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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go ahead, flaunt that muffin top!

OK, I know what you must be thinking...but I didn't mean it that way! The term "muffin top" has developed a bad reputation of late, due in part to the increasing popularity of the hip-hugging skinny jean. With only the skinniest of skinny able to wear them, it's no wonder the rest of the world experiences some some spill-over.

This season makes me crave comfort food like no other season. But I want to wear my favorite jeans, body-skimming sweaters and cute boots without looking like I'm stuffed into them -- or coming out over the top!

At some point over the past few years, bakery muffins got bigger. You may still own a standard-sized muffin tin, but you'll be hard pressed to find a standard sized muffin at your regular breakfast place, bakery or coffee house. Instead, you'll find giant, crumb-topped masterpieces that are sure to ruin any diet. In fact, you could have two doughnuts for the same calories as that muffin -- not that you should! While a muffin may seem like the healthier choice with its fruit and nut-filled goodness, don't be fooled!

I'm left with only one option, since I'm craving a muffin -- reinvent comfort foods! Hopefully this will become a series for fall, as I already have some ingenious recipes planned. The first, however, is one of my favorites -- my mom's blueberry muffins, reconfigured.

Let's get one thing straight. My mom is a wonderful cook and she's always kept a keen eye towards feeding us healthy food. She's my inspiration! Where she doesn't use substitutions to make the ingredients healthier, she is always careful to keep portions to a reasonable size. I've taken her recipe for this standard-sized muffin and made just a couple tweaks to make it even lighter! I hope you love it as much as we do -- this is one muffin top you can be proud of! And they're so easy, the kids whip them up by themselves on a regular basis!

Mom's Blueberry Muffins
Makes 1 dozen

1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar OR 1/2 cup stevia-based granular sweetener
2 cups flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk (skim or lowfat)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, cut in applesauce (it will give you a texture like meal, as cutting in a fat would), combine beaten egg with milk and turn liquids into the batter. Stir vigorously for about a minute, then fold in blueberries. Using a long-handled 1/4 cup measure, fill muffin cups (greased with cooking spray or lined with muffin cups) 2/3 full. Lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the center of the oven until the tops start to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Play with the ingredients and see what you like! Using regular sugar in this recipe yields a muffin with about 150 calories and virtually no fat (just what's in the milk and egg). Using a sweetener instead of sugar cuts the calories in each muffin down to 100. Try it with both kinds of flour and see what you like -- the whole wheat will keep you feeling fuller longer! What I can tell you is that I've played with the combinations and one thing is certain -- you'll end up with a delicious, crackly-topped muffin that pairs perfectly with your morning coffee.


The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.


Spencer said...

I love blueberry muffins. These look especially good and relatively healthy too. Great addition with the applesauce. I want one right now.

claire said...

LOVE muffins, especially blueberry!

Love your blog!

Frau Nelson said...

I've been making muffins every week for Cameron's early (Saturday) morning soccer practices, this will be on the rotation this week, thanks! BTW: I have become obsessed with white whole wheat flour and use it in just about every muffin recipe...and even in the cookies I make for his games (um, and for us, LOL).

Matt said...

Is there a big difference in taste if you make them with whole wheat flour or regular all-purpose flour? I know sometimes whole wheat flour can drastically alter the taste of a dish. I have been using white whole wheat flour for my baking, but I wanted to know how safe it is to use all whole wheat flour in this recipe.

Roxine said...

I made these last night, following every instruction and they ended up wonderfully, except for the taste. They were bitter! Could it be that they have too much baking soda?

I will try them again tonight reducing the baking soda by half, think that'll help?

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Hmmm...I make these constantly and the only taste variations have been when my blueberries aren't sweet or when I burn the bottoms (oops!). I don't use baking soda, I use baking powder....so maybe that's it? Baking powder has baking soda in it, but also relies on 2 other leaveners. Try it with the powder and see what you think! If you DID use powder, maybe it's the white whole wheat flour...some brands are better than others.

Roxine said...

But of course!!! Last night I couldn't figure that! Powder not soda! please forgive my pregnant brain. I mistake that ingredient.

I made them with whole wheat flour and regular sugar and as I told you the whole result was pretty! But the taste they were not what I expected...

Fail to learn.

Thank you Jenn!!! love your blog!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

I've brushed my teeth with baking soda and it does NOT taste good....better luck next time! =)

Roxine said...

Success!!! Made these last night (with the correct ingredients lol) and they are GORGEOUS, tasty, delicious! Just brought them to my office so we wouldn't end up eating all of them at home!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing -- enjoy!