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I read an article the other day that said that successful people don’t do chores all weekend. I like that! Rather, they socialise and get exercise; in other words, unwind. Recharging is good for the mind, body and soul, and is the real rest that God meant when He instituted the Sabbath as a creation principle. In our household, we don’t always get the balance right, but last weekend was a success. We got out, we spent quality time together as a family, and we got a good dose of winter sunshine and exercise.

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We climbed the highest hill in our city, right to the top and back down again. My knees never let me get away with that kind of exercise; it’s the going down that takes the toll. At the top we stopped to enjoy snacks we had brought from home; water, fresh apples, sandwiches and muffins. Just the day before I had whipped up a batch of my Raspberry Almond muffins and they were very good! So good in fact, that I wanted to see if I could recreate the same lusciousness in gluten-free form.

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I can, and I did! Though these are not the first iteration… The first batch was too bland, the second batch more like brownies, and far too rich. But this lot, these are perfection! It turns out that pairing raspberries with orange and chocolate is a mighty fine idea. They give off a hint of jaffa as the chocolate fuses with orange; while the raspberries and almond keep it all moist, and the cacao nibs provide a subtle crunch. If it’s all about balance, I’m calling these a resounding success!

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Raspberry Almond Muffins with Cacao Nibs and Citrus {gf/df}
Although I’ve chosen orange and raspberries to flavour these muffins, I have no doubt they would be equally divine with lemon and blueberries!

Makes 10 muffins

Ingredients
1 cup plain (all-purpose) GF (or regular) flour
¾ cup ground almonds (almond meal – the type with skins included, not blanched)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
50g (¼ cup) dairy-free chocolate, chopped
¼ cup cacao nibs
Pinch salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup (70g) coconut oil, melted and cooled (olive oil could also work)
Finely grated zest of one orange (approx 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup (125g) fresh or frozen raspberries
Flaked or slivered almonds, to decorate

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line 10 regular size muffins tins with muffin papers. (I cut out 15cm x 15cm squares of baking paper to line each individual tin.

Sift the almond meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir in chocolate and cocoa nibs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, orange zest, juice and vanilla bean paste. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raspberries.

Fill paper lined muffin cups ¾ full and sprinkle with flaked or slivered almonds. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and dry to touch. Leave to cool 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Inspired by The Conscious Dietician

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