I think it would be safe to say that if nuts didn’t exist, neither would this blog. If there were no almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts to grind up and use in place of wheat flour, I would no longer be much of a baker. Oh sure, I’d make the occasional treat for my family and friends, but that would be rare and certainly not worth blogging about. Suffice it to say that nuts are the basis of almost all of my baked goods and play a major role in many of my other recipes too. I simply don’t know what I would do without them. And besides Brazil nuts, which I will forever maintain taste like dirt, I really haven’t met a nut I didn’t like. Cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts…you name it, I will eat it. Or grind it up into a flour and bake with it.
One nut I haven’t had a chance to work with much are macadamias. I’ve had them before, certainly, in cookies and dipped in chocolate. But I can’t think of when I’ve ever made anything with them myself. But I was contacted recently by Oh! Nuts, asking if I wanted to feature any of their products in my holiday baking. As you might guess, they are an online purveyor of premium nuts and nut products and I have worked with them before. I’ve always had a great experience, as well. From the moment I order something to the time the package arrives, it usually ends up being less than 48 hours. And the products themselves never disappoint. Their whole nuts are fantastic, and I think their almond flour is very good as well.
This time, I decided to break outside my comfort zone and try working with the macadamia nuts. I had lots of ideas for fancy desserts and was thinking of using the macadamias in a tart crust. Then I came across a lovely looking macadamia nut cake recipe from Technicolor Kitchen that included coconut and lime. This recipe ground up the macadamias to make them the base of the cake, along with a small amount of flour and I thought I could do an admirable job converting it to low carb and gluten free. But I changed my mind, as I am wont to do, and decided to take the flavours and make them into muffins. Because cake is always good, but muffins are a necessity. In the chaos that is morningtime with three small children, muffins are a quick, easy breakfast option that I can grab on the go.
The Results: I’m glad I did what I did here, because these flavours are fantastic in a muffin. What a great breakfast treat these were. My only regret is that I made a half-batch instead of a full (6 instead of 12). They went too quickly, especially since I let my husband have some. And now I am out of muffins and will have to come up with some other sort of breakfast item in the morning.
So many thanks to Oh! Nuts for supplying the macadamias for me to play with. A few quick notes here – macadamias have a high oil content and when grinding them, they can quickly become macadamia butter. Grind them only to the point where they resemble a coarse meal, don’t try to get them any finer than that. Also, if you are looking for a quick way to toast the coconut, just put it into a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until it begins to get light brown all over.
Macadamia Coconut Lime Muffins
2 cups unsalted macadamia nuts
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tbsp unflavoured whey protein powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lime zest
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
10 drops stevia extract
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 tbsp lime juice
1/3 cup powdered erythritol
Preheat oven to 325F and line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 2 cups of the macadamia nuts until finely ground but not pasty (be careful here – macadamias contain a lot of oil and become butter very quickly!). Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in coconut, almond flour, granulated erythritol, unflavoured whey protein, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lime zest.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add macadamia nut mixture and beat until well combined. Beat in coconut oil, almond milk and stevia extract until fully combined. Stir in chopped macadamia nuts.
Divide batter between prepared muffin cups and bake 25 minutes, or until tops are set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.
For the glaze, whisk together lime juice and powdered erythritol until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
Serves 12. Each muffin has 7.1 g of carbs and 3.4 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.7 g.