Last updated on August 24th, 2021
Vegan baking is definitely not for the faint of heart. These vegan wild blueberry muffins proved to be no exception. I have worked with and heavily adapted this recipe from an old vegan print magazine.
Sweet potatoes, flaxseeds and dates instead of eggs and sugar? Who has “whole wheat pastry flour”? Not I and certainly not any store that I was able to visit during a pandemic in the greater Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area. Oat flour? Well, that can be made in a food processor – to be fair… but still, why…?
So why did I do this – why bother? Because I actually had wild blueberries in my freezer, they’re delicious and I thought the basic flavor profile of the recipe would be delicious. Also I am unable to eat eggs so any time I find a recipe without eggs, that’s a big win for me.
Was this a success? Yes, and no. They were surprisingly, a huge hit at my house. Everyone loved them. Except me…. who is the weirdo with the weird diet. Well, if they are good enough for my picky autistic 20-year-old, then they must be pretty damned good.
Tips & Tricks for making Vegan Wild Blueberry Muffins
If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of vegan baking and cooking – it is probably safe to skip most of this. If not then feel free to read on through.
Using ground flaxseeds in the place of eggs
I’ve done a non-scientific survey of my friends and associates and the results are clear. No one I’ve spoken with is willing to admit they enjoy flaxseeds as an egg substitute – unless there are plenty of other flavors wrapped up in the dish. They are ubiquitous in vegan cooking and what I consider a necessary evil. Make sure you buy pre-ground or grind yours finely with a coffee grinder before measuring.
To make one ‘flaxseed egg’ combine 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds with 3 tbsp. water, so a 1:3 ratio. Let the ground flaxseeds soak in the water for at least five minutes, or until they become gelatinous. Yum.
Other egg substitutions are available. You can use ‘chia seed eggs’ (similar methodology), or Bobs Red Mill egg replacer, which is a mix of tapioca starch and other mysterious starches. You can also use applesauce or bananas, however those fruits have a strong-ish flavor profile so you’ll end up with a different flavor than what you may be shooting for.
Using dates instead of sugar
Dates are a very common way to swap processed sugar for natural sugar. They’re also incredibly delicious. The technique is fairly simple: remove the pits from the dates, cut them up into small pieces and dissolve in your favorite nut or otherwise “non-dairy” milk – at least for this recipe anyway. For this recipe, 1 – 2 minutes in the microwave was plenty to create a thick paste-like syrup.
Flour Flour Everywhere
Except when and where you need it. The original recipe called for “whole wheat pastry flour” and that sounded incredibly intriguing. and I’m always up for trying something new. I looked for it in many different types of grocery stores but couldn’t find it. As it turns out, you can substitute a mix of whole wheat flour and all purpose (AP) flour for the whole wheat pastry flour – so that’s exactly what I did here. Just don’t use bread flour specifically – the gluten content is too high for the muffins to come out well.
The recipe also calls for oat flour and by some miracle I happened to have that in my pantry. However, oat flour can be rather expensive and comes in very small bags. To make your own, place a small quantity of rolled oats in your food processor and grind until you have oat flour. Absolutely works in a pinch!
Baking at High Altitude
As mentioned previously, I live in Albuquerque, and that is 5,000+ feet (1,524 meters) above sea level. Baking at high altitude is more complex than “sub this for that” or “change your oven temperature”. Humidity, microclimates, the temperature of your house and the season you’re in along with numerous other factors play into how your baked goods turn out. Vegan wild blueberry muffins are certainly no exception.
My best advice is to temperature check your oven (mine turned out to be more than 25 degrees hotter than advertised) and adjust accordingly. For good results, I found the high heat works well for me, cooking for slightly less time. Also: Practice, practice, practice. Different baked goods with different ingredients will obviously yield different results, so get to know your ovens and climate accordingly.
Making the muffins
Use a blender to combine date mix, flaxseed, roasted and peeled sweet potato, and vanilla until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, ground cardamom and sea salt.
Add the sweet potato mixture to the flours mixture and stir until just moistened; batter will be slightly lumpy.
Gently fold in wild blueberries. If you can’t find “wild blueberries” in the frozen food section of your grocery store, you can macerate regular blueberries to smaller-sized pieces.
Scoop batter into the prepared muffin pan, about 2/3rds of the way full. I used muffin cup liners – feel free to use whatever works best for you.
Bake for 40 minutes, turning pan halfway through. The muffins will look like they are done at the halfway mark and the toothpick test may “pass” at this point. They aren’t done. Keep cooking and check them again closer to the 40 minute mark.
But otherwise, you know the drill – bake until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out “clean”.
Cool on wire rack for at least ten minutes.
Serve warm or refrigerate for storage.
Congrats, you just did some vegan baking!
I think I would have loved them without the sweet potato. I’m not a fan of that particular flavor and it just didn’t work for me. However, despite their appearance, they were a hit and didn’t last long. Maybe I’ll try again in the future with bananas. I know I like bananas. I think…
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