Flax is really interesting. There were a lot of things I could have researched this week having to do with these muffins, but I knew the least about flax so I decided to go for it. It seemed like kind of a health food fad lately – which is true considering 300 new flax products have entered the market since 2010.
But I mostly know flax as an egg replacer. Most of you vegans out there will know this, but you can substitute a flax paste for eggs in almost any baking recipe, unless, of course it’s something egg-based like a souffle… A flax seed “souffle” might not be the most delicious. I’ve used this substitute two or three times in cookies and brownies mostly, and it works out alright:
1 egg = 1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 2-3 Tbsp water. Just boil the water and the flax together until it’s a thick egg-like consistency and allow it to cool before adding to your recipe.
But in doing research this week I found way too much information on flax. It’s one of those “super foods” that everyone from the Mayo Clinic to Cosmopolitan magazine likes to talk about. Obviously I’ll believe Mayo over Cosmo, but just the amount of information about flax was overwhelming. My combined sources claimed these facts about flax:
- Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes
- Has Omega-3 essential fatty acids
- Has antioxidant qualities
- Has fiber
- Has a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer
- May help with cholesterol levels
- Reduces inflammation
- May help with hot flashes
- You can replace 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour with ground flaxseed if a recipe calls for 2 or more cups of flour
- The suggested serving is 1-2 Tbsp of flax seed per day
So if all those facts are true, flax is pretty great. And while I am skeptical, like I am with any health fad, it seems like most people are in agreement that flax is a good thing to consume for one reason or another. People believed in the benefits of flax even way back when. In the 8th century in Babylon, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flax that he passed laws requiring his court to consume it. I guess he knew what he was talking about.
Martha Stewart and I collaborated on the recipe – or I guess I should say that I just made some changes to Martha’s recipe, but collaboration with Martha might be a dream of mine. I typically like my muffins to be a little more complicated, and these certainly have a lot going on, so thanks Martha. Plus they have a whole half cup of flax so you can get in your daily recommended dose.
Zunana Flax Muffins
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed (I had whole seeds and ground them in my coffee grinder)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup grated zucchini (1 small zucchini)
2/3 cup mashed ripe banana (2 large bananas)
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate chips (optional)
Streusel topping (optional)
Stir together the mashed banana and grated zucchini, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add the milk, egg and vanilla, stir thoroughly to combine.
Add the flour, flax, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Then the chocolate chips.
Spray your muffin tin and fill each well 3/4 of the way (these muffins don’t rise like crazy, so don’t be scared to fill ’em up!)
Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before taking them out.
Eat them while saying the word “zunana” to your kittens over and over and watch how confused they get.
Side note: Peter wanted me to call these Bacchini (like Bikini) muffins, but I refused. Opinions?