Vanilla Muffins

Friday! Friday!

We're starting this Friday off right with vanilla muffins. Vanilla muffins that are so full of goodness I can hardly stand it. I would definitely call myself vanilla obsessed. It's one of my all-time favorite kitchen ingredients and plain as it may be, my favorite ice cream flavor. 

This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All products have been tested and approved by my taste buds. 

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

A few months ago, I had the chance to meet some of the staff at Rodelle to learn everything there is to know about vanilla. Well, maybe not everything but a whole heck of a lot. I've been a long time fan of Rodelle's vanilla products, but I'm thrilled they reached out so I could learn even more. 

What stood out most to me was how they frequently visit the farms in Africa for more than just quality control of their product. While quality is very important, they focus much of their time and effort in making sure there are safe and sustainable working environments for the farmers. They also help support the communities as a whole by providing things like clean drinking water, safe cooking stoves, and with the microfinance program. Rodelle did not ask me to tell you any of this, but I was so impressed by their efforts and felt compelled to share. 

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

While the vanilla beans I received from Rodelle were the most fragrant, sticky, and plump I've ever encountered (honestly), I wanted to see if steeping them in hot water would make it easier to scrape the seeds and result in a larger yield. This totally worked! No vanilla beans were left behind! It was nice to feel like no beans were going to waste. I'm sure it's especially helpful if your beans have dried out a bit.

Recently, I was also able to tour the factory in Ft. Collins to take photos for a freelance project. I cannot even describe the intensity of the vanilla aroma that takes over the entire facility. I obviously loved it.

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

Have you ever made vanilla sugar before? I used muscovado sugar (it tastes like caramel sugar!) and followed Alton's simple instructions. As if my vanilla obsession wasn't bad enough.

I used the vanilla muscovado sugar as an alternative to the vanilla crumb topping for a few of the muffins. So good either way or with some of both! 

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

I also learned something about crumb topping in my trials.  

If you melt the coconut oil (or butter in some crumb topping recipes) you'll achieve a chunkier topping like you see below. However, if you use softened coconut oil (or butter) it will result in more of a crust topping that spreads over the entire muffin. It seems like the opposite should happen as the dough with the softened coconut oil is much crumblier before baking. But for whatever sciency reason, the melted oil gives you that real-deal "crumb" look.

Moving on....

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

And because I'm slightly strange and don't like crunchy things in my muffin but they're okay on top of my muffin, I've added cacao nibs to the crumb topping.

It provides a delicate crunch and slightly bitter, chocolaty bite to contrast all of that sweet vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective
Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

Print Recipe!

Vanilla Muffins with Crumb Topping (gf)

heavily adapted from my citrus poppy seed muffins (guest post on 80-twenty)
yields: 12 standard muffins

for the crumb toppings:

  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons muscovado sugar (or coconut sugar/sucanat)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cacao bean nibs

for the muffins:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 6 tablespoons muscovado sugar (or coconut sugar/sucanat)
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon packed vanilla beans, scraped from appx. 2 plump pods
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted unrefined coconut oil (lightly cooled)

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

Pour the coconut oil for the crumb topping in a small mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract and stir. Then add the oat flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Stir/mash with a fork until a cohesive dough forms, similar in consistency to a soft cookie dough. Mix in the cacao nibs. Set aside. 

Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a large bowl stir the oat flour, almond flour, sugar, sorghum flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined.

In another bowl, briskly whisk the milk and vanilla beans together until the beans are evenly distributed. Add in the eggs, applesauce, and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the oil and then immediately pour into the dry bowl. Stir until you no longer see dry flour.

Scoop into the muffin liners, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top. Break up the crumble topping and sprinkle over top of the muffins. Quickly place in the oven and bake for 17-22 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown and a toothpick comes out nearly clean. You want the toothpick slightly sticky (but not gooey). Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least more 20 minutes before serving.


Notes:

  • I used Rodelle's Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract and Madagascar Vanilla Beans in this recipe.
  • To get the most from your vanilla beans, steep them in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then, blot dry, trim the ends with a pairing knife, slice down the center (through the top layer only), and scrape the entire inside of the pod with the dull side of your knife.
  • I do not recommend subbing any flours. However, for a stickier/denser muffin, use 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup almond flour and leave the sorghum flour out. The sorghum helps lend a fluffier texture.
  • If you don't have vanilla beans on hand: sub 2 tablespoons vanilla paste, or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla bean extract
  • In the crumb topping, feel free to add a small pinch of vanilla beans if desired. Or, instead of 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, sub 1 teaspoon vanilla paste.
  • If you want more of a crust on top of the muffin rather than a crumb topping, use 3 tablespoons softened unrefined coconut oil and reduce the oat flour to 1/2 cup. The dough will be crumbly.
Vanilla Bean Crumb Muffins | Edible Perspective

Happy weekending!

Ashley

This post was sponsored by Rodelle. Opinions are always my own and products are thoroughly tested before sharing. Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness you find here!

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat

Just a few weeks ago I left Denver on a snowy "spring" morning to travel to California for a small blogger retreat. The plane literally had to be de-iced. It was mid-April. Colorado weather can be a bit wacky, but our spring started in February this year, so I'm not complaining. I was lucky enough to be making the trek with my good friend Lauren, who also happens to be a Denver blogger.

