If you’ve read How to Be an Elephant or you’ve seen one of my book talks, then you already know that I love talking about poop. Specifically, I love talking about elephant poop, because it’s so important for both baby elephants and their ecosystem as a whole. African elephants are “dietary generalists,” which means they can make a meal out of all kinds of leaves, grasses, and bark, but their digestive systems aren’t very efficient, so they absorb less than 50% of the nutrients they eat. The resulting dung is not only a source of food for baby elephants, but it also provides plants with moisture, nutrients, and physical protection as they grow. A food and a fertilizer? What could be better! How about a still-steaming, freshly baked Elephant Poop Muffin? You know you want one.
After experimenting with several recipes for taste, texture, and appearance, here’s my formula for how to make the best elephant poop muffins around.* Have fun, improvise as needed, and if you serve these muffins to your students (or at an upcoming holiday meal), please, please, please, send me pictures, and I’ll share them in a future newsletter. Hurray for poop!!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow, blue, and red food coloring
1 tablespoon wheat bran (for topping)
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Combine wheat bran and buttermilk; set aside for ten minutes.
- Combine eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add it to the wheat bran/buttermilk mixture.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir it into the mixture.
- Add several drops of yellow food coloring and thoroughly stir it into the mixture. Add 1–2 drops of blue food coloring and 1–2 drops of red food coloring, thoroughly stirring until blended. Continue to add 1–2 drops at a time of yellow, blue, and red until the batter approximates the green-yellow color of elephant poop.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with wheat bran.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 16–18 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Enjoy!
*This recipe is an adaptation of this muffin recipe and does not contain real elephant poop. 🙂