Sunflower Muffins

by Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LD  •  Jump to Recipe

Science experiment or sunflower muffins? This recipe can be a little bit of both! We are happy to report that these green-spangled gems are completely safe for consumption despite their color. If you’ve been a fan of our recipes for a while, when we share something with a green tint, your instinct may be to peak at the ingredient list first, looking for either kale or spinach. There were several recipes where that would be the end of this mystery. However, not this time! So, what exactly turned these (actually) delicious muffins green?

Ready to review chemical concepts that solve this case? The actual culprit is our very own Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter! Curiously, the compound in sunflower seeds responsible for the muffins turning green is also a nutritional hero! Chlorogenic acid is the main polyphenol present in sunflower seeds; it has potent and beneficial antioxidant properties. However, when in contact with oxygen and accelerated by the heat of baking, it forms a green complex. Similarly, this is how apples turn brown after being cut and exposed to air. It doesn’t help that it is also enhanced under alkaline conditions, which is exactly the job of baking soda, to bring the pH back up a bit for the muffins to rise. The addition of an acid and just the right amount of baking soda —not too much— can possibly help avoid this chemical reaction. But why would we ever want to avoid this gorgeous green? Besides, it’s a great way to make holiday goodies without the need for artificial coloring!

Now let’s get back to the kitchen where you can of course experiment with the amounts of lemon juice or vinegar added and just enough baking soda for the recipe to work. The recipe below was tested with 2 teaspoons of lemon and ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and the results yielded were still green muffins. The taste was superb, so we were happy to end our experiments with a warm cup of coffee and fresh out- of- the- oven green muffins. However, if you are so inclined to find just the right amounts, please do share your recipe with us in the comments section!

Want another muffin recipe? Try our Cardamon Muffin Recipe!


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