One of my favorite baking hacks is subbing almond or coconut milk in for dairy milk.
Knock on wood, but I have yet to have this little substitution fail on me. I’ve subbed almond or coconut milk for everything from whole milk to buttermilk [to turn almond milk into vegan buttermilk, simply add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to every cup of almond milk]. So when Blue Diamond Almonds sent me some of their Original Almond Breeze Almond Milk I knew I had to bake something and share this easy, delish hack with all of you.
While I simply adore almond milk [we don’t even buy dairy milk anymore] I didn’t start using it in baked goods for that reason alone. I love to bake for my friends and family. Whenever there’s a get together you can count on me to bake something. My thing is baking something special for the particular person, something they themselves would appreciate instead of just my favorite thing (everything can’t be peanut butter flavored, unfortunately).
A few years ago my father in law developed a very severe case of lactose intolerance and has since turned his back on dairy. As much as I love baking a pretty, impressive layer cake for them I simply couldn’t bring myself to make some milk filled dessert that would leave him in pain or, worse, leave him out. I’m not about to bring a beautiful cake to a party when I know there’s someone who won’t be able to enjoy it. At first I stuck to making pies with coconut oil crusts and other vegan treats but eventually I began experimenting with subbing vegan options in for traditional dairy ingredients. Almond milk was my first swap and after a few years of doing it I have yet to have it “ruin” an otherwise good recipe.
Milk is an essential ingredient in muffins and I’m thrilled to report that almond milk is the perfect substitute in this recipe. It’s slightly creamier than dairy milk which gives these muffins the most delightful richness.
These are much denser than a cupcake thanks to the pineapples that melt into the batter as they bake and of course the giant glob of cheesecake in the center.
Whoops….I forgot to mention that, didn’t I?
Yes. These are stuffed muffins. Cheesecake stuffed muffins. I made half of them with reduced fat Philadelphia cream cheese and the other half with vegan cream cheese. Neither Dan nor I could tell the difference between the two, so if you need to make these completely dairy free, go for the vegan cream cheese (or you could leave the filling out all together, but what fun would that be?).
The other great thing about these muffins? The topping….omg the topping. These guys are topped with an absurdly generous sprinkling of dairy free crumb topping.
I’ve called these muffins but in all seriousness, they’re cake. Cake that hides its little frosting hat inside, under the veil of a warm, melt in your mouth crumb topping.
The first thing Dan said, after inhaling one in two single bites was, “these can’t be healthy”.
Well, they’re muffins so they’re acceptable breakfast food! And! They’re dairy free!
Yea, let’s just leave it at that.
But wait, there’s fruit in them. Fruit = automatic health food. Yup. I can roll with that. So, let’s get baking and let’s do something with that almond milk other than mixing it into your coffee.
Cake for breakfast for the win.
Pineapple Coconut Cheesecake Crumb Muffins [dairy free]
Crumb Topping —
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4-1/3 cup vegan butter, melted
- 1/4 cup flaked coconut [sweetened or unsweetened]
- pinch salt
For Cheesecake Filling —
- 4 ounces cream cheese [can use regular, reduced fat or vegan cream cheese]
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
For the Muffins —
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour [I used 1 cup AP and 1/2 cup whole wheat]
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar [can sub regular white sugar]
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Blue Diamond Original Almond Milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pineapple tidbits [I used frozen]
- 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut flakes
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Next, make your crumb topping. Whisk dry ingredients together then pour melted butter over and mix together to combine. Let this set in the fridge while you work on the next steps.
To make your cream cheese filling whip cream cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Set aside.
Now, make the muffin batter. Start by whisking your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Next mix your wet ingredients (oil, egg, almond milk and vanilla) together in a separate bowl. Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Slowly stir together a few times just to incorporate being careful not to over mix. The batter will be quite thick. Finally, fold your pineapples and coconut flakes into the batter. I didn’t defrost my pineapples and let them melt into the batter while cooking.
Once the fruit is incorporated and batter is mixed fill your muffin tins about 1/4 full with batter. Use a half or full tablespoon scoop to drop rounds of cream cheese mixture onto the partially full muffin tins. Finally, use up the rest of the pineapple batter to cover the cream cheese and fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full.
Finally, grab your crumb topping from the fridge and using your hand very liberally crumble the topping onto each muffin. Make sure you squish it together to make some big clumps because who doesn’t love a couple giant crumbs on top of their muffin?
Bake your muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
NOTE: You may want to bake your muffins about 18-20 minutes if you like a dryer, more “well done” muffin. I like my muffins and any baked goods ever so slightly “gooey” and a bit underdone. I only cooked mine for 14-16 minutes.
This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. All opinions on their products and recipe are my own.