Glorious Morning Glory Muffins

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I haven’t written for a few weeks. It’s not that I’m not cooking, I’m just not creatively cooking. Or I make standard fare that I have already written about, such as chicken pot pie and chocolate cake. We had a fabulous post New Year Thanksgiving dinner with a roast turkey and all the trimmings including sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and apple pie. Sometimes I just throw chicken in the oven to bake with barbecue sauce or pan sear steaks or pork chops. Frozen vegetables, in a multiple of varieties, round out the meal. And I confess, sometimes dinner is sandwiches made with frozen breaded fish fillets!

And then there is the impetus for weight loss and heart healthy cooking. Hubby and I are not getting any younger and the medical folk have been looking at our hearts regarding cholesterol levels and hypertension, and our sedentary lifestyle, a little more closely lately. So how can I bake yummy desserts with these issues in the front of my mind?

I wanted to bake something. I used to bake muffins every week so that Hubby and the Girls would have something to take along for the commute to school. The Girls are now all grown up with boyfriends and fiances and such. But a healthy muffin might take the place of cupcakes, right? I have an entire section of my recipe notebook devoted to muffins. Most of them claim to be low-fat and have whole wheat and/or oatmeal in the list of ingredients. I chose this one because it has apple butter as an ingredient and I found half a jar of good apple butter when I did a recent fridge cleaning and inventory.

Morning Glory Muffins: this is an adaptation of a recipe submitted to All Recipes.com 2005 by a Jack D. I adjusted the eggs and the amount of sugar and the raisins.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (in future I would use 1 cup all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (in future I would use 1 cup)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheatgerm (I did not remember if the wheatgerm I have is toasted already so I dry toasted it in a small skillet over high heat on top of the stove)

Oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 18 muffin cups or line with papers. I was able to make 20 muffins.

Whisk eggs, apple butter, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a larger bowl. These are the first 7 ingredients.

Add the goodies, carrots, apple, Craisins, to the dry ingredients. Then stir in the apple butter mixture just until all is moist.

Mix the wheat germ and the walnuts together in a small bowl.

Spoon into the muffin pans, sprinkle each with the wheatgerm mixture, and bake for 20 minutes. The tops will spring back when lightly pressed.

These were fabulous. I don’t remember baking these before even after printing out the recipe back in 2006. They are enjoyable warm right out of the oven, in the middle of the morning as a snack, and also the next day, and evening, and then for morning again…

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Honey Oatmeal Muffins

Again I am using the Quaker Oats 1982 cookbook. I am not sleeping well and there are fresh blueberries languishing in my refrigerator. So I make and bake muffins in the middle of the night!

I choose this recipe because all I have is almond milk and am not sure if non-dairy milks can be substituted in baked goods with perfect results. I used almond milk in an egg custard once and it did not set as expected. But this worked out. The recipe called for 1/2 cup milk unlike my other favorite muffin recipe which called for one cup. This also uses vegetable oil so I imagine they are healthier than those made with butter.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix the wet ingredients together in a 2 cup measure or other smallish bowl.

  • 1 1/2 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry ingredients together in your mixing bowl. To this I added 1 heaping cup fresh blueberries and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Stir gently.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until mixed. Bake in greased or papered muffin pan at 400 degrees F for 15-18 minutes. Makes 12.

Enjoyed these for breakfast. I will make these again.

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Banana Muffins

I was reviewing the variety of foodstuffs I have blogged about and did not find any on muffins. I have a whole section in one of my recipe notebooks devoted to muffins. This is because I used to always have a batch  of muffins baked and ready to be grabbed for a quick bite to eat as family members started their day. When I was “dieting”, the recipes I would try would be low-fat, chock full of vegetables, made with applesauce, made with whole wheat flour, etc. But now that it is just Hubby and I in the mornings, I haven’t really made muffins on a regular basis. Shall I remedy that situation?

There are two cookbooks that I use for a basic muffin, my Betty Crocker Cookbook and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. In Betty Crocker the muffin recipe is on page 199. Bittmans’ is almost the exact same recipe but giving suggestions for using melted butter or oil. The amounts of milk differ by 1/4 cup.

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On this day I have two very ripe bananas that need to be used. I have never used frozen bananas in baking, just in smoothies. These bananas will need to be used or frozen. I decide to make muffins. I use the Bittman recipe, page 832, using the variation for Banana-Nut Muffins.

  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil (Oh my! As I am writing this it occurs to me that I left this out COMPLETELY!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • scant 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 very ripe medium sized bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I did not have regular milk in the house and did not want to open the new carton of half-and-half and did not think that chocolate cashew milk would be appropriate. But now that I think about it, hmmm?)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. I whisk these around with a whisk. Mash bananas in another bowl. Add milk to equal 1 cup. My two bananas were just about a cup as they were. I added a bit of coconut milk at that time and then a little more to the batter because it looked so dry. See note above about the melted butter to know why!

To the dry ingredients I added 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. I like stuff in my muffins! I put the egg in the wet ingredients and mixed that up. I then added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and stirred until incorporated. This looked dry so I added a splash more of the coconut milk.

I sprayed the muffin pan with cooking spray. Preheated the oven to 375 F. Portioned the batter into the muffin pan. This made eleven, not twelve. Baked these for 20 minutes. They smelled nice and came out of the pan perfectly.

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I  serve two for Hubby and me. They are light and fluffy even with whole wheat flour. And they look nice and taste good, too.

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Conclusion: I think the banana acted as an adequate substitute/replacement for the fat in the original recipe.

Lesson to learn: Mise en Place