Recipe: Lemon-Cherry-Hazelnut Muffins (Vegan)



These muffins are chock-full of goodness: whole grains, hazelnuts, cherries, apples, and zucchini, plus a little booze to make everything even better. Assembling the muffins requires more steps than my usual recipes, but the taste makes it worth it—or so my non-vegan taste testers told me between bitefuls.



  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • cookie sheet
  • muffin tin with 12 2 ½-inch cups
  • cooling rack
  • small saucepan


  • 1½ cup rolled oats (quick or instant)
  • ⅓ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1¼ cup whole-wheat flour (use white whole-wheat flour if available)
  • ¼ coconut flour (you can use wheat or other flour if you don’t have coconut flour, but use¼ cup water instead of the ⅓ listed below)
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or equivalent non-sugar sweetener such as xylitol
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as coconut or canola)
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon extract
  • ½ cup black cherry liqueur, cherry schnapps, or cherry brandy
  • ½ cup dried fruit, preferably something tart like cranberries, red plums or sour cherries


  1. Toss the oats and hazelnuts and spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Toast in a 400°F oven until slightly golden (about 12 minutes), stirring once or twice. Let cool.
  2. Heat the cherry liqueur in a small saucepan. Add the dried fruit and simmer for two minutes, then let rest until cool and most of the alcohol is absorbed.
  3. Set aside a quarter cup of the oat and nut mixture. Put the rest in a mixing bowl with the flours, baking soda and cardamom. Mix together.
  4. Mix the applesauce, zucchini, water, oil, sweetener, lemon extract, and flax together in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients are wet. Batter should be somewhat lumpy.
  6. Stir in dried fruit.
  7. Spoon batter into lined or greased muffin tin. Fill each cup about three-quarters full.
  8. Sprinkle the tops with the oat and hazelnut mixture that you set aside earlier.
  9. Bake at 400°F for 17 minutes, or until the tops are firm and golden brown.
  10. Cool on racks before eating.

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