Two key ingredients in these muffins have interesting health properties: maple syrup and coconut flour.
More than 20 compounds in maple syrup are linked to human health, including several newly identified antioxidant compounds that are reported to have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties according to recent work by Navindra Seeram, an assistant professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Seeram’s research focus is to educate people about the benefits of foods made from plants and berries.
“We know that plants must have strong antioxidant mechanisms because they are in the sun throughout their lives,” Seeram said, in a statement from URI. “We already know that berries, because of their bright colors, are high in antioxidants. Now we are looking at maple syrup, which comes from the sap located just inside the bark, which is constantly exposed to the sun.”
And although the poor coconut has been much maligned following a concerted campaign by the American Soybean Association in the 1970s that successfully got coconut replaced with what we now know are hormone-disrupting soy products, coconut can actually help you lose unwanted pounds, adds fiber to your diet, and has a rather long list of health benefits (see here). Unlike soy and corn oil, coconut does not interfere with thyroid function, it supports the body’s innate ability to destroy bacteria, viruses and yeast, reduces risk of atherosclerosis and related illnesses, reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions, supports immune system function, helps prevent osteoporosis, helps control diabetes, promotes weight loss, supports healthy metabolic function, helps keep skin soft and smooth, helps prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, helps protect against skin cancer and other blemishes, and is heat resistant making it one of the healthiest oils for cooking.
Enjoy this light, tasteful, and easy recipe. Send them to school with your children.
½ Cup butter (softened—or to make this completely dairy free use coconut oil, melted)
½ Cup coconut milk
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs lemon zest (finely grated lemon rind)
½ tsp salt
¾ Cup sifted coconut flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand, available at most stores here in Anchorage)
1 tsp baking powder
1 Cup dried, unsweetend berries (cherries and blueberries are amazing! Check the labels: unfortunately most dried berries are soaked in cane sugar, so create an immediate inflammatory response and insulin spike. Ask your grocer to stock unsweetened dried berries. Fresh berries work well also, frozen berries may add more liquid or take longer to bake, so adjust your baking time)
½ Cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1. Blend together eggs, butter, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
2. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and whisk thoroughly into batter until there are no lumps.
3. Fold in dried cranberries and nuts.
4. Pour into greased or paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is evenly golden brown.
5. Remove from pan and cool on rack.