- Food and Cooking»
- Culinary Arts & Cooking Techniques»
How To Make Healthy Muffins From Scratch
I have always been afraid to cook without a recipe. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to throw food away, maybe it’s because the few times I tried, it wasn’t a great success! But the need I have now to live on budget make me tried again and again. First, I tried to change the muffins recipes I had of a few ingredients only. Seeing good results, I tried to establish a few basic rules which I gladly share with you today.
Basic rule No.1: 1 cup of flour or cereals gives 3 to 4 muffins
First, you have to ask you how many muffins you would like to make. Then, choose among ingredients such as all purpose flour, wheat flour, seven-grain flour, millet flour, natural wheat bran, oatmeal, All Bran cereals, Corn Flakes cereals or even Cheerios cereals, etc. The only criterion is to stick with healthy products. If you choose to put less healthy products in your muffins, put less of them. So make a mix of everything you choose according to the number of muffins you want to make. For example, if I want to make 12 muffins, I could get 1 cup of wheat flour, 1 cup of natural wheat bran and 1 cup of oatmeal.
Basic rule No.2: 1 cup of fruit per 6 muffins
Personally, I cannot think “healthy muffins” if they contain no fruit. It could be fresh fruits, dry fruits or frozen fruits, as long as there are fruits! You have to plan 1 cup of fruit for each 6 muffins you want to prepare.
Fresh fruits: It is a great idea if you have some, but I tend to go more for dry fruits or frozen fruits since it could allow you to decrease the amount of this kind of fruits you already have. Like all the blueberries or strawberries that are still in your freezer since last summer when you went to pick up some with your kids but had already made enough pies at that moment. Or all the dry apricots that are sleeping in your pantry since you made your chocolate dip apricot recipe for your best friend’s birthday. Examples of fresh fruits you can choose: apples, bananas, cherries or mangoes.
Dry fruits: They are great in muffins, but contain a lot more sugar than fresh or frozen fruits so maybe you want to put only a small quantity of them mixed with another kind of fruits. Examples of dry fruits you can choose: apricots, dates or grapes.
Frozen fruits: They are, without any doubt, my favourite to put in muffins recipes because they are often less expensive to buy and small or pre-cut so easy to use. Beware though: if you use frozen fruits, you have to put less liquids in your recipe because of the water they contain. Examples of frozen fruits you can choose: blueberries, cranberries, raspberries or strawberries.
Basic rule No. 3: Don’t forget the other basic ingredients
Muffins will not be muffins if they are not made with the following ingredients: baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, oil or butter and some liquids.
Baking powder: At least 1 teaspoon per 6 muffins. Put more of it if you want your muffins to be bigger.
Salt: Only a pinch of it per 6 muffins.
Sugar: For healthy muffins I use no calorie sweetener, but you could use brown sugar, honey or white sugar in smaller quantity if you want.
Egg: If you want your muffins to be healthy, you can go with the white only. In all cases, I suggest you don’t put more than one egg per 12 muffins.
Oil, butter or margarine: You have to put something oily but not a lot of it. If you already put an egg, 1/3 of a cup of sunflower seed oil or grape seed oil would be enough for 12 muffins. Use any vegetable oil; olive oil if you only have this kind at hand.
Liquids: It could be milk, yogurt or applesauce. Quantity varies according to the look you want your muffins to have. Want them to be perfectly round on top? Put more. Want them to look more “rough”, “natural”? Put less.
Basic rule No. 4: Add something else!
Ok, this rule isn’t really mandatory, but it could give your muffins a personal touch, a different taste each time even if using the same other ingredients. Choose among these: black chocolate pieces, cocoa, nuts or brown flax seeds or put whatever small dry ingredient you have at hand and like.
Mixing and cooking your muffins
I’m not a professional cook, so I always used to mix everything together, adding the fruits last. It always worked well so why not save time doing it this way?
Remember that the healthier your muffins are, the more they will stick to the baking cups if you use some. For that reason, I always use non-stick cooking spray.
Put your muffins in the middle of your oven. Start by cooking them 20 minutes at 350°F.
My recipe of blueberries and strawberries healthy muffins
Here’s what I successfully did with what I had at hand this morning.
Blueberries and strawberries healthy muffins
(gives 16 muffins)
1 cup of wheat flour
1 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of natural wheat bran
1 cup of All-Bran Buds
4 teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of Splenda
1 1/3 cup of skim milk
1/3 cup of Canola oil
1 1/3 cup of frozen strawberries
1 1/3 cup of frozen blueberries
Mix everything in a bowl ending by the frozen fruits because you don’t want them to break. Cook 23 minutes at 350°F.