Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spiced Cherry Coconut Super Muffins

Spoiler: There's a reason why these Spiced Cherry Coconut Super Muffins are called super: they taste delicious and are completely butter-less, sugar-less, egg-less, oil-less, and flour-less.

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Baked goods are like outfits: if you have enough base material to work with, pulling a decent outfit out of the closet after rolling out of bed or whipping up a batch of brownies on a whim is almost no effort at all; everything you need is right there. When I was twelve and it became evident that baking was not just a pastime anymore, my mom cleared a whole cupboard in the kitchen for all my baking supplies. No longer did I have to grab a cup of sugar from here and a dash of salt from there; all my flours, sugars, spices, powders, dried fruits, chocolate and the like were located together in one cupboard. 

Several weeks ago, I realized just how cluttered my baking cupboard was. I had decided to make a Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake for my best friend Jennifer’s birthday lunch at a Teppanyaki restaurant. As I stuck my arm deeper and deeper into the depths of my baking cupboard, vainly trying to feel my way to the graham cracker crumbs (which I knew, I knew, were somewhere in there), I pulled out bags and bags of other supplies. That cornmeal my mom bought ages ago for those Honey Cornmeal Muffins, the oat bran I forgot to add to the 100%Whole Wheat Rolls, the dried tomatoes leftover from the Thyme Sundried Tomato Pumpkin Seed Pesto—only the beginning of a very long list of items gathering dust (figuratively, anyways) in my cupboard.

I immediately took an inventory of all the goods in my cupboard which weren’t basic baking materials. Dried fruit, grains, oatmeal, seeds, nuts—I couldn’t believe how much stuff I’d been harboring unknowingly. As I stared at the list, I decided to bake muffins to use up all the ingredients. Healthy muffins, I decided definitively, after noticing that basically everything on the list was wholesome and good-for-you.

And so began the journey to develop a Spiced Cherry Coconut Super Muffins, a muffin so healthy that even I would eat it for breakfast. Ignoring my homework, I sat down and wrote down a simple muffin recipe. Instead of using butter, eggs, sugar, or oil, I used cashew coconut butter, apple butter, applesauce, mashed bananas, and yogurt. In place of empty caloric white flour, I substituted cornmeal, oatmeal, oat bran, and flax seed.

The next day, I made a small batch of test muffins using the recipe I’d written. The muffins were unbelievably delicious and even more so the next day, after all the flavors had a chance to mellow out and marry. I was surprised that the muffins had turned out so moist and flavorful the first time I made them. I had planned on trying different combinations of ingredients, but the success of the first batch convinced me otherwise. After all, why ruin a good thing? 

* Jes from Pencil Kitchen nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award, which recognizes new-ish blogs with less than 200 followers. Jes's blog is amazing; if you need convincing, check out this really epic pink ombre layer cake she made for her friend's birthday. Thank you for the nomination; it really made my day. 

After accepting,
  • thank the Liebster Blog Award Presenter on your blog (and link back),
  • copy and paste the award on your blog,
  • spread the love and nominate 5 other blogs,
  • and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

Sabine, of Simply Baking. I look at her blog and then marvel at the fact that she's fifteen. I mean, I didn't even start until I was sixteen. Foodies are just getting younger and younger these days, huh?

Dulcie and Sarah, of Two Tarts. I can't wait til I'm nineteen so I can (legally) make and drink all this and this.

Kale, of Tastes Good To Me. The layout of her blog is so amazing.  

Marialuisa, of Decocinasytacones. Try her easy chocolate cake. It's. So. Good.

Stephanie, of greenthyme. All her recipes are so wholesome and showcase in season vegetables.

Click below for the recipe.

Spiced Cherry Coconut Super Muffins

Yield: about 36 mini muffins

Dry Ingredients:
  • ½ cup cornmeal, finely ground
  • 6 tablespoons oatmeal, finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons oat bran, finely ground  
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons cashew coconut butter
  • ¼ cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup mashed banana (about ½ a medium banana)
  • ¼ cup low or non-fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, plus more for topping
  • ½ cup dried cherries, chopped
Note, all wet ingredients should be at or close to room temperature.


Preheat the oven to 375F. Line two mini muffin trays with 36 liners. In a medium bowl, sift all dry ingredients together except the zest; add the zest and whisk to combine. In a large bowl, mix all wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredient and stir until almost all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the shredded coconut and dried cherries and stir until combined. Using a measuring spoon, scoop leveled tablespoons of batter into lined muffin cups. Top with a sprinkle of shredded coconut. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.


  1. Super muffin! Yes, please! They look delicious.

  2. I'm curious - what's apple butter? It's not something I ever heard of. My wife often makes muffins with apple sauce and yoghurt too - they're great. It's a fabulous replacement for unhealthy fat and so forth and you can hardly notice the difference! Nice one Kyleen :)

  3. I agree, applesauce and yogurt help turn muffins into something you can actually eat for breakfast without feeling guilty. (McDonald's blueberry muffins? I wonder how much fat/empty calories are in that.) Apple butter is basically a really thick, really sweet apple spread. It's like applesauce, but it has been boiled down until it is super concentrated. It's great on bread or in yogurt.

  4. I love that you came up with this out of all the ingredients in your cupboard. They look delicious.

  5. KYLEEN!!! I´m so thrilled you put the name of my blog on your list!!!. It´s the first time my blog appears somewhere else but my blog. THANKS!!!, I´m going to browse through the other blogs too and put the logo on my blog, but I can´t find it.
    THANKS AGAIN!. A big kiss from Spain.

  6. You know, now you mention it, I think my wife has made apple butter before... it rings a bell definitely. I think she made it in our slow cooker... was really yummy :)

  7. I love that you made a muffin that isn't breakfast flavored cake. I think I have most of these ingredients at home and I love breakfasts I can eat while driving to school.

  8. Thanks so much Kyleen for the nomination! That's very sweet of you :) And these muffins really do look super. I'm obviously loving the healthy ingredients in these guys. Apple sauce and apple butter is a great idea. I bet it lends sweetness and moisture. Will bookmark this one!

  9. I really need to do a baking shelf clean-out like this! I hope the muffins I make turn out as fabulous as yours. Maybe I'll just purchase all of these ingredients just so that I can "clean them out". That sounds like a plan.

    Congrats on your award!

  10. Kyleen, I cannot believe you are a teenager and baking like this already. Wow, I am totally impressed. And I want to know more about this coconut cashew butter. I know coconut butter and I happen to be noshing on cashew butter right now - but a combo sounds amazing!

  11. Thanks so much for the shout out!

  12. i love how you made a healthy muffin! this is a gluten free vegan muffin too (granted that you use GF oats), i'm going to bookmark this!!

  13. Haha, I am the exact same way! I have a ton of mostly full ingredients in my cabinets, and I always try to find good uses for them all. These muffins sound and look amazing, too!


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