Thursday, December 3, 2009
Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins
When I graduated from university in 1998, I had plans. Big, fat, dumb plans. My plans consisted of the following:
1. Get menial job at random hip establishment.
2. Make just enough money for rent, food, and record albums.
3. Write a book and get it published.
5. Repeat 1-3 indefinitely.
I'm happy (?) to tell you, dear reader, that I followed through on almost every one of those plans. I got a job at a health food store that afforded me precisely enough money for rent, food, and records. I wrote a book and got it published.
But when it was time to do the "Repeat" part of the plan, I was pretty much done with the whole menial job thing. I decided to go back to school to get my Early Childhood Education diploma. I figured that since I didn't seem to be on my way to Professional Novelist Land, I might as well have a day job that didn't involve selling organic chickpeas to yuppies and germ freaks. Unfortunately, to get that diploma meant spending two years at my local community college. Which was kind of like going back to high school. Which sucked.
Everyday, as I set off for the fluorescent lit hallways of Algonquin College, I would pack a gigantic amount of food in my bag. Bags of almonds and apricots, granola bars, thermoses of soup or tea, rice noodles with tofu, and more. I needed a lot of food to get me through the day, and healthy, vegetarian options on campus were scarce. Every once in a while, though, I would miscalculate or get lazy and end up not having enough food to sustain me. And I would panic. And buy a muffin.
The campus cafes were sponsored by the Tim Hortons donut chain, and so the muffins they sold were of the gigantic, sugar-filled variety. Basically, cupcakes without the icing. Totally bad for me and certainly not vegan. Delicious, though. Freakin' delicious. I considered them a treat that would make me feel better about my stressed out existence, much like the hours I wasted watching "Trading Spaces" on the couch with my dog.
So, once again I have drawn you in with my nonsensical tales and I will reward you with this recipe. These are the chocolate chip muffins that I made this week to eat during stressful moments during my packed work days. They make a nice mid morning snack with a cup of tea and because they are sweetened with agave, they don't give me crazy blood sugar crashes after I eat them. The only sugar in these babies comes from the chocolate chips, and you could do away with that too by making them with blueberries (like the little ones on the left in the photo). But I liked the chocolate chip ones better so that's the recipe you get. And you will like it! Because I say so.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cook oats (none of that instant garbage!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup soy or almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave nectar
3 tbsp oil
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a regular sized (12 muffins) muffin tin.
In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Measure out the milk and then "sour" it by adding the vanilla extract and letting it sit for a minute.
Add agave nectar and oil.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir only long enough to combine.
Add chocolate chips and stir only until they are spread evenly through the batter.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops of muffins are beginning to brown.
Makes one dozen non-gigantic muffins.
-These muffins do not get all puffy and soft like the Tim Hortons muffins, but they are not university-women's-studies-potluck dense either. They sit happily in the middle of the two extremes.
-I used small chocolate chips in mine because this gives you more widely distributed chocolate. Yum.
-When I was in grade three I was in a class with a boy named Tim Horton. He sat beside me and every day at lunch he would open his thermos really slowly saying, "Is it milk? Is it milk? Is it milk?" in this very agitated way. When he saw that it was, in fact, milk, he would heave an exaggerated sigh and say, "It's milk." Many years later, when I was fifteen, his family came to a Christmas party my parents had. I was very socially awkward and was just learning how to dress like a weirdo. Despite my black clothes, hanging down suspenders, and mounds of eyeliner, Tim Horton told me that I was pretty and it made me happy for an entire week after the party. Thank you, milk-loving Tim Horton, for increasing my chronically low teenage self confidence.