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Vegan jelly muffins

by Hayley Hershenson

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People may choose a vegan diet for all kinds of reasons. Whether primarily for the interest of personal health, environmental sustainability, animal rights, or other causes, becoming a full or part-time vegan involves some level of sacrifice. One common sacrifice made by committed vegans involves the refusal of what we might forget is so commonly sustained by milk, butter, and eggs: desserts.
As a lifelong dessert-lover and former full-time vegan, I take great pleasure in opportunities to reassure vegans and dairy-free consumers that delicious desserts can still be theirs. They may be somewhat rarely found on restaurant menus, but today the internet and supermarkets are full of recipes and supplies to create unique delights for the dietarily limited.
Few discoveries from my adventures with vegan baking have been as enduringly sweet as these jelly-filled muffins. Still warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator, these muffins have proved delicious to non-vegan family members and friends. The batter, free from raw egg and therefore delightfully tempting to taste, allows nutmeg its time to shine while complementing the baker’s choice of preserves. One thing has been confirmed for certain - these muffins make great gifts, whether piled in Tupperware for a friend or enjoyed for oneself on a quiet morning. They are reminders that sweetness is for everyone.
This recipe was gathered from chowhound.com and adapted from “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero.
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup plain soy or rice milk (almond works, too!)
1 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry, strawberry, or grape jam or preserves
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a 12-well (1/2 cup) muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture; set aside.
3. In a medium, nonreactive bowl, whisk together the soy or rice milk, vinegar, and cornstarch until the cornstarch has dissolved. Pour this into the well in the flour mixture. Add the granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula until combined (there will be a few lumps).
4. Fill each muffin well about three-quarters full. Using a spoon, create a small indentation in the batter by slightly spreading it from the middle out toward the edges. Measure 1 heaping teaspoon of jam or preserves and place the back of the teaspoon inside the indentation. Rotate the spoon, letting the jam slide into the indentation. Repeat in each well.
5. Bake until the tops of the muffins are firm, about 21 to 23 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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