it for something else, but I don't, and then it sits some more.  Then it goes moldy.  And then I get crabby, because my expensive jar of organic, unsweetened applesauce is no longer good to eat. When this happens, I try to convince myself of something positive as I begrudgingly dump applesauce into my compost bucket.  "At least it molds," I think to myself, "because that means it really is free of preservatives, right?"

I'm always looking for the silver lining.
Anyhow, I decided I was not going to let that pattern repeat itself this time.  As I was cleaning out my fridge last night, I found the proverbial jar of applesauce tucked in a back corner.  I knew something had to be done.  I had to use that applesauce, there was no choice.  Now.  Either bake with it immediately, or freeze it in little cubes for later.     

Since it was a cool night in Minneapolis, and my apartment no longer felt like a steam room, it seemed like a good night to bake something.  And when I decide I want to bake something, I usually settle on a muffin.  I love muffins.  They provide endless opportunity for creativity,  don't need to be sliceable, and are complete and whole unto themselves.  A muffin isn't a slice, or a wedge, or a part.  It is a whole being, satisfying all on its own.  I kind of think of a muffin like my own little personal-sized cake.

I decided to use a recipe from Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo's Eat Right For Your Type as inspiration.   His recipe is for a currant-studded, applesauce-laden quinoa flour cake, and for years it has caught my attention. But sadly, it uses eggs ( I'm allergic), sugar (avoiding), nuts (also allergic), and cloves (yet again, allergic).  I adapted it to be a blend of quinoa and teff flours, threw some goji berries in the mix, changed some proportions to fit with the amount of applesauce I had left over, and adapted it to be egg, nut, sugar, and clove free. Then I made the batter into muffins instead of a cake, filling those muffin cups right up to the brim.  

Thirty-five minutes later, my kitchen was graced with eight plump, moist, and lovely muffins.  They have a wonderful texture and a slightly sweet, rich, spicy flavor - the blend of quinoa and teff is delicious, and is highlighted by the sweet pop of currants and goji berries.  I generally like the way that teff flour and quinoa flour perform, but had never used them together before, and love it!  The texture really blows me away - they remind me of "real" muffins! They didn't crumble into bits on contact or turn to sawdust in my mouth, nor did they bake into some weird, über-moist, dense blob.  Hey, if you've ever baked gluten free, you (like me) are probably intimately familiar with failed baked goods of both those descriptions, right?  Yeah, that's no good.  But these muffins have a definite crumb, and a hearty, yet  light, texture.  Even after sitting all night, the muffin remained steadfast, and was still and lovely today.  I bet these will freeze very well! 

From a nutritional standpoint, these muffins also have a lot to offer.  Quinoa and teff are both high protein, high fiber flours with a low glycemic index, and loads of amino acids.  Chia seeds add an extra punch of fiber, and the goji berries and applesauce pack a wallop of vitamin C with every sweet bite!  In terms of sugar content, I used only 1 tablespoon of agave nectar in the whole batch, relying on the natural sweetness of applesauce.  And by using a high quality, healthy fat - like olive oil, coconut oil, or organic ghee or butter (for dairy-eaters, that is) - you are providing your body with fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and naturally anti-microbial compounds.   Easy to make and lovely to eat, these muffins are the best way to use up old applesauce I've come up with yet.  Enjoy!


adapted from Quinoa Applesauce Cake recipe from Eat Right For Your Type, by Dr. Peter J.D'Adamo

yield: 8 regular-sized muffins
3/4 c teff flour
3/4 c quinoa flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c unsweetened organic applesauce
1 T agave nectar
1 T chia seeds + 3 T water (mix and let sit for 10-15 minutes)
1/3 c olive oil, melted coconut oil, melted ghee/butter, or blend (I used a blend of olive oil and butter, yum)
2 T currants
1/4 c goji berries
  1. Preheat oven to 350*, and prepare muffin tin.
  2. Stir together chia seeds and water in a small bowl, and let sit for 10-15 minutes, stirring a few times.  It will become a thick, gel-like goo.
  3. Sift together flours in a medium bowl.  Add baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt, and whisk briskly until well combined.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, oil/melted ghee/butter, agave, and chia goo, and stir until well mixed.  Set aside.
  5. Lightly coat currants and goji berries with a little flour (this will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your muffins).
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring gently and quickly until evenly moistened.  Then gently fold in berries, and stir only until evenly mixed.  Batter will be thick.
  7. Spoon immediately into muffin tins, filling all the way to the top for big, plump muffins!  Bake at 350* for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in largest muffin comes out clean.
  8. Cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Store in refrigerator, or wrap tightly and freeze for longer storage.