Driving around Santa Fe and Taos last week we saw several roadside tents selling piñons. Being the curious foodie that I am, we had to stop and check it out. Piñons are pine nuts that come from a slow growing pine that is the state tree of New Mexico. And the bag we bought just outside of Taos contained the best pine nuts I’d ever had. They were so fresh and buttery. Oh my.
I’m happy as a clam just snacking on these babies, but I thought I’d use them in a recipe. I had made blue corn pancakes over the weekend and thought I’d try making vegan muffins. The first batch I made were, well, terrible. Really heavy and not very tasty. The recipe that I’m sharing with you is adapted from Vegetarian Times and it’s so good. I made a little jam to go with it, but you could use any jam from the farmers market or your local store.
I bought blue cornmeal at a kitchen shop in Taos and used it in the first batch of the disappointing muffins. Knowing that I wanted to try again, I wondered where I could get more blue corn meal. Guess what? My local grocery store (HEB) carries Bob’s Red Mill blue cornmeal. Who knew? I have never noticed it before. Hopefully, your store carries it too. Blue cornmeal is fun because of its great color, the flavor is a little more mild than yellow cornmeal and the texture is different too.
To veganize this recipe, I made two substitutions. For buttermilk, I mixed coconut milk with a little apple cider vinegar. Works great. For eggs, I whisk ground flax and water together until it becomes, well, egg-like. It’s actually kind of cool. A little secret vegan trick.
To make the jam, I cooked fresh raspberries with diced green apple to help thicken it without pectin. I pureed this with a stick blender. Added some maple syrup and chia seeds. My batch wasn’t as sweet as store bought jam. You could add sugar or agave if you want it sweeter. The muffins are great to have with a bowl of chili for dinner or a yummy breakfast treat. Think it would be really good with mexican drinking chocolate…an upcoming post for sure.
Blue Corn Piñon Muffins
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Makes 1 dozen
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup blue cornmeal
1/2 cup piñon nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp ground flax
6 Tbsp filtered water
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400F. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup and let sit while preparing remaining ingredients.
Whisk together ground flax and water until the mixture starts to coagulate. The texture will be similar to egg whites.
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl and stir well. Set aside. Whisk together coconut milk mixture, flax mixture, sugar and oil.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until mixture is just about blended. Add piñon nuts until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and caps are high and rounded.
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam
Makes two jars
9 oz or three packages fresh raspberries
1 green apple, peeled, cored and diced
2-4 Tbsp pure maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
2 Tbsp chia seeds
Combine raspberries and diced apple in sauce pan set over medium heat. Cook about 20-30 minutes until apple softens and raspberries break down. Take off heat. Puree in blender, food processor or using stick blender until diced apple disappears. Add maple syrup to taste and chia seeds. Transfer to clean jam jars and refrigerate.