When we think of muffins, we tend to think of a sweet, fattening snack. However, muffins can actually be a healthy food source. Start by switching from bleached white flour to unbleached white flour. Also, choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
For basic homemade muffins you will need 2 cups of unbleached white flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 2 fresh free-range eggs, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 cup of organic brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Sift the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a second bowl.
Next, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix gently so that you are just combining the batter. It should not be heavily blended.
To add extra nutrition to this basic recipe, add a little nutritional yeast or flax meal to the dry ingredients. Sesame seeds can also be added. Choose unhulled sesame seeds over the hulled seeds. They are rich in calcium, magnesium and copper. You can substitute a portion of the white flour with bran, rye or unbleached whole wheat flour.
To get the most health benefits from the oil in your recipe choose cold pressed olive oil. If the olive oil is hand pressed the first pressing is the best. The bottle will say “first cold press.”
Let’s get to the fun, creative part of making healthy muffins. Right choosing of additional ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, and cheeses is where you add the ingredients that really add health benefits.
For sweet muffins grate apples, mash bananas, add whole blueberries, or any kind of fruit. Cinnamon or lemon peel can be added to the dry ingredients.
Dried fruits can also be used to create healthy, nutritious muffins. Add black or yellow raisins, currants, chopped figs, dates, cranberries, papaya, pineapple or apricot.
Are you in the mood for chocolate? Choose organic chocolate chips or carob chips. Mix them into the batter. For a serious chocolate addiction, mix cocoa powder in with the dry ingredients.
Add Jalapeno peppers and grated cheese to the recipe. Gently fold them into the batter. Choose white cheddar cheese to avoid colored dyes. Yellow and orange cheese contain colorings.
Zucchini makes a healthy muffin. Grate one zucchini and gently turn it into the batter. You can also try carrots or sweet potatoes.
Once you have mixed everything together you are ready to bake your muffins.
Using a spoon, place the batter into oiled muffin tins. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes. The muffins should puff up and be golden brown on the top. Test for doneness by inserting a butter knife into the center of one muffin. The knife should come out clean and dry.