Not long ago I was challenged.....to make a "healthy muffin". I thought about it for a minute. Asked..."you mean, as in...good for you? Whole wheat? Applesauce? Low fat? That sort of thing?!" And all the while, wondering...why would I want to do that? Next thing I knew.....I heard myself saying..."sure" (in a small, doubtful voice). When I think of "healthy muffins"....I think of earthy, lacking in flavor...cardboard tasting muffins. Probably because that's what the ones I've had at those coffee shops tasted like. Even the not so healthy ones aren't all that great. I usually end up eating the tops off of them and tossing out the rest. (Is that why I have a muffin top?)
I took up the challenge and got started right away. I looked up several recipes. Came across a few that claimed to be healthy but contained things like corn syrup and white flour. I'm sure there are several recipes out there that are wonderful and perfectly healthy. I just didn't come across them and my attention span was waning.
After some research (watching Good Eats) and making some major alterations to a few recipes combined, I came up with a wonderful recipe. The muffins were moist, light and very flavorful. I did some calculations and found out that each muffin is about 163 cal (most those coffee shop muffins are over double in cals. (at least)....holy cow!!) and they didn't taste anything like cardboard. You wouldn't even know they're whole wheat AND contain wheat bran. Actually....these beauties taste like those famous Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies. If your News Years resolution this year has anything to do with changing some of your eating habits, this would be perfect.
Say you're not into raisins? Just add some berries instead (or nothing). Want a little crunch? Add some nuts. I think if you take the basics of this recipe and just swap out the cinnamon and/or raisins...you can make it anything you want.
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 TB vegetable oil
1 TB honey (optional)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 TB or so of raw sugar (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375' F
Spray 12 muffin tins with the cooking spray
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, bran, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, yogurt, oil, honey, egg and vanilla.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add the applesauce mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. You don't want to over stir or you'll end up with a dense muffin. (These aren't like cupcakes which require lots of beating).
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with the raw sugar.
Bake for 18 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched in the center.
Immediately remove from the tins and let cool a tiny bit before eating.
And there you have it....muffins that are so good you won't believe they're healthy.
I think I would consider this challenge a victory.
If I don't see you until next year....have a happy, safe and prosperous New Year!