muffins

Lemony Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins

Granola is perfuming the house and the oven's still warm, I thought why waste the energy? Let's try some oat bran muffins.  lemony blueberry oat bran muffins

In our quest for more variety, more whole grains and to buy from companies whose values we support, I've dropped Eden Foods from our list. After they tried to shut down employees' access to contraception under the new proposed healthcare mandates; I stopped buying them. You don't get to be anti-choice and still end up in my pantry. (Btw: did you know some other Hippie companies like Urban Outfitters, you think are cool are actively advocating against things like marriage equality? Mm hm.)

So we no longer have the lovely flaked grains (adore Kamut!) in varieties we once did. But we recently picked up barley flakes and some oat bran. So I decided to start a recent sunny late summer morning off baking.

Benefits of Oat Bran

The benefits of oat bran are many. It contains:

  • fiber - both good for your gut health and also for keeping you feeling full. Lowers cholesterol. May even reduce blood pressure, inflammation.
  • protein - Oat bran is a rich source of phenylalanine - important to neurological health and thyroid function. It's also important for cellular repair.
  • selenium - combines with protein to combat free radicals, lowering cancer risk.

But all this good news is useless if we can't enjoy eating it. I set out to find a muffin that was not packed with sugar as so many commercial ones are. Muffins are one of the easiest things to make at home. They come together so quickly and easily, I often make them when cooking with kids. Make them in pretty papers and the muffins are portable and cleanup is easy. If you don't want to buy these pre cut red parchment tulip papers, you can simply cut regular parcment paper and mold them around a glass or jar before filling them.

Balance

I try to find recipes that are just sweet enough to please Doc and not too sweet for me. This is not as easy as you may think.

I'm including a link to Clotilde's recipe, and my modifications below. You may know Chocolate and Zucchini - Clotilde was an early inspiration to so many with her beautiful blog. If you've never seen it (where have you been?) do go check it out. Promise you'll find something you want to make, today.

Technique tips:

  • I added frozen Maine blueberries to the dry ingredients. When adding frozen blueberries lightly coating them with flour helps to keep them from sinking and keeps them from bleeding so much.
  • Muffins must not be over mixed! You will begin with mixing dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Then combining - very lightly mixing - so there may still be tiny pockets of dry ingredients but no large ones or lumps. Lightly mixed muffins will rise and be delicate, overmixed will be hard.

 

Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins - recipe used with permission. Merci beaucoup, Clotilde!

- 120 grams (1 cup) oat bran (prefereably organic; wheat bran may be substituted) - 120 grams (4 1/4 ounces, about 1 cup) flour  - I used half White Whole Wheat and half Spelt flour - 1 teaspoon baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon baking soda - a good pinch salt - 100 grams (1/2 cup) unrefined cane sugar - 120 grams (1 cup) blueberries (no need to thaw them if frozen) - 240 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt (buttermilk can be substituted; i used nondairy yogurt) - 30 ml (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil (I use extra-virgin sunflower oil) I used Walnut Oil - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract - 2 eggs, at room temperature

- I added a teaspoon of fresh Meyer lemon zest.

 

Makes about 12 muffins.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and line a 12-muffin tray* with paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar, until no lump remains. Add the blueberries and toss gently to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold it in gently with a spatula until no trace of flour remains. The mixture will be lumpy, but resist overmixing.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tray, filling each muffin mold by about three quarters (to minimize the mess, you can use a spring action ice cream scoop).
  5. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until set and golden. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Today - I'm trying an apple-pear version. Stay tuned.

Here's another picture of the lovely lemony blueberry oat bran muffins.

lemony blueberry oat bran muffins

Lemon-Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins and WIPBD

WIPBD. Weather-induced Panic-Baking Disorder. I think it should be considered for the next edition of the DSM. Luckily I've done a superb job of surrounding myself with people willing to humour me and so I don't really feel I've got a problem. I could stop anytime...really. The impending "Blizzard of 2013" got me cranked up about preparedness. I baked Golabki ("little doves" - cabbage leaves stuffed with mushrooms and spelt). I served them with farro, making an extra amount for leftovers. The next day I stuffed some of the remaining leaves with the leftover farro. Then I got some "Jersey Short Ribs" boneless short ribs and braised them to go with Golabki II dinner.

Since we had to stock up separately (I at Whole Foods, Doc at Julio's) when we were finally both home, we decided to sample the new finds. He drove about 3/4 of the Commonwealth that day, so we really needed to unwind. Hey, at least we saved enough Armagnac for my foie terrine. While were sharing some with a friend, I made my "chex mix" but first had to make achiote oil.

You can see, I just keep rolling from one recipe into the next. In between, I made some soup for a sick friend. (See Penny Cherubino's Boston Zest and this great post about making soup for a sick friend inspired by all the flu going around.) With my "Taking Stock" series in progress and my new stock pot, I knew I had some stock in the freezer, I had Magic Mineral Broth for my friend.

About those Muffins

I got it in my head that I wanted healthy, delicious oat muffins with lemon and blueberry. I made these dairy-free during the blizzard - we needed something to eat if the power goes out, right? Silly, I thought, then the satellite went out and when it came back on the weather team announced that the entire town of Quincy was without power.

