Wednesday, September 18, 2013

VeganMoFo 10: Jujube Cardamom Muffins

Have you ever had a fresh jujube?  I'm not talking about the movie theater candy. :)  Jujubes are also known as Chinese dates and can usually be found at Asian markets.  I was lucky enough to find some at the Twin Girls Farm stand during my weekly stroll through the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers' Market.  I had seen them there before, but had never bothered to try them (shameful, I know!).  Well, I'm glad I finally tried them.  They're crunchy and sweet and very addicting. They have a similar texture to apples or pears, but with the sweetness of dates.

Jujubes are wonderful when eaten as is, but I thought it would be cool to bake with them (surprise, surprise).  I didn't have enough to make a pie, so I went with muffins.  Cardamom baked goods are my new obsession and I figured jujubes plus cardamom would be delicious together.  Yum!

Makes 12 muffins

1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, minus 1 tablespoon (see instructions for why)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup evaporated cane juice (i.e., sugar)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh jujubes, pitted and chopped 
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Place the vinegar in a small liquid measuring cup.  Pour in the almond milk until it reaches the 3/4 cup mark.  Set aside. (This is vegan "buttermilk")
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, applesauce, and sugar. Add the "buttermilk" and stir until everything is well combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. (try not to over-mix)
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Top each muffin with a few pieces of the chopped jujubes.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let the muffin pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then remove the muffins from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool some more.

I was really happy with the outcome.  The muffins were super moist and not too sweet.  The jujubes retained their shape and a tiny bit of their crunch.  I debated whether or not to fold the chopped jujubes into the muffin batter, but I'm glad I used them as a topping instead.  It's like the muffins are screaming, "Welcome to fall!" :) 

If you can't find fresh jujubes, apples or pears would be awesome in this recipe too.  I brought the muffins to work and everyone was very intrigued by the jujubes (and of course by the FREE FOOD).  It's always exciting to try new produce and to share that excitement with others.  From now on, when I see something new at the farmers' market, I'll be all over it!