Do you know the Muffin Man? Well, we know him very well around here, although he is actually a she, and she goes by Mom. I guess I’m the Muffin Mom because I am a big fan of muffins. I try to make healthy muffins, or tweak recipes to make them healthier. They are great for the kids for breakfast, snack, and lunch, and great for us too.
“Back in the day” I used to only make low-fat muffins. But low-fat usually means I have to use tiny bits of lots of ingredients that I can’t use up fast enough and end up wasting. Saving a bit of fat is not a big deal anymore so now I find “regular” recipes and experiment with ingredients making them a little healthier. I might decrease the sugar, add coconut oil in place of canola (always) or substitute some fat with applesauce.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about and researching flour lately.
A. Lot. Of. Time.
If a recipe calls for All-Purpose flour, I always substitute white whole wheat 1:1. But, lately I have been experimenting with whole wheat pastry flour because it’s supposed to have the nutritional value of whole wheat flour, but it’s milled from a lighter wheat variety, resulting in a lighter flour. White whole wheat also has a high[er] nutritional value. I’m not sure which is better for us, white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry, but I do know which is better for our budget: white whole wheat. For now I’ve ruled out buying organic flour because I haven’t been able to find a good deal in town or online. Although I don’t like the idea of having a grain sprayed with pesticides and then ground up into the flour I’m using to bake cookies and muffins, with the amount of baking I do, paying $7-8 for a 5lb bag of flour isn’t something we can do.
So, onto the muffin recipes! Here are four recipes that are in our muffin rotation.
You already know about our blueberry muffin obsession.
Pumpkin Muffins from Weelicious
I make these pumpkin muffins from Weelicious in the fall. A 15oz can of pumpkin has slightly less than 2 cups of pumpkin, but I use one can for two batches and they turn out ok. I skip pumpkin pie spice and use lots of cinnamon. I’ve never made the cream cheese frosting, though it sounds delish.
Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
These chocolate chip mini muffins turned out pretty dense and I think it’s because I used white whole wheat flour, instead of All Purpose, though I think 3 cups of any kind of flour sounds like a lot. Surprisingly, the tot ate them for snack and I packed them in his lunch throughout the week. Maybe next time I will do half whole wheat pastry, half white whole wheat and see if they come out lighter.
Carrot Banana Muffins
A friend of mine posted a recipe for carrot banana muffins on Facebook and I bookmarked the recipe because I’m always on the lookout for muffin recipes! It uses dates, and fortunately the new organic produce co-op I just joined sometimes offers dates at a decent price, otherwise they are pretty expensive. One of the commenters said he/she used dried figs instead of dates, so that is definitely something to try. I made them with almond flour, which is a spendy ingredient at $10/lb (won’t be buying that again), but my smart friend told me she uses ground-up oatmeal and whole wheat flour in place of almond flour. I grated the carrot a few days ahead and kept in the fridge. The tot LOVES these as mini muffins (cooked for less time). We all can’t get enough.
AND these muffins were made using eggs I froze in my big egg experiment. I thawed them in their little baggies overnight and used them the next day. Unfortunately, some egg remains in the baggie after I pour out the egg and as much as I try to squeeze out every last drop, there is some waste with my method. Ice cube trays might be a better option, but I was trying to avoid buying something new.