Thursday, June 11, 2015

Muffins from Nourish Baking

Nourish is a local San Francisco wholesale bakery that makes a limited number of products: just four varieties of healthy mini muffins and breakfast bread loaves.

Everything they produce is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, no added-sugar, only healthy fats, etc, etc.  This makes them rather nutritionally dense, and even the mini products have 3 grams of protein with only 1 gram of sugar.  Why would anyone want to make a product like this?

The answer is that the baker is a lover of baked goods, who suffers from Type-II diabetes, so she adapted by creating her own treats that are refined sugar free, using coconut nectar and coconut sugar instead.  And grain free, because grains are high carb, making them gluten-free, as well.  Since she's removing all the gunk, they are also dairy-free (although not vegan, they do have eggs).  And she uses only virgin coconut oil and nut oils for fats.

Ok, good reason.  I wouldn't ever have sought these out, but I was given a package of each flavor from a generous co-worker, so I obviously had to try them.  You can find Nourish products at a handful of specialty markets around San Francisco, including Rainbow Grocery.
Mini Muffin 2-packs.
I'll admit that I went into these quite skeptical.  Sure, I love my baked goods, but I'm pretty particular.  With muffins, I want a moist interior and a crispy top.  And I'm sorry, but gluten-free goods just generally aren't as good.  And dairy-free?  You've got to be kidding me.  No added sugar?  Please.  Flour, butter, cream, and sugar make up way too high of a percentage of my diet.

But ... I'll give anything a chance.  And honestly, I know my diet isn't good for me.  If I could find healthier treats that I actually like, well, it would be a good thing.

The products come as mini-muffins in 2-packs, bags of a dozen mini muffins, or as mini loafs.  I had the 2-packs of mini muffins.

I could tell they didn't have crispy tops from the start, but I was able to overlook that and move on.  However, they were all strangely moist and gummy, which wasn't great, but is rather expected in a packaged product.
Banana Chia Chocolate Chip.
"Real bananas, dates, pecans and dairy-free chocolate make these muffins a satisfying treat that requires no added sweetener."

I started with the most decadent sounding one, since it had chocolate.  I figured chocolate would counteract all the healthy ingredients.

I liked it more than I expected.  The chocolate (non-dairy) was the winning component, as I hoped.  It came in large chunks, which was a bit surprising given the mini muffin size, but meant a very high percentage of the muffin was actually chocolate.  Yes!

I also loved the crunch from the pecans.

The base basically tasted like, well, banana bread, which I never really love, but it was decent, nice banana flavor, although it had a slight grittiness and bitterness to it, presumably from the chia seeds and almond meal.

This was much more successful that I anticipated, so I was actually eager to move on to the next flavor.  Banana Chia Chocolate Chip was my second favorite overall.
Heirloom Carrot.
"Tastes just like old-fashioned carrot cake – you’ll never miss the flour, sugar or dairy!"

Next I moved on to the one I was most excited for: heirloom carrot, as it promised to be like carrot cake!  Of course, part of what I like about carrot cake is cream cheese frosting, which this obviously had none of, but it did have walnuts, raisins, and all the right spicing (cinnamon, nutmeg).

The strange moisture level worked well here, since it was like a moist carrot cake.  My favorite carrot cakes are super moist from adding pineapple, and this was similar effect.  And I liked the crunch of the nuts.

But, as I expected, it was a bit plain for me on its own.  Luckily I had some cream cheese buttercream in my freezer.  Because, um, doesn't everyone?  I slathered a little on, and then I was quite happy.  I'm not good at healthy.

This was my favorite.
Pumpkin Spice Streusel.
"Fresh grated ginger makes this pumpkin spice muffin densely rich and decadent."

Ok, I lied.  Perhaps I was most excited for this one.  I'm a sucker for streusel.

The base muffin is made with real pumpkin puree and of course, pumpkin spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger).  It is loaded up with additional ginger for some zing.  The much-anticipated streusel uses almonds for the crunch, since there are no oats.

It was nicely spiced, but I don't really love pumpkin spice (I know, October just isn't as exciting for me as for some).  And ... the "streusel" was just a couple almonds, not at all the crunchy, sugary top I was hoping for.

My second to least favorite, and I wouldn't get another.
Lemon Chia Seed.
"Full of lemon flavor with a cake-like texture and a buttery finish from organic coconut oil."

And finally, the one I was least excited for, since I dislike both chia and lemon flavor generally.  There was no chocolate, nuts, or other add-ins to save it.

And ... it was as expected.  It was lemony, which wasn't awful, but it was loaded up with chia seeds, which I just don't like.  If you like chia seeds, and you like lemon poppyseed muffins, perhaps this is for you, but it just wasn't my type of muffin, making it my least favorite.
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