After two hours in the air, Lauren and I were welcomed by palm trees and sunshine in LA. It felt a bit surreal. 

(A mix of iPhone and dSLR images are mixed throughout this post.)

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

We met up with Megan at the airport and in less than an hour we reached our final destination at Terranea Resort. Or as I like to call it, Disneyland for adults. 

I think my jaw remained open the first hour we were there, but most likely for the entire 2 1/2 days of our stay. There were no roller coasters or elephant ears (my childhood fav) but there was basically everything else. I instantly became the most calm version of myself and tried to breathe it all in, while drinking the complimentary champagne we received at check-in and riding on a golf cart up to our room.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

Was this seriously where we were staying? I could not have felt more grateful, lucky, or appreciative for this opportunity. What a dream.

Terranea arranged for us to stay in two of their villas that contained everything we needed and then some. We were planning on cooking and holding our group discussions in the rooms, so they worked out perfectly for what we needed. I drooled over the professional series Viking appliances. I've never stayed in a more luxurious place. I still can't stop thinking about the incredibly comfortable bed and sleeping with the cool ocean breeze coming through the sliding doors.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

group photo credit: Jay Roberts Photography

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

from left to right:

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

It was my brilliant friend Amelia, who started this idea for a blogger retreat and who put it into action and planned the entire thing. She thought of every tiny detail and worked with a few fabulous companies to make sure the retreat was perfect. And it was. 

Our first night started with a coursed dinner and wine pairings at one of Terranea's seven restaurants, mar'selWe were able to meet and talk to the head chef and hear him speak with such enthusiasm about the freshness of ingredients he used to prepare our meals. They were extremely accommodating and went above and beyond to prepare gluten-free and vegetarian options for each course.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

The next morning started with an oceanfront, sunrise spin class. I'd never actually taken a spin class before that morning and it kicked my butt. The only thing that kept me going was staring out into the ocean and watching the sun start to peak up over the horizon.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

After cleaning up from the killer spin class, we all made breakfast together in the villa. I loved this aspect of the trip. We huddled together in the kitchen, sipping coffee + scoping out the spread that Stonyfield and Nature's Path sent our way. I made two separate breakfast bowls each morning. One bowl was filled with Greek yogurt and piled high with toppings, and the other was filled with oatmeal and nut butter, of course.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

We had a full agenda planned for the day, with group discussions on a variety of topics we deal with as bloggers and freelancers. We were paired off with another blogger prior to coming to the retreat and assigned topics. The topics ranged from things like, "social media and time management," to, "how to grow your following." Each topic was extremely relevant and everyone who presented had smart and useful ideas.

I learned an incredible amount of new-to-me things but at the same time couldn't help but feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm not a social media sleuth, I barely know what SEO means, I am not the best at scheduling things ahead, and accounting has been known to send me into a panic.

But through the sessions I learned something more valuable than SEO or the best way to use Twitter + Facebook. I learned that it's okay to not know how to do everything. That may sound silly or like it should be obvious, but it was reassuring to hear others say that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. We all have different focuses for our careers, while they may all center around or stem from blogging. There were specific things we each felt experienced in and sharing that knowledge was the whole point of the trip. 

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

We had a break for lunch that was prepared for us in the villa with many items from the gardens on site. We also got to sample fresh honey from the bees that are cared for on the property. Above you'll see a very fresh gazpacho that Lauren helped the chef whip up. Below you'll find the meal I want to eat every day of my life.

The perfectly creamy risotto had fresh herbs and strands of lemon zest running through it. The purple mash was actually made from cauliflower. I tried to recreate it home this week, which resulted in a major fail. The carrots were perfectly tender and the beans tasted like they had been picked that day.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

We continued with the sessions after lunch, had a few hours for free time, and then headed to Nelson's for sunset cocktails and more blog talk. 

Dinner that night was casual. We created a huge salad buffet in our villa with everything you can imagine, including avocados so ripe they melt in your mouth.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

The following morning (also the day we were leaving) started with a 6am walk. There are running and walking paths that stretch for miles and weave all around the property. This was such a unique feature I've never seen at a hotel or resort before. The trails were so well disguised by the natural landscape you almost didn't even notice they were there.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com
Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

After another double breakfast bowl morning, we continued with the last few sessions before people started to depart. My favorite of which was the "mastermind session," where we each had one minute to describe a problem we're dealing with. Then, each person had a few minutes to offer their advice on your question/problem. This really helped me realize where my time is best spent and how to be okay with not knowing or doing it all. After hearing advice and gaining support from these seven other brilliant women, it finally clicked for me.

After the sessions wrapped up I tried to savor the last few hours of ocean air.

Terranea Resort Blogger Retreat | edibleperspective.com

Disclosure: An enormous thank you to Terranea Resort for so generously providing us with the villas we stayed in, more than enough wine, the spin class, and outstanding food. An equally large thank you to Stonyfield and Nature's Path for paying for our travel and stocking our kitchen with delicious breakfast items during our stay. This post was not sponsored. All opinions are my own. I appreciate your continued support!

And the biggest thank you of all to Amelia, for planning this unforgettable retreat!

Ashley