by Brad Nelson 1/17/15
I made it through the holidays mostly intact. My last weigh-in was 195 lbs. The five different types of Christmas cookies that I baked didn’t help. They were high-calorie all the way.
But baking the cookies did stoke at least a short-term interest in seeing what else I could bake. I ran across a book at the second-hand store: Secrets of Fat-Free Baking. In it were some fairly easy recipes for muffins, including those of the blueberry kind.
You don’t usually think of bread or baked goods in terms of low-cal food. But these muffins are about 100 calories or so. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you can expect that this is a different kind of muffin than the ones smothered in butter and sugar. Oh, I think they’re very good. But I think many people’s expectations (and tastes) will be challenged by something this low-cal in a muffin.
For those who don’t need muffins that come out of the School of Slobocracy, then this could be for you. With the addition of blueberries, you get a finished product that is moist and sweet. For me it’s been a nice snack in place of higher-calories and less healthy desserts. In fact, I had two of them this morning for breakfast. I make them and freeze them and they’re then only a couple microwave minutes away. Here’s the recipe:
1-1/2 cups flower (use whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cup oat bran (a finely-milled variety if you can)
3 tbsp Truvia sweetener
4 tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of clove (a new addition)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (a new addition)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup low-fat (or no-fat) milk
1/2 ripe banana (liquified or at least mushed up pretty good)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries (frozen is okay)
5 pieces dried apricot chopped coarse
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts chopped coarse (pecans are preferred)
Directions: Mix the dry ingredients together. Add to this the wet ingredients and stir until mixed. Fold in the blueberries and pecans (or walnuts).
Spoon into muffin cups coated with nonstick cooking spray and fill almost to the top. Bake at 350ºF 16 to 18 minutes (as short as you can get away with…a wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Note: You will get a nicer muffin if you use the whole wheat pastry flour. Regular whole wheat flour will work, but they bake up a little rougher. I’d go with the pastry kind.
You can use a little more brown sugar if you like. The original recipe called for 1 cup vanilla yogurt. But I just found it easier to use a 1/2 banana for some of the sweetness. And these in no way taste like banana muffins. If you want to get creative, you can substitute other things (such as apple butter or honey) for the brown sugar. But using the brown sugar in place of regular granulated sugar (the original recipe called for 1/3 cup of granulated sugar) allows you to use less sugar. Brown sugar (coated as it is with molasses) is sweeter.
The walnuts and apricots are to add a little oomph to the muffins and keep them from being boring. One could also add a pinch of salt to this. But I’ve tried to refrain from junking these up (plus I often have just a bit of margarine on them when I eat them which certainly does add some salt).
I usually use frozen blueberries so I can have them on hand. And I freeze the dried apricot pieces as well in order to make them easier to chop. This is a minimalist recipe and can certainly be added to. But I think it works on its own. And it is certainly low-cal and actually not bad for you as well.
Also, the original recipe called for using 2 egg whites. But I just found that a pain in the ass to do and hating wasting the yokes. But you could certainly do that. And muffins are a nice thing to make because, relatively speaking, there isn’t that much clean-up work to do.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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