Hmmm, it would seem that I've been on a mango kick lately judging from the past couple of things I've posted. And now this! You can't really blame me, it's mango season here in Thailand (it's also lychee season, meaning it's probably my favorite time of year save the heat!). Even though I think Indian mangoes beat the hell out of their Thai counterparts (objectively speaking, of course!), with all of the ripe and juicy mangoes filling our fridge, it was just a matter of time before they appeared in some kind of baked good. I remembered these delicious mango cardamom muffins that I'd made from a recipe seen ages ago in Cooking Light and decided to change them up a little...
And how exactly did I change them up, you may be wondering? By replacing the cardamom with one of my favorite ingredients of the moment, orange blossom water (or fleur d'oranger as it's known in French). This wonderful aromatic is often found in North African and Middle Eastern desserts, and it recently appeared in my crêpes à la fleur d'oranger (orange blossom crepes), which were an absolute delight for a recent weekend brunch. The idea of combining mango and orange blossom water came from my friend Sofia, who mentioned that she often has a breakfast of muesli, yogurt, mango and a dash of this special water. I made myself some for dessert last night (omitting the muesli and adding almond and flax) and discovered that the mango-orange blossom water combination is wonderful! You can find orange blossom water in Middle Eastern shops and perhaps at specialty food stores. Unfortunately I haven't seen it anywhere here in Bangkok...it was kindly brought over by some friends visiting from Paris recently. If you can't find it, feel free to substitute 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom as per the original recipe.
For an added nutritional boost, I decided to add some chia seeds. For those who may not be in the know, chia seeds (the same seeds that sprouted into those Chia Pets sold years ago) are an absolute super food! They are packed with protein (all of the amino acids are there), omega-3s, calcium and fiber. Perfect for vegetarians or anyone who is trying to eat well. I bring some home every time I go to the States or request visitors to do the same. In Bangkok, they can be found at places like Radiance Wholefoods and other health food stores (albeit for much more than they would cost in North America or Europe). If you can find them, you should definitely add a tablespoon of chia seeds to all of your baked goods, smoothies, etc.
Whenever you can get some good ripe mangoes, make yourself a batch of these muffins! With the very subtle taste of the orange blossom water and the nutritional power of the chia seeds, they are a real winner for breakfast on the go or for a snack with tea or milk. They freeze beautifully as well!
MANGO-ORANGE BLOSSOM MUFFINS WITH CHIA SEEDS
Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 12 muffins
Cooking spray or oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 peeled ripe mango, chopped
3/4 cup buttermilk (see note)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
Note: A cool tip if you don't have buttermilk..no need to buy any! Put a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a 1-cup measure. Fill with milk (low-fat preferably). Set aside for 5 minutes and then mix. Voila...instant buttermilk! Use 3/4 cup for this recipe and the rest in a smoothie.
1. Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C. Spray a 12-muffin muffin pan with cooking spray or oil and set aside.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chia seeds) in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Make a well in the center and stir in the chopped mango.
4. Mix the wet ingredients (buttermilk, butter/margarine, egg, vanilla and orange blossom water) in a smaller bowl and blend well.
5. Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry and mix until just moist.
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and top with a sprinkling of brown sugar.
7. Bake for 23 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center of a couple of muffins comes out clean. Cool and remove from the pan.