Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Experimental Muffins

Who doesn't love muffins? They're a delicious snack/meal that can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature, with a cup of tea or on the go, and the flavor possibilities are endless. I have a serious addiction to all bread-type foods (actually probably anything with flour qualifies) and muffins are definitely high on my list. What I don't love is the nutritional stats of most muffins sold in bakeries and at coffee shops. Its pretty sad you could have two donuts for fewer calories than one muffin (taken from Dunkin' Donuts nutrition info). I love eating muffin tops but I don't want a muffin top over my jeans!

Making muffins at home allows you to control the ingredients that go in, so you can make much healthier options. I like to make a batch of muffins and freeze some to have on hand to heat up for a quick breakfast. A few days ago I remembered an email my sister sent me a while back with her generic muffin recipe. She gave me the ingredients she uses to make the batter, and you can add in whatever else you want to customize your muffins. Last night I made some, and in addition to choosing my mix-ins, I swapped out several of the ingredients to make a healthier muffin. I later realized that I totally forgot to add the sugar to these (which I'd intended to use less of anyway) so these became sugar-free muffins. They're a little bit denser than normal (due to the lack of sugar?) but still came out very tasty. I had one last night with dinner and another this morning for breakfast!

Almond Cranberry Coconut Muffins

Here's the original recipe from Laura, with my changes in red:


  • 1.5 cups flour (3/4 cup white flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1.33 cups sugar (intended to use 3/4 cup sugar but forgot it altogether)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce)
  • 1 cup sour cream (1 cup 0% Greek yogurt - part vanilla and part plain)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • any mix-ins you want (1/4 cup almond slices, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, plus extra almonds for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray your muffin cups.

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Mix all wet ingredients together.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir with spatula until well mixed.

Add any mix-ins you want.

Transfer dough to muffin cups. Add some extra sliced almonds to the tops for garnish (push them in a little so they'll stick).

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until slightly browned on top and toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

You can see that this made 8 muffins. I think if I'd added the sugar, it would have made 10. Or you could opt for smaller muffins that don't rise as high as mine did, and then you'd probably have 12.

When I taste-tested this first muffin, I added a little bit of butter and had it warm (straight from the oven - I'm inpatient!). I didn't realize that I forgot the sugar until I re-read my list of ingredients, so it really wasn't that obvious. This morning I had a muffin for breakfast and heated it up in the microwave then drizzled it with some blue agave syrup (honey or maple syrup would also work) and that was really delicious. Overall I'd say that I like these muffins, but next time I'll add a little bit of sugar and also more coconut (the coconut flavor in these is very subtle, I like it more pronounced).

So I never made it out for my 4 mile run yesterday. I was dreading going in the pouring rain because I didn't have a rain jacket with me, and then I looked out the window to see bright bursts of lightening followed by huge claps of thunder. So that was a good enough excuse to skip the run. I did go to Bikram (5th class in 6 days) and really enjoyed it. I pushed myself harder and really felt it after class. Today I'm sore, which normally I welcome, but now I'm getting worried about the half marathon on Saturday. I've gotten so distracted by my new love of Bikram that I've barely been running (aside from Saturday) and soreness in my legs is not going to help me run any faster. Since I'm really new to yoga, I don't know when I should be practicing and when I should stop to rest for a race. Any yogi/runners out there that can shed some light on this?

Finally, let the countdown begin...this time tomorrow I will be driving down to Charlottesville to hang out with Laura for a few days and run the Charlottesville Half Marathon! Can't wait for some sister time!


  1. I have all those ingredients! totally making those muffins!!!

    I'm so glad you love Bikram. I don't know why I get so happy when people love things I love! haha

    YEAH for CHM!! Can't wait to hear about it!

  2. Looks delicious! I'm surprised you couldn't taste a difference even without the sugar. That's great though, next time you can add just a little bit and it will probably be enough. I almost always reduce the sugar when I'm baking and no one ever notices!

  3. Lovely muffins! They're great for kitchening sinking add-ins :)

    If I were you, I might chill out wih the bikram until after the marathon. I know how exciting a new exercise can be but you wanna make sure you're muscles keep their running 'memory' for the big show! Good luck!

  4. Yum! Now I want to make these and the bean brownies annnnd some more homemade granola! :)

  5. I love making muffins! I don't do yoga but if that was me I wouldn't keep it up the rest of this week. You never want to do a ton of new stuff before a race.