Custom Search

Friday, August 6, 2010

Foody Friday: Ridiculously Healthy Muffins

A little bit about my meals at work: I don't get them. No lunch break, no coffee break, no dinner break. Honestly I'd be hard pressed for a minute to grab a bag of peanut butter cups off the shelf to stuff into my mouth between phone calls. My work is INSANELY busy but I need to find a way to eat during the day!
One solution, besides pre-cut fruit and veggies (easy to eat between, you know, phone calls) is nutrient-packed muffins. They are the perfect work food because:
1. They freeze beautifully and defrost wonderfully.
2. They're portable.
3. They can contain complex carbs, protein, fat, and fiber to keep you full (maybe even trick your tummy into thinking you got lunch).
4. They happen to be yummy.
I like to make a big batch of muffins and freeze all but a few of them. I bring one to work straight out of the freezer; usually it is defrosted and perfect by the time I want to eat it (if it is still kind of chilly I microwave it for 5-10 seconds).
My recipe? Well, it constantly evolves. I'm going to ask you to be brave here. I'm asking you to make muffins without a recipe. It's not hard, because I do it all the time.* Here is my back-bone "recipe":

2 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute - soy flour plus water or flax etc)
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (or more - many home bakers do not add enough salt and the finished product is yucky)

- Some fruit or veg component, 2-3 cups: grated carrots or zucchini, applesauce, pineapple, mashed banana, chopped apple, whatever you have on hand. This adds moisture.
- Sweetener: I use honey, molasses, sometimes maple syrup. If the batter looks too moist, I may use brown sugar to prevent thin batter. I add to taste (yeah, I taste my batter - I use soy flour instead of egg so this is safe).
- Nuts
- Dried fruit: It tastes best if briefly soaked in a little hot water before adding.
- Spices

- Fats. If you added any kind of mashed or pureed fruit, you don't need any fats. But suppose all you added was grated carrots - then you'll need some sort of fat to hold the batter together. I use sour cream - about 1/4 cup. If you don't do dairy you can use oil.
- Oats. I generally add oats to the batter last so I can see how wet my batter is. You do not want this to be a very wet batter: moist and lumpy is what you're going for. After adding the oats, let the batter sit for at least 5 minutes. This allows the oats to soften and the leavening process initializes. Since muffins don't take long to cook, they don't have a lot of time to rise. These muffins are so heavy they need a little extra help!

Once your batter is ready, spoon it into greased muffin tins (don't stir it down). I usually get 15 muffins from this "recipe". Bake at 350 until done (check at 10 minutes but may take longer).
When the muffins are done, allow to cool for a minute or two while you lay out squares of plastic wrap. Put warm muffins on the wrap and wrap up. The plastic seals because of the heat and keeps the moisture in. Let cool to room temp, then freeze.

Some recent combinations I've made:
- Apples, carrots, raisins, walnuts, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg
- Bananas, pineapple, dried coconut, dried mango (no oats)
- Carrots, molasses, candied ginger, sultanas, pecans, ginger, cloves, cinnamon

Try some and see if you don't love it...then share your recipes with me :)

*Actually I sold muffins at a health food store when I was a teenager; this is when I developed my backbone recipe and my muffin-wrapping technique!


  1. I wonder how they woudl turn out if I used a gluten free flour. Unfortunately, I usually can't just swap out regular flour for GF flour... but maybe if I used some xanthan gum it would work... I haven't had a muffin a year when my mom made some special gluten free muffins for me for the morning of my sister's post-weddign brunch..... Oh how I miss things like muffins... but I am usually too lazy to bake... and gf baking is sort of touch and go. Some things turn out great (like my banana bread). Others? Not so much. I forgot this, but I did try to make pumpkins muffins last fall. Epic. Fail. They were inedible.

  2. These look so yummy!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!

  3. OK-these look awesome. I LOVE MUFFINS!!

    Thank you!!!!

  4. mmm...i made zucchini banana muffins on wed night and they are healthified (part applesauce and less sugar). And they taste great!

  5. thank you once again for finding me! i can't wait to read your blog!