At Fat Cats Cafe, we indulge in the good stuff. You will find no skimping of butter, cutting down of sugar, or reducing of chocolate (gasp). If you’re the type to count every calorie, its best you avert your gaze right about now. However, if you are willing to give in to your cravings in the best way possible and enjoy a cake or meal that really gets your taste buds singing, then you are assured of love served up on a plate at our cafe.
So, when I broached the topic a few weeks back of a healthy menu , my family balked. But I persisted. It was time to try my hand at food that was made with the least amount of processed ingredients and still tasted awesome. Simple dishes that embodied clean eating or at least eating that was “good for you.”
Here’s one of my first experiments into healthy snacking. It’s my version of muffins – but muffins chock full of the ‘real’ good stuff. Oatmeal – tick. Millet – tick. Flax seeds – tick. Dried figs – tick.
It may not look like much, but take my word for it – it’s nutty, it’s soft, it’s filling and it’s just the right amount of sweet. Perfect for a breakfast on the go, a mid morning pick me up or an evening snack to tide you over until dinner.
Step 1: Assemble Your Ingredients
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal (powdered flax seed)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced dried figs
1 cup fox millet**
1/3 cup boiling water
*You could reduce the sugar even further or just use 1/4 cup brown sugar and a squeeze or two of honey.
**If you don’t like the crunchy bite of millet, you could swap it for another cup of oatmeal but I would urge you to give it a go.
Step 2: Prep. Prep. And Prep Some More
The secret to baking is good prep. Read the recipe and then read it again. Measure out your ingredients. Place them all within arm’s reach. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees. Line your cupcake tin. And only then get started. I promise, it will make life much simpler.
Step 3: Mix the Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl lightly mix the oatmeal, whole wheat flour, flax seed meal, sugars, and baking soda.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
Step 4: Add the Wet Ingredients
Crack an egg into the well. Add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla. Whisk lightly. The trick to a good muffin is a light hand when mixing. Don’t over beat or you will end up with dense, rubbery muffins.
Throw in the dried figs, the fox millet and 1/3 cup of boiling water. Another desultory swirl of the whisk and you are done.
Step 5: Fill the Cupcake Liners
Spoon in the muffin mix unto 3/4th level of each liner. No need to fuss and measure, this recipe is very forgiving.
Step 6: Bake
Pop the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The muffins are done when a skewer or toothpick poked into the centres comes out clean. Baking times may vary according to your oven, so keep a beady eye on them but don’t remove them before they are done.
A good way to prevent your muffins from going soggy while they cool is to tilt them in the tray itself. This allows them to cool properly and yet not lose their crunch.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Serve warm or at room temperature. My kids love them with a smear of butter or a dab of jam but I can pop these babies as they are anytime anywhere 🙂