Much of the time, the ideas for my keto and low carb concoctions are really rather random. I might be rambling through the produce section and spy some staggeringly sexy looking vegetable, or I’ll affectionately remember something I used to love eating when I was young and use that as a starting point for a much healthier version. Every once in a while I have a plan. And these Apricot Cardamom Muffins were definitely, thoroughly planned.
There was absolutely nothing random about these Apricot Cardamom Muffins. They were inspired by a donut. A very particular donut. A very special donut. I made them in honor of the world’s best donut – the Apricot Cardamom Donut – which can be found in abundance, languishing in a deep fat fryer over at Dynamo Donuts, in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District.
My first rendezvous with this glorious donut-of-all-donuts came after a chance encounter with a stranger at Lennox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, long before Dr. Ted Naiman came charging into my life with all this talk of curing my BiPolar II disorder and ridding me of my pre-diabetic status. I was still living in it-doesn’t-matter-what-I-do-I-can’t-lose-weight land. Donuts were my friend.
Since that first taste of the exquisiteness that is Dynamo’s Apricot Cardamom Donut, I have been entirely unable to go anywhere near San Francisco without swinging by to eat one. Or, let’s face it – several. On New Years Day 2012 – on my drive back to Seattle from a 2-week photo shoot to Southern California – I detoured 83 miles off the I-5 and paid road tolls in order to drive through San Francisco expressly to stop and eat Apricot Cardamom Donuts at Dynamo. And last April, those brilliant folks at Dynamo made a batch of them just for me when they found out I was leaving for the long haul back to Seattle the next day. Yeah. I am *really* fond of these donuts.
With San Francisco drive-by memories of donut awesomeness careering around my brain it occurred to me that all I had to do was create a keto / low carb version. Ding! Ding! Ding! So in honor of the finest donut ever to pass my lips, I give you Apricot Cardamom Muffins.
The smell wafting around the CB kitchen while these Apricot Cardamom Muffins were baking was fragrantly delicious beyond description. I almost could not wait to pull them out of the oven. And when they were out, I was in Apricot Cardamom heaven. Not to mention that everyone who got a taste let out a chorus of “Mmmmmmmmm’s!!” when they tried them. These might just be my favorite thing I’ve made yet.
I turned them into Apricot Cardamom Cupcakes by making some Apricot Frosting and took some to a MiniFest at The 2 Keto Dudes Carl Franklin’s house. Carl’s reaction was epic. Nodding slowy, he exclaimed, “These cupcakes are the **bleep** BOMB!!” I think he liked them. Another tester said, “I feel like I could be sitting in a Parisian café sipping coffee and eating fantastic cake”. They were exceedingly popular. Exceedingly.
If you tried the Cinnamon Pecan Muffins, these are quite different. These Apricot Cardamom Muffins are more like cake than the rugged, nuttiness of the Cinnamon Pecan ones. And given that I am perpetually confused over American names for food, I wondered if I should call these Apricot Cardamom Cupcakes instead – whether or not they have frosting. Which got me thinking about whether I even understood what the difference was between the two. I didn’t. A short search on the internet set me straight though, and made me feel better; because it turns out no one knows. I found a hundred different – often heated – debates on the difference between the two. Blimey, the things people get upset about. In the end I decided to go with my favorite cupcake v. muffin difference quote:
“Nothing,” the pastry chef said, explaining that when it comes to breakfast, Americans have a Puritanical inhibition. “Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast”.
Call them a muffin or call them a cupcake – eat these Apricot Cardamom Muffins for breakfast and have yourself a seriously keto and delicious start to your day. And if frosting is your thing, just head for that recipe: Apricot Frosting and you’ll magically have cupcakes instead.
These have around 7g carbs per muffin, so if you have to stay under 20g carbs per day to stay in ketosis, you might want to leave the apricots out or wait until you’re closer to your goals before you choose to have one. Or, make them as mini cupcakes and don’t overeat them.
Apricot Cardamom Muffins
What You Need
- Coconut oil or avocado oil spray
- ½ oz / 15g chia seeds
- 6 ½ oz / 125g almond flour / ground almonds (NOT meal)
- 1 oz / 28g egg white powder
- 3 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 oz / 55g erythritol OR allulose
- 4 oz / 110g dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup / 6 fl oz. cold water
What You Do
- Spray 12 silicone muffin cups with coconut or avocado oil spray and place in muffin pan. Make mini muffins by simply using smaller muffin cups. Check out what they look like here: Mini Apricot Cardamom Cupcakes.
- Grind the chia seeds in a coffee grinder until very fine. (If you use a Vitamix be very careful you do not end up with chia butter!)
- Tip ground chia into a mixing bowl and add the almond flour, egg white powder, cardamom, baking powder, salt, and erythritol OR allulose and mix thoroughly.
- Add the chopped apricots and rub through the dry ingredients with your fingers to separate the pieces.
- Whisk the eggs and cold water in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing quickly until completely combined.
- Carefully pour or spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups – they should be slightly under-filled.
- Place in center of oven at 300F for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes until you can handle the silicone cups.
- Turn each cup top down in one hand, and using the other hand gently squeeze the sides of the cup all the way round until the sides release and the muffin pops out. Be gentle.
- Place each muffin on a cooling rack to cool.
Top Recipe Tips
- Allulose will give you a browner muffin.
- You can use black or white chia seeds. White chia seeds will give you a lighter color. Nutritionally they are the same.
- Yes, you really do need to spray the silicone cups with oil prior to using them. Trust me. And don’t ask me how I know.
- I find it easiest to ‘chop’ the apricots using a pair of scissors.
- Make sure you use cold water to mix the muffins. If you use hot water you will activate the baking powder too early. You don’t want that to happen until you get them in the oven.
- Only buy the mount of cardamom you need. You do not want to buy extra and then not use it as it’s potency fades over time and it’s one of the more expensive spices.
- Check out the Ingredients Guide for information on ingredients.
- Where Are The Macros and Nutritional Info?
Helpful Cooking and Recipe Links
- More baked goods recipes
- Come laugh and learn with us over at The Kitchen Podcast
- Come hang out in The Keto Kitchen Facebook Group
- For lots more great recipes check out our scrumptious cookbooks!
- Check out the categories and tags at the bottom of the post to help you find more recipes using certain ingredients or from certain categories.
Podcast Episodes and You Tube Videos
- How and Why to Measure Food
- Where Are The Macros and Nutritional Info?
- Keto / Low Carb Treats: should you eat them? Hear what Dr. Ken Berry and I have to say about it!
- Don’t. Just buy the correct ingredients and you, too, shall have a fabulous outcome!
- Erythritol or allulose are the sweeteners I recommend because they work very well. You can use any other sweetener you like, but I cannot guarantee the results if you choose to use something different. In low carb and keto baking sweeteners are generally not interchangeable if you want great results.