We’ve recently sprinkled a little more chocho into our lives. What is chocho, you may ask? It is not, in fact, the latest dance craze or a nickname for chorizo. Chocho is a high-protein, high-fiber, neutral-flavored Ecuadorian legume that can be ground into a flour and used in foods like hummus or smoothies. We’re particularly into using Five Suns Foods’ exclusive chocho powder (now available for presale) in baked goods — specifically, the cinnamon-scented, walnut-studded carrot muffins below. Try them out, and you’ll soon want to experiment with vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly chocho for three square meals a day.

Chocho has been eaten for generations in South American Andean communities, though its high-protein wonders are little known stateside. The legume looks similar to Italian lupini beans when whole. Per cup, choco has 27 grams of protein (most beans such as black and garbanzo beans only have 15). Though it roughly has the same amount of calories as other legumes (238 versus 227-269), it is relatively low-carb (10 grams versus 41-45). When baked, it has a neutral flavor and the consistency of delicate, glutinous rice flour like mochi.

We made a few changes to Five Suns chocho muffins get them just right. First, we used applesauce as a binder instead of water because it makes the muffins moister and fluffier. We also opted for coconut sugar (as opposed to a combination of coconut sugar and maple syrup) to allow the carrots’ natural sweetness to shine. Finally, we shredded our own carrots to create more delicate strands and reduced the bake time by about 5 or 10 minutes. Follow our new method below, and you’ll end up with sweet, cinnamon-y, full-bodied treats you can enjoy for breakfast or reheat for an afternoon snack.

CHocho carrot muffins

(Makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocho flour, available from Five Sun Foods
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4-ounce) container applesauce
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded by hand
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a muffin tin.

2. Combine flaxseed, gluten-free flour, chocho flour, psyllium husk, salt, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk until homogenous.

4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine apple sauce, coconut sugar, coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla with a whisk until homogenous.

5. Add the wet ingredients, walnuts, and carrots to the flour mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula until homogenous. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to allow the batter to chill and the dry ingredients to hydrate fully (but you can skip this step if you are in a hurry).

6. Sprinkle the baking soda and baking powder into the mixture. Fold batter with spatula until well combined. Immediately scoop batter into greased muffin tins. Batter should sit just barely below the lip of the muffin tin; this will allow the muffins to puff up voluminously.

7. Sprinkle muffins with white sesame seeds, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Reduce heat to 300°F and bake for approximately 5 more minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Skip this step if the muffins are fragrant and the toothpick test comes out clean)

9. Remove muffins from oven and allow to cool completely before enjoying.

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(Recipe adapted from Five Sun Foods; styling via Cassidy Miller / Brit + Co; photos via Brittany Griffin / Brit + Co)