Thursday, 4 February 2010

Super-healthy breakfast muffins

Muffins are a wonderfully diverse food bunch. Super-easy to make too. You can make them almost cupcake-y with chocolate bits and other sweet ingredients... or go for a more healthy approach and fill them with dried or fresh fruit pieces or even veggies like grated carrots or zucchini. My very own version here, is a fiber-packed breakfast-on-the-run, or, as in my son's case, a mid-morning kindergarten snack. It's loosely based on a recipe for wholemeal blueberry muffins from Gordon Ramsey's Healthy Appetite...except without blueberries, and a few other minor changes.

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
  • 2 large and ripe bananas (the smushier, the better), peeled and mashed
  • 300g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g muscovado sugar
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 75g melted butter
  • 1 large cooking apple (I used Granny Smith's), 200-250g - peeled, cored and cut into approx. 1cm cubes
  • Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and place paper muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin tin
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and muscovado sugar
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk, melted butter, beaten egg and mushed bananas
  4. Mix everything together until just combined
  5. Add the apple pieces and stir together
  6. Spoon the muffin batter into the tin and make sure there's an equal amount in each case, then sprinkle with demerara sugar
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for  about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick/skewer inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes, then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool down completely. They keep in an airtight container for a few days, but I prefer freezing (see tips below) the ones I don't eat right away.
Tips for adapting this recipe
There are endless ways to adapt this recipe. You can use a different type of flour (normal or wholemeal flour, rye flour, etc). Substitute the apples for other fresh/frozen/dried fruits or berries (dates, raisins, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, pears, cranberries, raspberries, etc.). Add chopped or whole nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, macademia or walnuts)  or mix in dessicated coconut, flax seeds or sunflower seeds. The combinations are only limited by your imagination and taste buds' response to the final product.

Tips for freezing
These muffins are perfect for freezing. Simply pop them into a ziploc freezer bag and into the freezer. When you're ready, simply put a frozen muffin into the microwave on medium-heat for 1-2 minutes. The result is almost as good as freshly baked.

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