Featured Ingredient: Amaranth
This is the first time amaranth has been featured on Muffin Tin Mania. What a shame!
While quinoa is all the rage among gluten-free grains, amaranth possesses some serious nutritional prowess as well. A cup serving is packed with fiber, protein, iron, selenium and magnesium. Though often under consumed, magnesium has been found to help slash the risk of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Similar to quinoa, the protein in amaranth is considered to be complete making it a valuable protein source for both vegetarians and meatarians. I’ve never had the chance to try amaranth greens, but I would like to someday.
You can prepare amaranth like you would other grains by simmering in liquid or you can also pop it like popcorn.
I’ve done this before to make a fanciful cereal. It also works well to make crispy chocolate bites. These are seriously dangerous to have around the house as it’s hard to stop at just one a day. At least they are full of nutritional goodness. I highly recommend adorning them with a whisper of salt for the complete package.
Chocolate Amaranth Crisps
3 tablespoons amaranth
Fleur de Sel (optional)
Heat a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. When a drop of water energetically sizzles in the pan, add in 1 tablespoon amaranth (don’t add more!), cover with a lid and as soon as the popping begins vigorously shake the pan until most of the amaranth has popped, about 10 to 15 seconds. If amaranth burns, try shaking the pot about 1-inch off of the heat element as the popping occurs. You also may need to reduce the heat. After a couple times you’ll get the hang of it so have some extra amaranth on hand for failed batches. Remove amaranth from the pot to a bowl and repeat with remaining grain.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of very lightly simmering water, stirring often. Or microwave chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 20 to 30 second increments, stirring after each interval until everything is melted.
Stir 6 to 8 tablespoons popped amaranth into the melted chocolate along with cayenne or chili powder if using. Divide mixture among 12 mini sized muffin cups and sprinkle each with Fleur de sel. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 1hour.