Thursday, February 11, 2010

Better For You Whole Wheat Muffins

I mentioned whole wheat muffins yesterday precipitated by Mark Bittman's recipe in the New York Times. I dug out my old recipe for same and it's a little different but basically the same. Mine uses apple sauce and cinnamon and I have made them with banana and pumpkin as well. Mark suggests using other soft fruits and vegetables such as sweet potato, zucchini or other squash.  I made muffins yesterday with apple sauce and they were just as good as I remembered. Not as light and fluffy as a muffin made with A/P flour and lots of sugar but good and much better for you and especially if you need to keep some control over your blood sugar. These aren't guilt free as they have butter and sugar but definitely a step in the right direction. Here is my recipe which makes 12 regular muffins.

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Preheat your oven to 375 F and grease two 6-cup muffin tins or one 12 cup(Duh!) You can use the little paper cupcake paper thingys if you want. I just use canola cooking spray.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, ( whole wheat pastry flour makes a lighter muffin if you can find it and I prefer it or King Arthur White Whole Wheat works well too.)
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar( you can use regular granulated sugar if you want and I only use 3/4 cup for my apple version. If you use something less sweet like sweet potato or pumpkin then go the whole cup.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter ( if you only have salted butter or margarine then omit the salt)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda(this is for the buttermilk)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt(1/4 tsp table salt)
1 cup apple sauce (or mashed banana, or canned pumpkin)
1 beaten large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt(if using). In another bowl, mix the melted butter, apple sauce(or whatever), egg and buttermilk. Add the wet into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Don't over mix and don't worry if there are a few lumps, its better to under mix than to over mix and get the gluten in the flour all excited. You'll have tough muffins if you mix it too much.
Divide the batter into each of the 12 cups and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. I test mine at 25 minutes with a wooden toothpick or bamboo skewer and they are usually done. These muffins are really best when they are warm from the oven but they will keep for a few days and 15 seconds in the microwave will help them the next day. I should add that if you want to add a half cup of raisins or nuts to the batter no problem but not any more than a half cup.
This is a pretty flexible recipe when it comes to the fruit and spice so play around. Maybe use pumpkin pie spice if you are using the pumpkin or just a half tsp of nutmeg. Vanilla plays well with bananas. I imagine grated carrot would work and I might pair it with ginger. As long as you keep the flour, fat, egg, buttermilk, soda and baking powder constant you should be ok.

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