Sugar is – and probably always will be – my go-to sweetener for anything I bake. Call me traditional, but sugar plays a big role in the chemistry of baking and for most things (since I, very fortunately, do not have any dietary restrictions that force me to look elsewhere) I am more than happy to use it. But just because I love sugar doesn’t mean that I’m not going to get out there and use other sweeteners. Honey and maple syrup, for instance, are always good in my book and after being on a bit of an agave syrup kick recently, I’m adding it to my list of approved sweeteners.
I opted to bake some muffins, as I generally like how liquid sweeteners retain moisture and keep muffins moist for a few days after baking. Agave syrup did not let me down in this regard. The muffins became more moist overnight (stored in an airtight container) and the flavors in the muffins – including the overall sweetness – increase! This is a great feature to have in a muffin if you want to bake up a batch the night before you serve them to save time.
Overall, the muffins were not earth-shattering, but were simply very good. In terms of consistency and crumb, they were a little bit more like your typical quick bread than a cake. This texture worked out well because the muffins were very good when spread with butter or cream cheese (yes, they were tasty plain, as well). The candied ginger gave them some zing and added a little something extra to the flavor overall.
Because agave syrup has an exceptionally low glycemic index, these muffins are quite healthy and should be a much better choice than your average muffin for someone who is concerned about sugar in their diet. I know that I felt pretty good about eating them, though I will warn you that knowing that they’re relatively low in fat and sugar could tempt you – as it did me – to eat an extra muffin or two for breakfast!
Agave Muffins with Apricots and Candied Ginger
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup agave nectar/sweetener
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
2-3 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup chopped, dried apricot
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
coarse/turbinado sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter or cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, agave nectar, egg, milk and orange zest. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in apricots and ginger.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin and top each muffin with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins