Blueberry Muffins – healthy


Blueberries don’t have a lot of flavor, but they do have sex appeal. Those plump dark purplish berries just call to me. Break into a blueberry muffin and if you see lots of warm, gooey blueberries greeting you, it’s going to be a good day. OK, not as sexy as chocolate, but right up there. I try not to eat chocolate for breakfast (TRY) so blueberries are the next best thing.

blueberries inside

And if they are a bit healthy and very flavorful – so much the better. I think I’ve been searching for a GREAT blueberry muffin most of my life. Some are too doughy, or too cakelike or oily or too sweet. Some fall flat – either in texture or flavor.

I’ve been messing around with this particular recipe for over a year and when Ken (da hubby) bit into one this morning and said, “Oh Wow!” I knew I had to take notes. Ken is the strong silent type who usually only grunts his approval. A full-on “Oh Wow” is a homerun.

Healthy blueberries muffins

First a note about the berries. I used frozen, but I let them sit in a bit of water for 2-3 minutes and then drained them for 10 min. I have found that putting completely frozen berries into batters confuses the batter. The batter surrounding the frozen berries takes longer to bake and the rest gets overly done. Not ideal.

One more note – about the orange juice. We typically don’t drink fruit juices, because we are told that we should just “eat the fruit.” But I do keep a can of frozen orange juice concentrate in my freezer to use in recipes like this one. I just use a ratio of 1 part frozen juice concentrate to three parts water. For example, if you want 1/2 cup orange juice, use 2 TBS concentrate to 6 TBS water.
Enough about the notes, here’s the recipe.

great texture

Ingredients for Healthy Blueberry Muffins
2 scant cups flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
2 TBS vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup sugar or stevia
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt (vanilla or plain)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
2 TBS canola oil
3/4 cups blueberries

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set the aside.
Whisk the eggs and wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
Stir in the dry ingredients until everything is incorporated.
Fold in the blueberries.

Drop into muffin cups or greased muffin pan.
Bake at 350 for 15 – 18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

pumpkin muffin

My daughter Rose first found the recipe for these pumpkin pecan muffins and we’re both hooked on them. The original recipe is for pumpkin bread and is from Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour. But there’s something about a muffin that seems like a perfect breakfast food. Really, it’s like a bit of cake without any frosting. So no guilt, or very little. I”ve tried several other pumpkin muffin recipes, but I keep coming back to this one.

We’re both very fond of pecans. When I was in Florida recently, I lugged home a 5 pound bag of pecans! The only catch was they were in their shells, so night after night my husband or I would crack a bowlful and try not to eat them. Eventually I got a nice panful to roast and that’s what I used for these pumpkin muffins.

basket of muffins

The recipe calls for whole wheat or white whole wheat flour, but I use whole wheat pastry flour which is ground finer. I love it for cookies and cakes too. I use the other whole wheat flours for breads and rolls. Let’s get to it.

whole wheat pastry flour

Ingredients for 18 2 1/2″ muffins
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I always double cinnamon in recipes, which I did here.)
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla (I always double vanilla in recipes too, which I did here.)
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate chips (This is King Arthur’s suggestion. Personally, I don’t think this is a place for chocolate, so I use the craisins and LOVE them.)
2-3 TBS raw sugar

mix in nuts and craisins with a spoon

final step - raw sugar

a perfect bite

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease muffin pan or prepare with muffin papers.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Whip eggs and then add butter, vanilla and sugars.
Add pumpkin. Beat a few minutes until blended.
Carefully add dry ingredients and beat just until incorporated.
Mix in the nuts and craisins.
Divide into muffin tins filling them about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp raw sugar on each before putting them in the oven.
Bake about 18 – 22 minutes.

The pumpkin makes these muffins moist; the pecans add some crunch and the craisins add a surprising chewy-tart quality. A perfect blending of flavor.

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