Friday, February 3, 2012

Kids Make "Healthy" Blueberry Muffins

No processed sugar in these muffins

By Ed Bruske

aka The Slow Cook

If you're trying to reduce the saturated fat and processed sugar in your diet, these muffins definitely fall into the category of "healthy." Orange juice, apple sauce and the blueberries lend a bit of sweetness. And for fat, we have canola oil, which contains even more mono-unsaturated fatty acids than olive oil.

But we can't advertise muffins as "healthy" to the kids in our food appreciation classes. The last time we tried, they turned on their heels and ran back onto the playground. No, the best way to market these muffins, we found, is to just have the kids make them. Through the magic of hands-on participation, kids somehow overlook the fact that in this case, a delicious muffin doesn't have to knock them over with its sugar content.

The only trick to these muffins is assembling a somewhat unconventional list of ingredients. For instance, you may not have oat bran--full of vitamins and fiber--or whole wheat pastry flour on your pantry shelf. But we found these readily available at the local Whole Foods. The blueberries in this case were the frozen variety, a stock item in most supermarkets.

Start by whisking together your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 1 1/2 cups oat bran, 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

In a separate bowl, beat 2 large eggs, then mix in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, just until everything is incorporated. Then fold in 1 1/4 cups blueberries.

Grease a standard muffin tin (we used cooking spray) and spoon in the batter. Scatter about 1/4 cup rolled oats over the tops of the muffins and give them a gentle pat. Then place the tin in a 400 degree oven for 18 minutes.

The finished muffins turn out light, moist and bursting with blueberries. Pour yourself a tall glass of cold buttermilk to wash it down.

Note: You can also add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces to the muffin batter for a bit of crunch.

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