On the last day of our yoga retreat when we returned from morning yoga in the yurt, there was a basket of something yummy on the big wooden table in the front hall. Whatever was in the basket was covered with a colourful napkin, and there was a sign next to the basket and a little ramekin as well. The ramekin had a couple of dollars in it. Interest piqued, and smelling something delicious, Sarah and I approached the table to read the sign.
It went something like this: muffins, homemade and fresh out of the oven. Please leave $2 and enjoy a muffin. An honour system for baked goods - how very Zen.
The Shanti yoga retreat also had a store of sorts, selling things like blankets made from yak wool, books on yoga and meditation, hand made soaps, lip balms, and salves. Yoga clothes and props, candles and incense. There was an exercise book (or 'scribbler' for you fellow Newfoundlanders) on the floor next to the credit card terminal, and a price list. If you wanted to buy something you just had to write it down and pay before you left. This is the kind of world I want to live in.
But I digress. Back to the muffins. We ran upstairs to our room hoping to find some coins and lucky for us, we did. $4 and two muffins later, we were replete. I pushed my chair back from the table and went to rinse my tea cup, then I noticed the Shanti cookbook open to the recipe for the muffins. That kind of sealed the deal - a cookbook would be coming home with me.
The recipe in the book is called Apple Cinnamon Millet Muffins, but the version we enjoyed was made with local blueberries that day, since that was what was on offer at the market on Wolfe Island. When I returned home I decided that I would make these muffins for myself. The challenge would be to make them without sugar.
I had decided (been inspired by Sarah, actually) to go sugar-free for a month when I returned from Shanti. So I had to modify the recipe to suit this dietary restriction. It was pretty easy to do and the muffins were still amazing. I made them on a Sunday afternoon and one warning for you bakers out there - by Wednesday they had mould growing on them and 6 whole muffins ended up in the compost. Sadness. So my advice to you would be to freeze whatever you don't consume on the first day. This of course, really makes you think about baked goods that you purchase from the grocery store. You know the ones that have a shelf life of 10 days or so? What do you think is in them to make them last that long? Indeed.
You've waited long enough. Here is the recipe for the muffins, my adaptations are in brackets, as always.
2 cups spelt flour
2/3 cup millet (looks kind of like big grains of cous cous)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used skim milk from a cow)
1/2 cup apple sauce (I used unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup of pureed prunes, but next time I will use 1/2 cup as they could have been a tad sweeter)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups fruit (either apples and cinnamon, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or whatever you want! I used frozen raspberries.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and coat 12 muffin cups with a light coating of oil.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Combine the wet with the dry and stir until the flour is just absorbed.
Then fold in the fruit.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack.
Enjoy! And Namaste.