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Today’s creation was brought to you by my leftover dinner! What to do with all this rice (1st or 3rd world problems?)…
Last week’s snack happened to be a rice cake, but I’m not going out of my way to make my own. Who wants to go through the tedious process of cooking, frying, draining, and baking rice? Jeez, I’m sweating just thinking about it.
At first I took rice cake literally, as in a cake batter with rice mixed in…mmm doesn’t sound too appetizing. So I thought of the next best cake-like thing–the muffin. A fluffy, carb-olicious excuse for a breakfast. But mix it with rice and we’ve got something close to an actual meal!
Into the Tesst Kitchen I went, with trials, errors, and successes.
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CHOCOLATE COCONUT RICE MUFFINS
Pros: First bite was weird because I was expecting it to be sweet. Guess I didn’t add enough maple syrup. After a pad of salted butter I enjoyed it! I even got the seal of approval from my sweet-toothed little sis. I may have to develop a savory chocolate muffin recipe in the future…maybe add some chilis and cinnamon. Oh baby, stay tuned.
Cons: The coconut flakes I used were unsweetened and therefore didn’t give off a trace of coconut flavor. I wonder if coconut extract is what actually makes things taste like coconut…Anyway, another fail was that it didn’t rise very much. I added baking powder to the mix and didn’t think I’d need baking soda…well well to my surprise they didn’t have that poofed dome we all associate with muffins.
RICE PUDDING MUFFINS
Pros: Better…much better but still not that great. I added more sweetener (honey this time). The raisins added an additional pop of sweetness, and the cinnamon and nutmeg made it taste just like rice pudding. And just as I thought, the added baking soda worked!
Cons: I think I need to use a different type of rice. You can’t really taste or see the white basmati rice. I’m thinking I need to use something nuttier, like brown rice. I also want to stay on the savory track. I’ve made enough sweet recipes these past few weeks.
PUMPKIN RICE MUFFINS
Winner winner chicken dinner (with wild rice)!
Fix #1: Switching to wild rice was THE move. My whole apartment smelled nutty while it was boiling away on my stove. Plus I could see the rice better. If I used AP flour instead of whole wheat it would’ve stood out even more! The muffins remind me of healthy wheat bread, you know, with the hard bits of grain? Maybe next time I’ll cook the rice al dente…
Fix #2: Whole wheat flour gave it a heartier texture that went well with the rice, but plain white flour would make it light and fluffy if that’s what you’re into. The yogurt made it super moist and wonderful and I totally ate more than one.
Fix #3: The pumpkin didn’t come through 😦 I think it’s because the purée I made came from a non-pie pumpkin so it wasn’t as flavorful. OR it’s cuz I refrained myself from using pumpkin spice seasoning. That probably would have given it the flavor I was looking for. Next time I would even switch the pumpkin with apple sauce or grate apple.
Fix #4: Even with sugar the muffins weren’t overly sweet! Which I like, actually. I tastes more like breakfast than dessert.
~*~ PUMPKIN HAZELNUT WILD RICE MUFFINS ~*~
I make my muffins like I make my stir-fry—quick with lots of rice. This filling on-the-go breakfast can be tailored to your taste or whatever you have in your pantry. Use any type of leftover rice, fruit, or nut. You could even make these literal stir-fried rice muffins by adding veggies and soy sauce. I wanted to make a fall-inspired muffin so of course pumpkin (and spice) was involved.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup wild rice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup yogurt or milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or cinnamon + nutmeg)
Artist: George Winston
1. Cook wild rice. In a medium saucepan, cover the wild rice with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and reduce heat to a simmer for about 20-35 minutes. When rice is cooked and tender, drain and let cool.
2. Kitchen prep. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a muffin tin with oil or fill muffin liners.
3. Roast the nuts. Arrange hazelnuts on a baking pan and place in the oven (don’t wait for it to preheat). Every 5 minutes shake the pan until walnuts darken and grow fragrant. Taste to check they are soft and roasted through. Roughly chop.
4. Melt the butter. Melt butter in a pot or pan. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
5. Mince the thyme. Strip the thyme leaves off by sliding your fingers down the sprig. Finely chop.
MAKE THE BATTER
1. Mix dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice. Then add the hazelnuts and thyme.
2. Mix wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, pumpkin purée, rice, egg, and yogurt. Fold wet mixture into the dry and stir until flour JUST combines.
MAKE THE MUFFINS
1. Pour the batter. Fill the muffin tins to the top, or third of the way for smaller muffins.
2. Bake. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
*~* BENLIAN VARIATION ~*~
Swap the pumpkin, hazelnuts and thyme for 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning.
*~* HEALTHY VARIATION ~*~
Instead of wild rice, use black quinoa. And swap out the sugar for maple syrup or agave nectar.