Friday, October 26, 2012

38 Power Foods, Week 20 -- Papaya -- Papaya-Candied Ginger Muffins with Cashews

A crispy-moist, very gingery muffin made with oats, whole wheat, and yogurt. Don't tell.

Somewhere on toward 6:30 and there was no light anywhere that October morning. Only the too-lazy-to-make-their-own-coffee guys were struggling down the street to the gas station where ethanol-fragranced cheap brews waited.   No birds stirred.  The dogs slept on.  Donning jeans and t-shirt in the dark, she searched for her moccasins by sitting down and feeling around on the floor of the closet with her hands. Toddling down the hall to the bathroom, she made peace with her body, and then carefully made her way down the stairs, feeling each tread with her toes before proceeding to the next.

She approached it as she would a whole shark awaiting skinning, butchering, boning, and fileting down there in the deep, dark Saint Paul kitchen that morning. Coming around the corner, flipping on the light and the coffee maker in the same movement, she saw the big papaya waiting on the counter.  The big fruit didn't know its last minute (save the time it took to brew the coffee)  had arrived.  And she had no idea how she was going to kill it.

In other words, I didn't know from papaya. (Except all sliced up on a brunch buffet; I'm a mango girl.)

Looked like I should peel it, so I did.

Hmph.  I chopped off the ends. 

Sliced it down the middle.  This thing was gorgeous!  No wonder they call it "Fruit of the Angels."  A little light was peeping through the shades in the dining room.

I sliced the papaya into moons and then chopped it up finely.  Next, I mixed up the wet and dry ingredients for the muffins in the 8-cup Pyrex (my go-to muffin bowl) and spooned the batter into the greased tins with my ice cream scoop:

These appear to bake forever and, actually, they do.  Count on 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.  They'll be quite browned.

By then the dogs were padding around yawning.  (file photo)

Hey, Dave!  It's breakfast!

papaya-candied ginger muffins with cashews  makes 14*
      These muffins are not the biggest powerhouse of nutrition, but neither are they shirkers.  They contain whole wheat, oatmeal, cashews, yogurt, and lots of papaya.  They're also fairly low in fat, using just 1/4 cup canola oil for 14 muffins, which is less than a teaspoon of oil (40 fat calories) per muffin.  Not too bad!  I looked at six or seven papaya muffin recipes for ideas and then used my own proportions to create this recipe using things I had in the larder.

       One of my favorite Melissa Clark quotes is, "Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast."  Not so here.  Enjoy!

Background is my kitchen wall.  Love the color!

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons milk (or 3/8 of a cup)  
  •  1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder**
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like Penzey's Vietnamese cinnamon--available online)
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (can sub 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews   

  • 2 cups finely chopped papaya

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease muffin tins thoroughly.
  1. Whisk together oil, yogurt, egg, and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir together well all  of the dry ingredients (flour-cashews) in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and stir until just combined. 
  4. Add the papaya and stir gently.  Divide prepared batter evenly among greased tins.***
  5. Bake about 30 minutes until quite browned.  Muffins will be moist.
  6. Serve hot or at room temperature as is or with butter, if desired.

*I made one 12-count muffin tin full and then greased a large oven-safe coffee cup and made one extra-large muffin.  You could also use a couple of custard cups to make the extra two muffins.

**These muffins are quite dense, though not heavy.  But if you'd like a lighter muffin, try increasing the baking powder to 2 teaspoons.

***I like to use an ice cream scoop, but a big spoon will do.  

about papayas

Papayas are available year-round (though they're more prolific come summer and fall) and weigh about a pound each, though some grow much bigger.  Wonderful as is, or with plain yogurt, the beautiful orange "meat," is delicious and the seeds are edible, too.  Full of antioxidants, along with vitamins (lots of vitamin C) and minerals, the papaya also contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins.

Nutrients in
1.00 each (304.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin C313.1%

vitamin A66.5%




vitamin E11.1%

vitamin K9.8%

Calories (118)6%

chart courtesy for more information about the beautiful papaya

If I had to say what papaya tasted like, I'd wager a cross between honeydew melon and mango.  And....

I can't resist:  So buya some papaya! 


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 I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine's Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites: 

Ansh –  
Minnie Gupta from
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Sing a new song,


  1. Oh, I'll bet those muffins were good - love the combination of fruits, nuts and candied ginger. They look super moist.

    1. @Jeanette: Since I'm eating one now with my coffee (instead of my typical egg-white-veggie omelet), I'll tell you they ARE moist!

  2. I'm definitely more of a mango girl myself, but these muffins look delicious!

  3. @Martha: I was surprised how good they were. I have a muffin/quick bread recipe formula I worked out years ago to use for whatever came along, but these muffins were not going to fit that mold. The candied ginger did it, I think. Hope your weekend is perfect. Cold, but sunny here. Good day for a long walk and the pups and I did it. Chicken noodle soup on the stove now.

  4. Oh boy do these muffins sound good!! I'll be giving these a try. I love the papaya ginger combination.

  5. Those muffins in that early morning October chill...Mnnnnnnn...I love the recipe!!

  6. She killed them well! Love the recipe.


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