Until recently, I've never had much enthusiasm for "healthier version" baked goods. Invariably they've been listless, substance-less versions of their former selves - mere abominations of what were once good intentions, which have no discernible flavour, and have quickly become so dry and disappointing that they deliver as much joy as a poorly executed scone. There just never seemed much point in pursuing something so lacklustre, and it made all the more sense to simply enjoy a treat for what it was, and if needs be, worry more about conscience eating the rest of the time.
But even with interest lacking the challenge was always there, and during some recent reading about different eating habits it finally dawned on me that it wasn't the concept itself that was at fault, but the approach that had got it all wrong. Everything was about "cutting stuff out", about being the same cake, just without the fat or sugar.
They weren't these wholesome rhubarb, walnut and chia muffins that remain delightfully light and fluffy despite using just three tablespoons of oil.
Or these incredible rustic rye muffins, whose savoury beginnings are leant a perfect sweetness through the combination of aromatic orange zest and the tangy crunch of caraway.
And they certainly weren't these luscious carrot and macadamia muffins in which the fruit not only provides a delightfully moist crumb, but whose inherent sweetness allows the flavours to speak for themselves.
Although they were still cake, these tasty treats weren't trying to be conscious of anything, they were just something delicious that happened use very little fat or sugar. And that seems like a very healthy approach to me...
In other kitchen news, Little Beard turned six today (weeks, I know, but it's early days...), so I thought it about time he got to have a little play:
And at the end of the day he went ok. There's still a number of teething problems to sort out, but I've a feeling he's going to grow up to be a very tasty chap indeed.