I really, really want to call these Honey Almond Cakes because they smell SO good and the crumb is so delicate and lovely, but I’m scared if I call them cakes you won’t let your kids eat them for breakfast, and these are definitely something that should be eaten for breakfast, and snack, and yes, dessert too.
This recipe was inspired by The Yankee Kitchen Ninja, she posted this recipe to facebook and it made the yum centers of my brain go all tingly. It took me a month before I had the time and space in my kitchen to make them. (The holidays filled my house with sweets and I just couldn’t bring any more into the world.)
This morning I woke up with a serious muffin craving and remembered that I had shared the Honey Almond Loaves recipe to my Kitchen Bravada facebook page to remind myself to make them. Today was clearly the day.
I skimmed the recipe, made some mental changes and dove in.
The biggest change I made was for flavor purposes. Normally I’m all about the spices, but for some reason when I read the Ninja’s recipe and saw the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg I thought, “Yeah, those go great with honey, but they’ll drown out the almond,” and I was really excited about the almond.
I eliminated the spices, punched up the almond and added some poppy seeds for crunch (and because I like the almond-poppy combination).
Here’s my version – (Note, this recipe includes some ingredients that not everyone has laying around, so I recommend skimming the list and making sure you have everything ready before you get out the mixing bowls!)
This recipe made 24 standard size muffins. In the time it took me to proof read this post, I ate three of them…
What You Need:
2 cups all purpose flour (Normally I’d mix in a little whole wheat flour, but because this recipe includes almond flour which adds protein, vitamins and minerals to the mix I didn’t need to!)
3/4 cups almond flour (also sold as almond meal – You can find this in the specialty flours section of your grocery store, in the baking aisle. Bob’s Red Mill produces it, as does the King Sooper’s Simple Truth brand.)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I prefer Rumford’s aluminum free baking powder)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (optional – but YUMMY!)
1 1/2 cups honey (If you can get local, raw, unfiltered honey – use that, if you can’t buy local at least get the raw, unfiltered honey otherwise you are really just buying liquid sugar without the health benefits of honey.)
6 oz. plain yogurt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
1/3 cup coconut oil – melted (The coconut oil enhances the almond flavor as well as adding some nutritional punch.) (Note – you’ll find coconut oil in the oils section of your store, it is naturally solid at room temperature, don’t let that fool you into thinking it is unhealthy/trans fatty – it is not. Coconut oil is GREAT. If you’re going to buy it, try to get virgin pressed, unfiltered/unprocessed to get the full benefit.)
1 Tablespoon almond extract
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Melt the butter & coconut oil, set aside to cool slightly until ready to use.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Dry ingredients with poppy seeds on top!
In another bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy.
That’s a lot of honey!
Add the honey, yogurt, butter, coconut oil & almond extract, mix until well combined. It will be VERY liquidy.
Gradually add the flour mixture and stir/beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter into prepared muffin tins (Butter & flour them or use liners)
All ready for the oven!
Sprinkle some slivered almonds over the top and bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes until the edges are slightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note: Test them in the oven. I pulled mine out too early and the lovely, perfect peaks collapsed. They still taste delicious, but they don’t look as perfect anymore.)
Fallen little muffins.
Allow to cool completely & devour your share before your family comes home and eats them all!!
If you want to make these as a quick bread, you’ll need to increase the baking time to about 35-40 minutes.
And now, a little bonus –
As I was making these I was thinking about the fact that despite (and partially because) of the insane amount of honey in them, these actually have some real health benefits baked right in and I wanted to share what I knew.
Honey – Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know about the health benefits of honey? Raw, unfiltered honey has natural anti-biotic properties and has been used in many cultures throughout time in caring for wounds. It is a natural and superior cough suppressant, clinical studies have shown that a spoonful of honey is more effective than the over-the-counter cough suppressants available to us. There are also credible claims that local, raw honey can help people with allergies re-train their auto-immune response and decrease the severity of their allergic reactions.
Note – They say never to give honey to a child under the age of 1 because of the risk of botulism.
