Monday, January 14, 2013

Fruit and Walnut Muffins

You have to be careful with muffins. Like so many other pastries, they walk an uncomfortable line between qualifying as "breakfast" and "dessert."  And why is that? You'd never confuse a tuna fish sandwich for breakfast food, (or dessert for that matter) so why does, say, a cinnamon roll count as something that should be able to start your day off right?

I don't know, but it's definitely one more reason to find out what's in your food, whether that means preparing it yourself or being able to have an open discussion with your local baker. While muffins and other pastries can make a great quick breakfast when you're running late, they are not all created equal, and some contain little more than sugar and white flour. In addition to being a poor choice for your health in the long run, these empty calories won't give you the energy you need from the first meal of the day, and will more often that not leave you daydreaming about lunch by 10 AM.

So here's my attempt at a breakfast treat that's high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates.


1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened apple sauce (make sure it doesn't contain citric acid)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dried fruit of your choice (I prefer cranberries)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Grease muffin tins. 
3. Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
4. In a smaller bowl, blend maple syrup, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended.
5. Dump wet ingredients into the large bowl and stir just until blended. Texture should still be thick.
6. Fold in fruit and nuts until evenly mixed.
7. Fill muffin tins about 1/2 way. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until muffins are golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Set the tins to cool on a rack for a few minutes before gently separating muffins from tin with a knife and popping them out. These will get stale pretty quick, so I recommend leaving a few out at a time and keeping the rest frozen.

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