I believe the world to be a muffin pan, and there certainly are a lot of muffins here. -Aaron Funk
Behold the modern muffin. It's not as sexy as the glazed donut, but it hasn't quite let itself go the way shredded wheat cereal has. It walks the tightrope between cupcake and cardboard. And when nibbled, the eater is torn between guilt and comfort. I get it. The muffin is my friend. Perhaps because I am a housewife. Perhaps because I have a muffin top. If you aren't perfecting your balancing skills, you may not appreciate this lowly little baked good. Maybe that is why I post so much on them--I'm championing the appreciation of the AVERAGE.
Well, the following are more than average to me and quite DELICIOUS. I love love love them. Probably because I feel closer to comfort than guilt when eating them--they have only 2 Tbsp. of oil for a dozen and made with fat free Greek yogurt and whole grain oat bran (LOVE the crunchy, nutty, chewiness of this grain). So, now you're thinking...'oat bran'? What is 'oat bran?' It is the outer husk of the oat grain. It has the most dietary fiber and nutrients of oats. (Keep in mind fiber helps you feel 'full' and is an important tool in weight loss.) Oat bran looks like this (photo from Google):
You can find oat bran in the bulk food section of natural food health stores. But recently, while on the hunt for mason jars (random), I found a bag of Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran for $2 at Big Lots (I know you're thinking I'm so classy right now):
I have made the muffins three times in the last month (yes, I definitely share with others). And enjoyed them just as much with fresh raspberries and almonds as with fresh blueberries and lemon zest. And they come out lighter in color than a lot of whole grain muffins. So you can still feel like you're cheating.
BLUEBERRY OAT BRAN YOGURT MUFFINS
Adapted from www.chocolateandzucchini.com
Makes one dozen muffins
· 1 cup oat bran (apparently wheat bran may be substituted--but your muffin will come out darker)
· 1 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
· 1 tsp. baking powder
· 1/2 tsp. baking soda
· ~1/4 tsp. salt
· 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar (or regular sugar)
· 1 cup blueberries (no need to thaw them if frozen)
· 1 cup plain yogurt (apparently buttermilk can be substituted--but I use Greek fat-free yogurt)
· 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used some nut oils with great success, but apparently sunflower oil works well too—if you have it)
· 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
· *2 eggs, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 360°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
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.
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.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tray, filling each muffin mold by about three quarters (apparently to minimize the mess, but I fill them all as equal as I can until I use up all the batter & I have no problems with spillage). Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until set and golden.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. (I store them in the refrigerator and before I eat it, I pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds--makes all the difference!)
*I have a trick for this--because I don't have time for my eggs to get to room temperature since I don't always plan ahead, I put really hot tap water in a bowl and set my eggs in there while I measure out the dry ingredients and take them out to crack when I'm ready to use them.
I love you little guy! (as my 2 year old daughter says)
For a Raspberry-Almond Oat Bran Muffin (really delicious), substiute raspberries for blueberries and add ~3/4 cup of sliced almonds to the batter with the raspberries. Otherwise all ingredients and directions remain the same.
I just added a few almonds slices to the top--I think using just two slices to make a heart would be wonderful for Valentine's Day.