Calling these muffins tropical was easier than putting all the ingredients in the title, and I figure anything with coconut can be called tropical. Besides ricotta, the ingredients that flavor these muffins are dried apricots, flaked coconut, and roasted almonds. The muffin batter is plenty sweet, so I used unsweetened coconut and apricots.
The batter is very thick and you can see that I used a large scoop of it in each cup without the muffin spreading out or running over the cup. I find that thick muffin batters work that way, so I don’t follow those fill to 2/3 full directions you see so often.
I adapted this recipe from my Heavenly Lemon Ricotta Muffins.
Tropical Ricotta Muffins
Preheat oven to 350°; line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 24 dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped (mine were oven roasted and salted)
- Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add ricotta and vanilla; beat until combined.
- Beat in egg.
- Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until beginning to combine. Do not over-beat.
- Add milk and beat at low speed until combined.
- Stir in apricots, coconut, and nuts until well distributed.
- Scoop batter into liners in muffin pan.
- Bake for 18 minutes and check for doneness. Mine needed another five minutes to be done in the center.
- Cool in pan on rack for at least 15 minutes before removing to completely cool.
This recipe differs in both ingredients and method from the one I posted two years ago. I like both for different reasons, as you’ll see.
Two years ago I wrote about Homemade Muesli, one where I hand-chop all the fruit and nuts and toast the oats. It’s a great recipe because of the large pieces of everything—dried apricots, almonds, raisins, figs, coconut. As I wrote then, it’s great to get all the chewing from muesli. Maybe that’s why you don’t need much of it, 1/4-1/3 cup soaked in some almond milk. It’s plenty for breakfast and you don’t get a sugar high like you do from commercial cereals, including commercial muesli. You get more of a steady, balanced addition to your daily diet.
A few months ago, I started mixing part of the ingredients in the food processor—nuts, apricots, figs—where the results are these little clusters of energy balls that stick together even after mixing with grains and coconut and seeds. They still have some chewiness, but I would say less than the other muesli. That’s the one I’m showing you today.
Muesli Recipe II
Preheat oven to 350°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper, which makes it super easy to pour the toasted grains into a bowl.
- 1 lb whole grain rolled oats
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
- 1/2-1 cup seasoned sunflower seeds
- 1/2-1 cup pumpkin seeds (my grocery was out of these!)
- 15 dried apricots
- 15 dried Sierra figs (a green-skinned fig, it is lighter in color and has a tougher dried skin than the mission fig, for example)
- 1 cup oven-roasted, lightly salted almonds
- 1 cup shelled walnuts
- Mix together the oats, wheat germ, and coconut. The coconut and wheat germ are less likely to scorch if you mix them with the oats. Spread out on parchment-lined pan and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before lifting the parchment and pouring all into a large mixing bowl with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Place the apricots, figs, almonds, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients reach a fairly uniform consistency with some variation, but don’t process too much or you will make a paste. Pour the fruit-nut mixture into the bowl with the grains and seeds and stir until well mixed. The pulsed fruit and nuts will form into little balls of varying sizes, and this is what you want. Some of the wheat germ will stick to them, as well as some of the little seeds.
- Let it all cool completely in the bowl, stirring occasionally, before pouring into a container with a tight lid.
Serve in 1/4-1/3 cup servings soaked for about 20 minutes in almond milk or the milk of your choice. You could alternately put the moistened muesli in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm up. I let mine sit while I drink that second cup of morning coffee.
Brown basmati rice, sautéed in coconut oil with ginger and scallions, then baked in full fat coconut milk and chicken broth with almonds. A very creamy rice side dish. I served it with quick-sautéed pheasant strips, also with ginger, scallions, and almonds.
Baked Coconut-Ginger-Almond Rice
Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 1 1/2 quart covered casserole
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 scallions, white and green ends chopped separately
1 can, 13 oz, full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, divided
- In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, briefly sauté to the point of fragrance ginger and the white ends of the scallions in coconut oil.
- Stir in the rinsed and drained rice until coated with oil. Add salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of the almonds, coconut milk, and chicken stock. Bring just to a boil.
- Pour mixture into buttered casserole and cover. Bake for about 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for as long as 15 minutes more if there is too much liquid. The end result should be a creamy rice.
- Serve with the remaining almonds and the green ends of the scallions.
We go to the cabin this weekend for the first day of antlered deer season on Monday and I didn’t want to fuss with bowls and spoons and almond milk to eat the muesli that I eat for breakfast every day, so I’m putting the muesli in bars. I’m still making the muesli that I posted so long ago, but have switched out the high GI (glycemic index) raisins for moderate GI figs. Then, ironically, I’ll be holding the bar ingredients together with mashed bananas, which are high GI. What can you do? I’ll be working it off walking in the woods, so I’m not too worried about it. If you’re interested in the glycemic index, you can find more information about it and look up foods here: Montignac Method.
I’m modifying this recipe from The Kitchn, adding more fruit and seeds than called for, and then putting it all in a smaller pan so they are thicker. I’m skeptical that the bars will hold together, but I want to give the recipe a chance. I’m hoping that using more dried fruit helps them hold together, but even if they don’t, I can eat them in pieces with no problem.
Ample fruit and nuts
Almonds, figs, and apricots
Bananas liquified in processor
Pressed in pan
Baked with browned edges
They turned out great and held together well. They’re a chewy bar, which is what I wanted. One of the reasons I like muesli for breakfast is all the chewing activity you get from the seeds and oatmeal, so these bars will make a great breakfast substitute. There is a slight banana taste, but it’s not overpowering, and the figs and apricots keep the bar moist. Try it with your own variations.
Preheat oven to 350°; butter a square baking pan or dish, 8″ or 9″ square. My dish is 8″ square.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened apricots
1/2 cup dried unsweetened figs
1/4 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dry roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a food processor, process the almonds, figs, and apricots until they are in small pieces, but not ground to a paste. I had thought about leaving them larger, and that might be a good option.
- Add the fruit and nuts to a large mixing bowl with the oats and seeds.
- Liquify the bananas in the food processor with the vanilla. Pour over the bar mixture and stir to combine.
- Press the mixture into the greased pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Watch carefully.
- Rest to cool on rack. Cut into bars when still slightly warm, but not too soon. Let cut bars continue to cool in pan before removing to rack to cool completely.
- Wrap bars individually in plastic or wax paper to take in lunch.