Clearly, I'd better get baking. So far all we had to live on was chex mix and booze.

These muffins popped into my head, or at least the combination did. I wanted a somewhat light muffin, built on oats, flavored with Meyer Lemon and dotted with blueberries. I found an oatmeal muffin recipe on Epicurious that had almost two hundred comments including many saying you could reduce the butter by half, the sugar by half and many that said they were perfect as they were. Others replaced butter with applesauce, the buttermilk with yogurt...clearly this was a flexible recipe!

Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal muffins

Lemon-blueberry Oatmeal Muffins 

I replaced AP flour with whole grain flours, replaced the buttermilk with soy milk. Added heart-healthy flax. Reduced the sugar and the butter. The result is a light but hearty whole grain muffins flecked with lemon and blueberry. You could use regular buttermilk and butter if you like. Streusel topping is optional but adds a sweet and crunchy top to a not-so-sweet muffin.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 1/2-cup muffin tins.

Ingredients: 

1. Soak oats in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (+ 1/4 C for streusel topping)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 C soy milk + 1 TBSP vinegar)
  • Add zest of one lemon, and 1 TBSP juice

2. Make streusel topping:

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 1/4 C oats, 1/4 C whole meal flour, cut in 4 TBSB veg butter with fork or fingers)

4. Mix wet ingredients:

  • 4 TBSP mix of veg "butter" and Nutiva coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 TBSP ground golden flax
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla (love the Madecasse brand)

5. Mix dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 C wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 scant tsp cinnamon

6. Prep fruit

  • 3/4 cup blueberries (if frozen, take a TBSP of flour from the amount above to toss the blueberries - this will help keep them from sinking in the muffins) You could also sub 1/4 dried cherries or currants or craisins. No need to coat dried fruit.

Directions: 

  1. Add wet ingredients to oats. Mix.
  2. Add dry ingredients to wet. Mix lightly, just to combine.
  3. Fold in fruit.
  4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins.
  5. Sprinkle streusel topping across tops of muffins.
  6. Bake muffins in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin

Oh What a Beautiful Morning Glory Muffins

I wanted to call these something more than "Morning Glory Muffins" because they seem so much better than the standard MGMs. I love these because they are flexible adapting nicely to tweaks to accomodate what's on hand. They're also loaded with fruit, veggies and nuts. It's sweet enough to please my sweet-toothed husband and savory enough to please me. 

Some versions of this are heavy and leaden. These, while hefty, are still not so dense or heavy that they feel more like penance that a treat. I've seen versions that call for pineapple, and others that have a two step process of cooking down fruits and veg before adding in...pshaw. Part of the beauty of muffins is how easily and quickly they come together. For me, the perfect muffin is one that enables me to add in healthy ingredients while still being tasty enough to disappear without my urging.

Morning Glory Muffins

Oh What a Beautiful Morning Glory Muffins

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C dried cherries, persimmons chopped into bits (can substitute raisins, I had about 1/4 each of cherries and persimmons loitering about in the cabinet, so in they went)
  • 1 C Wholemeal flour (King Arthur has this lovely Irish Whole Meal Flour)
  • 1 C White whole wheat
  • 1 C Coconut Palm Sugar (this palm sugar is fragrant and wonderful, can sub brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 2 C (7 oz) organic carrot, scrubbed, grated
  • 1 lg apple cored, grated (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/c C chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 C sunflower seeds
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 2/3 C walnut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (I love the Madagascar vanilla from Madecasse)
  • 1/4 orange juice (I used fresh squeezed, then grated the zest of half the orange)
  • 2 TBSP candied orange peel (I had some leftover from candying the last batch of orange peels, you could substitute marmalade I think, or omit)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375, line a sturdy muffin tin with tulip papers or cut squares of parchment (about 6.5" or 7" squares). Alternately you can line the tin with regular papers or lightly grease.

The secret to light muffins is not to over-mix. Essentially, you are doing just four steps: 1) mixing the dry ingredients together; 2) grating, chopping the fruit, carrots, and nuts; 3) mixing the liquid ingredients; 4) combining. That's it!

To make the muffins, cover dried fruit with hot water in small bowl. Let sit while you grate your carrots, apple and measure the rest.

  1. In a large bowl toss the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt. Stir with whisk or fork to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl or large mixing cup combine eggs, oil, vanilla, orange juice, zest, candied peel if using. Drain the dried fruit (I used it in my tagine later that night). Stir drained fruit into dry ingredients (the light coating of the fruit with flour will suspend it throughout the muffins).
  3. Mix in the carrots, apples, nuts. Mix in the liquid ingredients.
  4. Combine with a light hand and a silicone spatula just until the flour mix is all moistened. You're not beating it at this point, just gently folding.

Bake in prepared tin for 25-28 minutes until tester comes out clean. Let rest in tin for 5 minutes then remove to rack or plate to finish cooling. These will be full and domed and browned. The finished muffins are somewhat like carrot cake. Easy to grab and go. If you wanted to make in the morning, I think you could do all the chopping and measuring the night before and then just combine and bake in the AM.

Morning Glory Muffin