IN THESE WOODS...ACACIA MUFFINS


We have been for a walk this weekend. Not to any far land or remote place, just a nice spot to walk Jenna in peace. Leaving the main road behind we venture up an uneven trail into woodland and to nature itself. Every tree, shrub or plant is bursting with life so much that some parts are hard to get through. The vegetation has taken over. The emerald green leaves are not the same you see in summer; they are so vibrant and bright they almost don’t look real.



My photos look like I’ve been editing with a hard hand on saturation. It is all real, though, and it is out there now.

Every week since the beginning of March we’ve seen an abundance of seasonal gems: agile orsino, rampussoli, asparagus..you name it. We made pasta, pesto, frittata and we sometimes over  indulged knowing that they will soon disappear from our table to give way to the glorious summer vegetables we so much long for.


On the way back Tom pointed to a spot on the ground where some tiny bright pink petals had designed the prettiest carpet I could ever imagine. Where had they come from? I wonder. I look up and there is a robinia tree above our head. 

At first I can’t believe the sight but then it comes clear: end of April means it is time for frittelle di acacia.

The Robinia tree (Robinia pseudoacacia, also known as black locust) is a tree which is widely planted and naturalized in many countries like the USA to Asia and Europe. It is so widespread it is considered  an invasive species in some areas. It is also known as false acacia, the name the locals commonly call this tree and its blossom. 

The blossom is used to make pancake-style fritters which are a staple of this season especially here in Veneto. As I more than often try to avoid frying food I whipped up a recipe for a healthier alternative: I thought that muffins would be a great way to use the flowers without having to use too much oil and aggressive cooking. The result is a sweet muffin which smells of heaven!

This simple recipe calls for the robinia blossom (I used the white variety here, as honestly I don’t know whether the prettier pink version is indeed edible), acacia honey (although any honey would do), oat flour, coconut cream or milk and almond, too. For who, like me, has a sweet tooth these muffin are going to be enjoyed as a delicious breakfast, mid-afternoon treat and as a fuss-free dessert.


Ingredients:
130 gr baking flour
50 gr almond flour
30 gr oat flour
120 ml coconut cream or milk (or any other plant based milk)
1 ripe banana
3 tbsp acacia honey
30 gr demerara or muscovado sugar
30 gr false acacia blossoms
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
pinch of sea salt

Method:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a muffin tray with muffin liners.
Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.
Mash the banana, then add the honey, sugar, egg, chia seeds and the milk. Mix well.
Combine the dry ingredients to the wet ones possibly using a sieve (to avoid lumps).
Once the batter reaches the desired muffin-batter consistency it is time to distribute it to the moulds.


Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes or until golden and firm.


Sprinkle with icing sugar for extra sweetness.

Have you ever baked/cooked with flowers? Let’s celebrate Spring.

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