Saturday, August 19, 2006

Apple Morning Muffins

I'm always looking for healthy baked goods, especially muffins and other breakfast pastries. I love breakfast and muffins, but I really prefer to get my days off to a relatively healthy start. This is especially true on weekdays, when I - and most people - are likely to be sitting around a bit more than a weekend. Flipping though the new issue of the Vegetarian Times that arrived this week, a recipe for Morning Muffins caught my eye.
The muffins had no added fat (meaning that there is no butter or oil added to them) and plenty of fruit. They also used low fat yogurt as the part of the wet ingredients in the recipe. Sounds like a nice way to get going in the morning, right?
I wanted to try them right away, so I made a few quick substitutions and ended up with a recipe that was similar in principle to the original. I'll say that my recipe was "inspired by" the original VT recipe.
The original recipe for the muffins called for using 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup all purpose flour, so I lost some of the whole grain-ness by using all all purpose flour. I made up for this, in my opinion, by using diced apples instead of all dried fruit. As much as I enjoy dried fruit, fresh fruit is much lower in calories and makes the low-fat muffin a bit moister.
They're quite good when they have just cooled, and the apples are a nice touch. They are best the first day they are made, but since they're so low in calories and fat, you don't have to feel guilty about eating a couple of them.
If they're too healthy for you, cut your muffin in half and spread with butter before eating. Or, simply skip this recipe and go straight to the delicious (but decidedly less healthy) Apple Streusel Muffins.

Apple Morning Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup raw sugar (regular sugar will work fine)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup diced apple (1 large apple)
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain, adding in the apples and raisins at the last minute. Do not overmix.
Divide evenly into muffin tins and sprinkle with 1 tbsp additional sugar, if desired.
Bake at 350F for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool on a wire rack. Muffins are best when just cooled.

Makes 12 muffins.