I live in apple land. I could stand on my front step, throw an apple and hit at least 3 sizable apple trees and visit many more if I walked up the meadow. Not that I would throw apples around like that, though the chickens would be delighted. I'm not a forester but I would estimate most of the apple trees on this land are roughly 30-40 years old. They are healthy trees with abundant flowering in the spring and heavy fruiting in the fall. We have lived here for 3 years and haven't done any pruning except a branch here or there for botanical dye purposes. It doesn't look like any pruning was done in the last decade before we moved here either. Makes me think of the fruit tree pruning epiphany in Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution.
Ashwagandha, on the other hand, I cultivate in the garden and tend to like many would a tomato, ashwagandha's nightshade cousin. That is to say, I dote on my ashwagandha plants. I seed them on heat mats in early spring, transfer them into incrementally larger pots in the hoop house until I can plant them in rich garden soil. In the autumn, once they are dying back from the cold exposure, I collect their seeds and dig up their roots. Ashwagandha's ancestral home is in India and Africa where they are staples of the traditional medicine systems. My friend Petra of Fruition Seeds, and I recorded a free webinar on how to grow, save seed, and make medicine with ashwagandha. And it's ASL interpreted. Check it out here!
I could go on, but I know you are here for the recipe, so with no further introduction:
1 cup gf all purpose flour or millet or regular all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp ashwagandha power
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice
1/3 cup olive or coconut oil. I bet butter would work too, just melt the solids
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
a handful of dark chocolate chips (completely option and extra delicious)
- Preheat the over to 375F. Line/oil/prepare muffin pan.
- Whisk flours, baking powder, ashwagandha, poppy, and spices in a large bowl. Break up any clumps with special attention to the almond flour, which is prone to clumping.
- Break eggs into a medium sized bowl and whisk. Add milk of choice, maple syrup, freshly squeezed juice, oil, vanilla, salt and whisk until combined.
- Chop one side of an apple into slices and put them to the side. Shred the rest of the apple with a box shredder and stir it into the wet mix.
- Add wet to dry and stir with a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips, trying to make a few strokes as possible. Stop when just combined.
- Spoon into 12 muffin cups. Decorate with a thin slice of apple or 2 on the top of each muffin and spring with poppy seeds.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Keeps on the counter in an airtight container for 2 days and in the fridge for four days.
Please let me know if you try the recipe :) I would love to see how it turns out!
This recipe was inspired by Amy Chaplin's Gluten Free Apple Poppy Seed Muffin recipe in her 2019 book, Whole Food Cooking Every Day. I spent a week tweaking her recipe to find the balance of enough ashwagandha to have a therapeutic effect, but not enough to throw off the taste of the muffin. Enjoy!
P.S. I made these muffins while listening to Isabel Wilkerson on The Daily podcast reflecting on her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” and America’s 400 year old caste system. Observing MLK day today and the brilliance of Black Americans every day. Take care of yourself and each other.