Health nuts - show me your muffins!
I am looking for a super-healthy muffin recipe. I don't mind if it's a little dense and "tastes healthy" - I'm not looking for an inviting breakfast, but on-the-go fuel. I'm very active and need snacks for the backpack, but find today's high-tech bars (Power, Luna, Clif et al.) too sweet and chemical-y. I've discovered that homemade muffins, individually wrapped and frozen, fit the bill perfectly. Throw one in the bag, and they are thawed in time for an afternoon snack!
So I've been experimenting with recipes. I'm looking for low- or no-fat, high-fiber/multigrain, inviting to fruits and nuts and amenable to freezing. I can substitute applesauce for the fat in traditional muffin recipes, but I'd love to make something a little more creative!
Glad you said dense is A-ok, so I'll tell you my secret. I take All Bran Extra Fiber (yes extra, I prefer the taste), stick it in a food processor/coffee grinder and make it into a flour. 1 cup cereal = 1/4 cup "fiblour" You can sub 1/2 or all this for real flour, your call. I go all the way, but I have an adjusted palate, so I'd recommend experimenting. When a WW friend of mine wanted Banana bran muffins, I found a recommended recipe, then subbed fiblour in for flour, egg whites only, applesauce for all the oil, splenda for sweetener, and of course mashed bananas.
You can sub prune puree in for oil as well, in these recipes, though that tends to work in plainer muffins rather than banana, or at least I don't like that combo.
Another option is to do a 50-50 mix of fiblour and soy flour for extra protein. You can also mix in protein powder (I like Jay's Whey or Egg White protein, although I fear one isn't supposed to be used in baked goods, but could be wrong). If you like the taste of flaxseed (I can't stand it--tastes metallicky to me, but apparently I'm alone in this one), it's a great mix in for part of the flour to add omega-3's and fiber.
One of my favorite treatier muffins is to make a basic bran muffin using the fiblour, egg whites, baking powder, applesauce, splenda, a little cinnamon and vanilla. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full, then spoon in a heaping tablespoon of a mixture of fat free cream cheese (decent protein source) mixed with a little reduced sugar preserves (love the apricot, blueberry, and blackberry ones from TJ's), then cover the filling with the rest of the muffin batter. Bake and be suprised at the treat.
If you don't like the fiblour, I sincerely apologize. I really for some reason love All Bran Extra Fiber... I even mix it with water or skim milk, heat it up and mash it into a cereal with cinnamon, vanilla, and a little sweetener (my favorite seasoning combo)... Gosh, I'm odd.
In Jane Brody's first cookbook she has a recipe for refrigerator bran muffins (using All Bran and applesauce, among other thngs). The nice thing is that you make a large quantity of batter that will hold in the fridge for a long time so you can make mini or large muffins whenever you want. I'm just finishing a large batch I did for the first time in a while and they were delicious and pretty healthful. If you need the recipe I'll pull it out and post it. Let me know.
Here's one from an earlier post:
The following recipe is good and a bit healthier with the substitution of whole wheat pastry flour, butter instead of margarine (shudder) and slightly less honey/molasses than the amount of sugar listed, (mostly honey with just a bit of molasses to give the brown sugar flavor without the sugar edge). The brown sugar is okay, too, if you prefer:
i've been on the same trek. so far i've tried wholegrain blueberry muffins with applesauce which became bluuberry-apple muffins because i used a strong tasting organic applesauce. was still good and very moist for days.
I also made pumpkin muffins from that one vegan vengeance book and subbed that same strong tasting applesauce for the oil. again got pumpkin apple muffins but the spices kind of mask it and it was pretty good. in fact i had 4 this morning.
for the next batch i will add some toasted pecans and toasted oatmeal and i'll tell you how it goes.
I make this one and variations of it:
The fat comes from pb and egg, but you could use two egg whites, if you want. I've also used steel cut oatmeal, soaked in skim or soy milk, for an hour or so, instead of regular oatmeal and then put it in a food processor to make it finer. Substitute white whole wheat or regular whole wheat flour. I don't use maple powder but do add vanilla. It's low in sugar, too. I wouldn't say it's "super-healthy" but healthy enough and tastes good.
I've also made these cookies, with the pb and raisins, it's like peanut butter and jelly. I cut the sugar, too.
Both are okay, tastewise, healthy tasting. Not something I'd make for Thanksgiving dessert or anything like that but great for a quick healthy breakfast or snack.
I've had a lot of success making variations on a pumpkin bread (Joy of Cooking recipe). I bake it in loaf pans, but it could also be baked in muffin form. Various purees can be substituted for the pumpkin - applesauce, shreaded carrots, steamed and pureed sweet potatoes. I generally use half white whole wheat flour, and split the other half among wheat and oat brans and ground nuts (almonds). I cut the sugar in half. The last batch I left out the fat (canola oil), and didn't notice a difference. Dried fruit and nuts can be added in all kinds of variations. Raisins and chopped walnuts are perhaps the obvious choice, but dates, dried apricots, or dried apples also work. This bread also takes a variety of spices - including the usual pumpkin pie ones.