Saturday, July 08, 2006

Whole Wheat Maple Muffins

While I usually opt for sweet, fruit-laden muffins, sometimes it is nice to have something plainer and more versatile available. Case in point are these muffins. They are healthy - low in fat and full of good things like yogurt and whole wheat flour - and they taste good. They are fairly plain, with a subtle sweetness, and can act as a stand-in for a dinner roll with savory foods or accompany breakfast when slathered with jam. Peanut butter could be applied for an afternoon snack, too.
You'll notice that I said I used whole wheat flour. What I actually used is whole wheat pastry flour - and there is a significant difference between the two. Whole wheat pastry flour is lighter in texture than ordinary whole wheat, so it is softer and performs in much the same way as all-purpose flour does in baked goods, though it does lend a slightly wheatier taste to the finished product.
It took me some time to track down my bag of the flour, as they don't carry it in many regular grocery stores. I ended up finding it at a specialty, upscale market, though some Whole Foods locations stock it, too. If you cannot find it, use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose to achieve a similar taste and texture.

In this batch, I added 1/2 cup of frozen cranberries. Any type of fruit may be added, but it does reduce the versatility of the muffin somewhat, committing it to sweeter servings. Feel free to omit the fruit entirely, if you wish.

Whole Wheat Maple Muffins
1/3 cup milk (lowfat or skim)
1 cup plain yogurt*
1 large egg
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup berries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, egg and maple syrup.
In a medium bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into the large bowl and stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined, mixing in berries at the last minute, if using.
Distribute batter evenly in 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 15-18 minutes at 375F, until the muffin springs back when lightly pressed and a tester comes out clean.
Remove from tin and cool completely on wire rack before serving.

*Note: I used nonfat Greek yogurt, a style a highly recommend, but any fat content should work.