I picked up a young coconut at Windmill Farms Produce, our local farmer's market, today. It was completely on a whim and I had no idea what to do with it, but I had been planning to make some sort of oatmeal and cranberry baked good today, and it came to me that fresh coconut might make an interesting addition.
Cranberries and coconuts are both considered superfoods, though "superfood" is not a term used by dietitians. Still, they're both tasty and have good-for-you properties, and I'd like to image that little muffin up there wearing a tiny cape. Cranberries are a potent antioxidant, with the highest concentration of phenols which are thought to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease. And coconut contains a healthy form of fat, while the water is high in electrolytes (natural Gatorade!). I even read somewhere that the water was used in place of blood plasma during WWII.
Breaking in to the coconut was interesting though. I did a little research online and after five minutes or so of various pounding and thwacking, I finally succeeded. I ended up with about 3/4 cup of coconut meat and 1 cup of coconut water.
Then I pureed the coconut meat with about 2 tablespoons of the water until smooth. I used this coconut puree in place of the butter in my muffins.
Before I had begun trying to figure out how to break into the coconut, I combined the oats and milk in a bowl, so the oats would soften.
I combined the coconut puree with sugar, two egg yolks, and the oats and milk. Then I added a mixture of flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir gently, just until everything is combined. Next add dried cranberries that have been soaked in hot water, then drained and tossed with about a teaspoon of flour, so they don't sink in the batter.
The egg whites are ever-so-gently folded into the rest of the batter.
Then I used an ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to a muffin-cup-lined and greased muffin pan, and I sprinkled the tops with demerera sugar for a little crunch. I baked them for 30 minutes, let them rest for 10, and my superfood muffins were done!
The result is a slightly chewy muffin, courtesy of the oats, with zings of cranberry and a light coconut flavor. These will make an excellent breakfast for the week, perhaps slathered with honey butter or alongside my new favorite thing, Greek yogurt.
Here's my recipe...
Oat, Cranberry, Coconut Muffins
1 cup oats
1 cup milk (I used half and half)
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup coconut puree (use softened butter if you're omitting the coconut)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup flour
2 eggs, separated
Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners, and grease with cooking spray oil.
Combine the oats and the milk in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl combine the dried cranberries with hot water for about ten minutes, then drain well and toss with a teaspoon of flour.
To make the coconut puree, blend the meat from one coconut with two tablespoons of the coconut water in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, add the sugar and the two egg yolks, and mix well. Add the oats and milk and mix again.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add this to the wet mixture and gently stir, until just combined. Add the rehydrated cranberries and stir again.
In a very clean, large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Very gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the muffin batter. Transfer the batter to the muffin pan, filling the cups nearly to the top if you want nice, large muffins. Sprinkle the tops with demerera sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick or tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin. Let rest 10 minutes in the pan, and then enjoy!