Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flaxy Brownie Muffins with Raspberry, Mandarin Sauce

These muffins started out as an experiment in my kitchen and ended up being one of the best things I have ever created! There is a recipe I make all the time for my husband and my mom because they are both chocolate lovers; Ina Garten's chocolate brownie pudding, it's like eating a very under cooked brownie, which I personally love and do on purpose anyway! This recipe was the inspiration for these little beauties, pictured above! Mine, however, are a much healthier version because I just think baked goods can always use a whole grain, or flax facelift. Ina's version, though delicious, has 2 sticks of butter, 2 cups of sugar and only uses all purpose white flour.  My version uses a combo of Earth's Balance, butternut squash seed oil and flax seed oil, instead of the butter. This cuts out all the cholesterol and adds in heart healthy and fiber rich oils. They also give the muffins a nutty depth of flavor that goes so well with the chocolate. I highly recommend you get your hands on some of the Stony Brook squash seed oils that I used in this recipe, you will want to use them in everything! I also cut back on the sugar a bit, using both raw cane sugar and local honey. This keeps the muffins sweet and adds in a floral note. I replaced the all purpose flour completely and put in a mixture of whole wheat flour and flax meal. The result was nutty and dense, almost like a flourless cake. They tasted absolutely sinful, but you can eat them without all the guilt!

The oils and honey keep the cake super moist and "pudding like" as well as the water bath, which gently cooks the cakes, rather than with direct heat. Usually I make this in a large pan and then scoop out portions that are dolloped with whipped cream or topped with huge mounds of ice cream. This time I decided to stick with the more healthful theme and I made them into individual servings that are perfectly portion controlled and I made a mandarin, raspberry sauce that was sharp and tangy and cut through the richness of the cake just perfectly.

This recipe makes 12 brownie pudding muffins.



8 Tbsp Earth Balance or 1 stick
5 Tbsp Stony Brook butternut squash seed oil, if you cannot get this oil, then canola oil would work fine here.
3 Tbsp organic flax seed oil
4 large, organic or farm raised eggs, room temperature.
1 1/3 Cups fair trade, organic raw cane sugar
1/2 Cup local honey
3/4 Cup good quality, fair trade, cocoa powder
1/4 Cup organic, whole wheat flour
1/4 Cup flax meal, this is a flour made from flax seeds, if you cannot find this, wheat germ, any nut flour, barley flour or just use all whole wheat.
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
2 tsp mandarin zest
4 Tbsp fresh squeezed mandarin juice, from about 4 mandarins.
2 Tbsp orange liqueur, I used Patron Citronge.


1/2 Jar of your favorite raspberry preserves, I used Bonne Maman.
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed mandarin juice


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners, set aside.

Melt the Earth balance in a small bowl, then add the oils to it, set it aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar and honey till they are very pale, thick and frothy, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla seeds, mandarin zest, juice and orange liqueur. Mix for another minute, till combined.

Sift the flour, flax meal and cocao powder together. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix only till combined. With the mixer on low, slowly pour the oils and Earth Balance into the mixture. Only mix to combine, do not over mix.

Ladle the mixture into the prepared muffin cups. Set into a larger baking pan filled with the hottest tap water you have, so that the water comes half way up the sides of the muffin tins. Do not get water into the muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes. The muffins will not test clean when poked with a toothpick, they are very "wet" and should be the texture of an uncooked brownie, or flourless cake, if you are familiar with this.

While the muffins are cooking, in a small sauce pan, combine all sauce ingredients. Cook on medium heat till they come to a boil. Turn the heat down and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

When you serve the muffins, remove them from the paper cups and drizzle with sauce, I like to eat mine with a spoon! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

I personally think chocolate cures everything! :) If you see something you love, leave a comment and let others know!

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