Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins


I recently found myself with some fresh blueberries from our local farmer’s market. It was one of the first of the year so the tomatoes and zucchinis weren’t very big or appealing yet, but the blueberries looked pretty nice.


I have two recipes for blueberry muffins: one from my 7th grade career’s class (lots of sugar and oil, and also very yummy), and a much healthier one from last summer. I remember the healthy one actually being very juicy and delicious, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

First, I put paper liners in a muffin pan.


The recipe starts off with wheat bran and milk, which are combined and then left alone for about 10 minutes. When I first tried this recipe last summer, I searched high and low for wheat bran and only came up with this:


Google told me that this would be a much better substitution for wheat bran than wheat germ would be, since the germ is course and crunchy and the oat bran has about the same consistency. I’m not sure what oat bran or wheat bran really are, but at least now I know that oat bran can be found in the hot cereal aisle and that it can be used in place of wheat bran.

The picture of blueberry muffins on the back of the box looked pretty nasty, though. I decided to use my own recipe and steer clear of any recipe printed on the box.


Anyway, here’s the dry oat bran:


And the milk…


And the oat bran combined with milk.


And I let that sit for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, I measured out some unsweetened applesauce.


Dumped it in a bowl and added an egg, along with some brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.


And then mix everything together, of course.


Remember the oat bran and milk mixture?


It has mysteriously puffed up and currently resembles wet cement. Ignore your reservations about its ability to defy gravity and dump it into the mixture of applesauce, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.


And stir until well mixed.


Set that aide and begin preparing your dry ingredients. Measure out some whole wheat flour.


Put it in a bowl with some regular all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.


Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture and blend.


Don’t over-mix it, but stop when it’s just moistened.


Make sure your blueberries are washed and free of stems.


Add them to your batter and carefully fold them in.


Stop when they’re mixed in, you don’t want to overdo it.


I’m about to share my secret method for filling muffin cups without dripping batter everywhere. Ready for this?


Okay, this ice cream scoop is older than I am (it belonged to my grandmother), but it is the perfect thing for filling muffin cups. I promise.


It lets you keep amounts relatively consistent and keeps you from having to use multiple spoons or your finger to get the sticky batter out of the scoop.


Figuring this out was a huge development in my baking expertise. See?



I kind of made a mistake when baking, though. My oven has this maddening feature that makes it really, really easy to shut the oven off when all you meant to do was turn off a timer. I think I may have turned the oven off when I was timing my bran-milk mixture, but didn’t realize it until my muffins took forever to cook. I did turn it back up, but they took much longer than usual and seemed a bit dry in the end, as compared to last time.

But they were still pretty.


They cooled on a wire rack for a little while, and then we finally dug in.


Healthy, hearty, and filled with fresh, plump blueberries. These aren’t the sugar-crusted muffins you’ll get at Starbucks or at ihop, but I promise that they’re still satisfying and a hell of a lot more guilt-free, as well.


Just one thing – keep them in the fridge. When I made these last year, they were so juicy that I think they fermented while sitting on the counter. If you want them to last a few days, refrigerate them and then zap them in the microwave for 15 seconds when you want to enjoy them.


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