First off and before we get all hot and bothered about the ‘sugarfree’ claim, there are natural sweeteners included in this recipe. Yes, some might argue that these are technically still sugar but I’m not getting into that right now. I’m only interested at this point in the fact there is no cane sugar used and that in itself is a minor triumph. All I do know is that many people cannot consume cane sugar or wish not to, so that is where I’m coming from – I hope you’ll understand and cut me a wee bit of slack. Cheers.

These muffins were made in a baking haste – the haste being I wanted something quick. And sweet(ish). And lemony. And whilst I briefly toyed with idea of making a lemon drizzle cake (I loves me some drizzle cake) I finally settled on these. They are not my greatest baking achievement but that’s what happens when you act before you think. That’s not to say they weren’t perfectly light (they were) and palatable (my husband ate four of them) but for my tastes they definitely could have been a bit sweeter.

Now, I don’t think that was anything to do with the lack of cane sugar and more to do with my conservative use of sweeteners – I was trying to use as little as possible. Of course, that aspect of the recipe can be easily ammended, as can the choice of flour…..

I’ve always had issues with spelt flour so why I insist on trying to include it is beyond me – as soon as this bag is finished I’m done. No more spelt – laters! I think it gives a very dry floury taste and even though I only used a quarter cup it still negatively affected the texture. Wholewheat would’ve been a much better choice and that’s what I’ll use next time.

Now, in my haste I forgot to stir in the frozen cranberries (doh!) hence why I popped one on the top. I’m glad I did now because it makes them look super cute – like little dipples.

I was really pleased with the appearance of these muffins and like I said they were extremely light and fluffy. With a few minor tweaks these could be a really fantastic treat. Cooking is all about trial and error and we learn from everything we make even when it doesn’t turn out as we’d hoped – especially when it doesn’t turn out as we’d hoped.

sugarfree vegan lemon poppy seed muffins

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup spelt flour (sub wholewheat or even brown rice flour)

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

3/4 tbsp baking soda

1/2 tsp malt syrup (I would up it to 1 tsp in future)

1/2 tsp sweet freedom or agave (again, up it to 1 tsp for a sweeter muffin)

zest 2 lemons

juice 1 1/2 lemons

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1/4 unsweetened apple sauce

1 tbsp lemon oil (or olive oil plus juice of an extra 1/2 lemon)

Pre-heat the oven the 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine with a spatula. Stir in the lemon zest.

Whisk together the apple sauce, lemon juice, sweeteners and oil in a separate bowl. The sweetener can be quite sticky so persevere until it dissolves.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold in using a spatula. Be careful not to over mix.

Divide the mixture between six silicon muffin cases and bake for 20-25mins. Check at 20 by inserting a toothpick into the centre – or thereabouts, as the cranberry might be in the way. If it comes out clean they are done. If not leave them in for a further five or so minutes. Remember every oven is different – I recommend getting a separate oven thermometer.

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