I know it is so cliché to say this, but so far the best part of living in Vermont has been the people we met in our small town Manchester. Every single person, whether be in the farmer’s market, library, or in the hotel has been so incredibly genuine and helpful.
Truth be told, I do not consider myself as someone who makes friendships easily, but here it happens so naturally that it immediately makes you feel like a part of the community.
This weekend, I went to a farmer’s market in Dorset, 5 miles north of Manchester. During the winter, every Sunday morning they set up a small farmer’s market in the workspace of a store called J.K. Adams. I was told that since it is still cold only a small number of farmers come to the market. However, even with the few of them who were there, I thought that there were so many things to purchase. I am sure you guessed it by now; I am a sucker for locally produced items. Whether it be freshly baked bread, handmade pottery, organically grown meats or freshest produce you can get your hands on, browsing through the things that were available for sale I felt so in my element. I walked around listening to the live music in the background while making new friendships with all the local sellers.
As it usually is the case on my farmer’s market visits, I went there not knowing what to buy and came out with a bunch of fresh produce to cook for the rest of the week. The parsnips and eggs you see in these photos were just two of the many things that came back home with me. The best part was that both of them were freshly picked by the farmers earlier in that morning. As I was looking for eggs in different colors, the farmer handpicked them for me to make sure I get a variety of colors to take home with me. Seriously, how nice is that?
To be honest, I haven’t cooked or baked with parsnips that much before, but they looked so fresh that I couldn’t help but get a few of them. At first, I thought that I could make one of my favorite chicken dishes, Skillet Roast Chicken with Parsnips and Fennel, but then I thought about a recipe that I saw in Martha Steward’s Vegetables cookbook a while ago. She used shredded parsnips in a muffin recipe just like you would use sweet potatoes or carrots in baked goods. After giving them a taste and realizing how sweet they naturally were I decided to use them to make bran muffins. And I am so glad I did, because they were a big hit in our household.
About This Parsnip Morning Glory Bran Muffins Recipe:
These muffins are naturally sweetened with Vermont maple syrup, homemade applesauce (you can make your own using my Slow Cooker Unsweetened Applesauce recipe), and raisins. I flavored them with ground cardamom. The idea of using cardamom came from my favorite cookbook The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. I have to say, the combination of parsnip and cardamom are a match made in heaven.
In terms of flours, I used whole-wheat flour and wheat bran. If you do not have wheat bran you can substitute it with ground oats. To make it nutty, I used sliced almonds, but pecans or walnuts would work as well. And finally, instead of using butter I used just a quarter of a cup of coconut oil. As you can see, they are all healthier and wholesome ingredients.
For the best muffins, I would recommend making sure that all ingredients are at room temperature and as fresh as they can be.
If you are like me, and have never tried parsnips for baking, give these parsnip morning glory muffins a try. They are a healthier way to start your day and would also be an excellent muffin to enjoy in the afternoon with your 4 o’clock tea. My new friend Shanon, who is my hand model in these photos, and I surely did enjoy them after our shoot.:)
Parsnip Morning Glory Bran Muffins
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup wheat bran
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce at room temperature – (preferably homemade)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup sliced almonds plus more as topping
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups parsnip* peeled and shredded
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin lightly with vegetable spray and line it with muffin liners. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, bran, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and all spice in a medium-size bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Fold in the sliced almonds, raisons, and shredded parsnip. Again, mix just until combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, divide the batter into the muffin cups.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin and serve while still warm.
Slightly adapted from this recipe.