Almonds – Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts out there. Almonds are high in protein and healthy fats, YES there are healthy fats out there and the fats in almonds have been linked to better heart health. They are also high in vitamin E, which helps circulation and is also good for your skin. Almonds are rich in magnesium, another heart calming mineral. (Also, if you suffer from “Charlie Horses” or severe muscle cramps, there is a good chance you are suffering from magnesium deficiency. Eat some almonds. Lots of almonds.) Almonds are also high in Folate (The B-vitamin linked to lower levels of heart disease, and also one of the big ones that pregnant people are told to bulk up on for healthy fetal development.) Last, almonds are high in fiber, which good for cleaning up cholesterol.
All of those heart healthy benefits of almonds also make them really good at helping to control high blood pressure!
BUT WAIT, we’re not done with the health benefits of almonds yet, because it turns out that people who eat a handful or two of almonds every day also have an easier time maintaining their healthy weight. (Note, I said their healthy weight, because everyone has their own healthy weight. Health comes in all sizes and shapes and most bodies will tend to gravitate toward their healthy weight if given the chance.) Snacking on almonds was shown to help ease cravings for unhealthy foods, helping people who wanted to lose weight do so, they are also calorie dense helping people who wanted to gain weight do so in a healthy way. (As opposed to the Homer Simpson method.)
Coconut Oil – Coconut is another high calorie, high fat food – but it’s another HEALTHY high calorie, high fat food. The fats in coconut meat, and coconut oil are of a type that are metabolized in your liver, rather than going through your bloodstream to turn into fat cells in your body for later use. The metabolizing process gives you a boost of energy, and also helps your body use other stored fat cells.
Coconut milk and oil both contain natural anti-biotic properties. They are not general antibiotics though, they actually target bad bacteria while leaving important bacteria alone. Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to be helpful to people suffering from Crohn’s disease. Last coconut has anti-fungal properties and can help people with chronic yeast infections to combat them.
Poppy Seeds – Poppy seeds have many of the same health benefits of almonds and coconut. They are high in fiber, healthy fats and all the B vitamins. Poppy seeds are also rich in essential minerals like iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese – many Americans are mineral deficient, poppy seeds can help. They also contain trace amounts of opium alkaloids – not to a level that would get you high or hurt you, but enough to help your body to sooth nervous irritability.
Plain Yogurt – Good quality plain yogurt is filled with helpful bacteria that are essential for the healthy operation of our bodies. Eat lots of good yogurt!
If you stuck with the original Kitchen Ninja recipe and used her spices, they pack a lot of awesome too –
Cinnamon – This wonderful spice can help balance your blood-sugar levels and has been shown to be helpful to people managing diabetes. It has also been shown to lower the risk factors of developing diabetes! Along with this, it can help with preventing spikes in blood sugar and energy after a meal, evening out those highs and crashes that some of us experience.
Cinnamon is another spice with natural anti-biotic and anti-fungal properties and has been shown to aid in food preservation.
There are preliminary studies showing that cinnamon may help people fight cancer, recover after a stroke and other brain injuries and it can also speed the healing process on wounds. (Though it is spicy, so… OUCH!)
Clove – If you’ve ever bitten into a clove, you know how powerful this spice is. It has a natural compound in it that numbs your mouth, or any other mucus membrane it touches. As such it can be used to sooth oral pain and is as effective as benzocaine. It also improves circulation and is an anti-inflammatory and natural antibiotic making it a near essential natural first aid remedy for wounds. Clove is a formidable remedy for many oral diseases such as tooth pain and gum disease.
Once it gets to your stomach, clove has been shown to be effective in fighting Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers and which are linked to stomach cancer! It has been shown to be helpful to people managing herpes and Hepatitis C. Clove helps break down blood clots and have been shown to be more effective than aspirin for this purpose. Clove is also showing promise in stopping cancer cells from multiplying.
If all of that doesn’t make you want to put cloves in everything you make – mosquitos HATE it!
Nutmeg – Nutmeg has been shown to improve memory, combat depression, decrease anxiety and increase sex drive! Sounds like my kind of winter mood boost!!
So, now that you know how truly good for you these sweet muffins are – go forth and bake some! Enjoy, from me and today’s Muse, The Yankee Kitchen Ninja (Who you should totally be following.)