Sunny Cornmeal & Fruit Muffins



By Cat, Feb 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Breads & Muffins Menu2. Grains, Flours & Starches (About) Menu3. Crumb or Nut-Crumble Topping for Muffins4. Sprouting/Soaking Grains (Before/After Grinding)5. Sugar and Other Sweeteners Menu

I’m always on the watch for a new muffin recipe; this one sounds so sunny, in the middle of a Montana winter.

The fruit in these muffins is dried whole fruit, such as raisins, dried cranberries, Zante currants, or berries; or chopped dried fruit such as apricots, peaches, cherries or plums. I’m not big on raisins; I would much prefer dried, cut up apricots or cherries.

Sunny Cornmeal & Fruit Muffins

This recipe is adapted from the label of Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal, who attribute the original Toni’s Outrageous Muffins recipe to Toni Romei of Portland, Oregon.  The original is not a pre-soak method, but I do prefer to presoak my grains to increase their nutritional value.

The best choice would be Organic whole grain cornmeal, but it can be hard to find. Bob’s Red Mill cornmeal is another good choice for several reasons:

  • Unlike most commercial cornmeal, it is the whole grain.
  • It comes in three different grinds: fine, medium, and coarse.  Any of these will work, but you’ll get a better effect from the soaking if you use the fine or medium grinds.
  • While most commercial cornmeal is made from GMO corn (unless it is certified Organic), Bob’s Red Mill has pledged its corn products are not GMO (2).

The original recipe calls for a few items I do not recommend: brown sugar (⅓ cup), soy flour (⅓ cup) and wheat germ (wheat germ is OK if it is very fresh, but it readily oxidizes–becomes rancid).  Instead, I recommend Rapadura sugar or stevia extract powder, with Grade-B maple syrup; and whole wheat flour.  For the cooking oil in the original recipe, I recommend coconut or olive oil.

Coconut flour is used to increase the fiber content, to help the muffins retain moisture, and for their flavor. It is drier than grain flour and need equivalent amount of liquid added (as milk, water or juice).  If you cannot find this type of flour, or choose not to use it, substitute unbleached white flour and omit the orange juice.

Yogurt is used in the presoak because it provide the acidity needed to break down the phytates, making the grain’s minerals bio-available. Boiling water is added to the yogurt in the presoak to kill the probiotics in the yogurt, because they interfere with the rise of the muffins during baking. Alternatives to the yogurt/boiling water combo:

  • Soured milk: scald whole milk, then cool to room temperature and add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar; let it rest about 5 minutes to thicken a bit before adding to the cornmeal and flour.
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice, but I have not tested that to know how much to add. If you want to give it a try, start with ¾ cup, then add more, 1 Tbsp at a time, up to 4 Tbsp, to get the right texture for the presoak: it should be soft enough to mix, but thick enough to form a ball. If the resultant product has too much orange/lemon flavor, use half juice and half water.

If you have the time, presoak nuts overnight, then dry them before dredging.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Presoak:
  • ⅓ cup whole grain, non-GMO cornmeal (fine or medium grind preferred for a presoak)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt or buttermilk
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • Next day: Dredging dry ingredients:
  • ¼ cup coconut flour (or use white instead of coconut flour, and omit orange juice)
  • ½ cup golden raisins, Zante currants or dried berries
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots or other stone fruit
  • 1 cup ground almonds or pecans (presoaked and dried is preferred)
  • ¾ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda (see Baking Soda & Baking Powder for substitution and theory)
  • ½ tsp aluminum-free baking powder (see Baking Soda & Baking Powder for substitution and theory)
  • Batter wet ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup Rapadura sugar or ⅛ tsp stevia extract powder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Grade-B maple syrup
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
  • grated peel of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (omit the OJ if using white instead of coconut flour)
  • Optional: Crumb or Nut-Crumble Topping for Muffins
  • Equipment:
  • large bowl
  • small bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • muffin pan(s) for 12 muffins


  1. Presoak: Stir boiling water into yogurt.
  2. Mix cornmeal, whole wheat pastry flour and yogurt/water together in large bowl, until it will form a ball.  Wrap waxed paper closely around the ball, place back in bowl and cover with kitchen towel; let rest at room temperature overnight.
  3. Next Day, Prepare batter: Grease 12 muffin cups, or fill with muffin papers.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Sift coconut flour (or unbleached white flour), salt and soda into small bowl.  Dredge fruit and nuts in this mixture; set aside.
  5. Grate orange zest, and squeeze ¼ cup juice.
  6. If using stevia, mix into orange juice and let rest about 5 minutes, then add to wet ingredients.
  7. Beat eggs with a fork in small bowl, mix in sugar (if using), then add remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
  8. Add combined wet ingredients to ball of soaked grains, and stir a bit to incorporate most of the liquid into the flours, then stir in dredged ingredients until just mixed.  Do not over-mix.
  9. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing evenly. Optional: sprinkle with crumb or crumble-nut topping.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  11. Cool in pan on rack for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.


Testing:  2/22/08.  Presoak (4 PM – 9 AM; total 17 hours): ⅓ cup cornmeal, 1 cup each whole wheat flour and yogurt.  Dredge: ¼ c coconut flour; ¾ tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda; ½ c each raisins, chopped dried apricots, walnuts, and pecans.  Wet:  2 eggs, 1 ½ Tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, ⅓ c coconut oil, orange peel, ⅛ tsp stevia, in ¼ cup orange juice.  Result:  they rose and then fell a bit while baking.  This could be caused by some product of yogurt working on the flours. Suggestions:  Perhaps add some baking powder (about ½ tsp) as well as soda to the dredge would help with that.  Or add a bit of boiling water to yogurt, perhaps ¼ cup boiling water and ¾ cup yogurt. I’ve updated recipe to add these suggestions, but I’ve not yet tested that addition.


  1. Bob’s Red Mill: Toni’s Outrageous Muffins recipe on a package of cornmeal; attributed to Toni Romei of Portland, Oregon
  2. Bob’s Red Mill non-GMO policy (blog.bobsredmill. com/featured-articles/our-policy-regarding-gmos) (NOTE: link inactivated at their request)

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