As delightful as they sounded, I had no business trying to bake these Whole Wheat Applesauce Carrot muffins today. None. It was late in the day and I was already spent from doing all the things that Saturdays demand be done. Yet in spite of that I started pulling out the mixer and measuring cups. Even discovering I didn’t have the necessary ingredients, namely butter, I forged ahead. Rather than surrender, I hopped into the car and headed to the grocery store. For some reason I was determined to try this recipe. Leaving the store I remembered the recipe called for the butter to be softened. Perfect! I could speed up the butter-softening process by letting it sit in the car while I stopped at a neighbor’s yard sale (where I enjoyed a cup of freshly made lemonade.)
Once back home I figured I could further soften the butter by creaming it a bit in the stand mixer—which was not entirely successful but hey, I figured, it’s only muffins. They’ll forgive me. Onward. I measured, mixed, shredded the carrots, and followed all the directions, adding ingredients into the mixer bowl as they were called for. It was after adding the flour to the mixture that I sensed something was not quite right. Ok, not at all right. Within three, maybe five, turns of the mixer paddle the batter had collected into a pretty sizable ball of uniform cement.
What? The? I re-read the ingredients list. Re-read the recipe. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw it—the bag of flour. In my let’s-get-this-done-so-I-can-get-to-making-dinner haste, I’d dumped 1-1/2 cups of coconut flour into a recipe that called for wheat flower. Seriously?
With suspicion and dread I turned the flour sack around and read some of the rear label information. I didn’t have to read much past the statement up to 20% of a recipe’s wheat flour can be replaced with coconut flour. I’d just replaced it all. Every last one and a half cups of it. The label went on to describe how coconut flour, especially compared to other flours, will absorb a lot of the liquids in any recipe and then gave some suggestions for reintroducing liquids into batters that appear dry. So I tried some of the suggestions knowing fully well that my batter was well past any “appearance of dryness”. It epitomized dryness. I added cooking oil, I added water, I added another egg. Still a bowl full of paste. By that point I felt sort of defeated and frustrated and, if I’m being honest, a little pissed. Mostly at myself for my pig-headedness at starting this project but also at the amount of pretty damn spendy coconut flour and other ingredients I’d just wasted.
By now, a sane person would have emptied the mixer bowl into the trash and cleaned up to start dinner. I am not that person. I was baking these suckers. I slid them into the preheated oven, noting 20-24 minutes baking time. But all that managed to accomplish was to waste those 20-24 minutes of my life.
I transferred them to a countertop cooling rack. Remarkably the muffins had retained the exact uneven, lumpy shape that had been spooned into the adorable purple dotted cupcake papers. The “batter” hadn’t budged. After they cooled I, of course, attempted to eat one. What? You think I’m going to be beaten by a little coconut flour? The muffin disintegrated the instant I pulled apart the paper pleats.
That was it. I surrendered. Finally accepting defeat, the whole dozen were tossed into the trash. I opened a better-than-the-day-deserved bottle of wine and headed to the porch to refuel with some fresh air. There are times one should bake and there are times one should save baking, for other times.
Stay tuned. I will try this recipe again. It looks really promising. At the moment though, I’m about to start making dinner here. Brand new gas grill. Nice porterhouse steaks. And I’m even more tired. Hm. Maybe we should order pizza.
Co-Author of Garden Candy Basics