Being Mrs. Pierce

Life as a wife, hiker, wanna-be chef, book-lover, traveler, and now, mom

Better Blueberry Muffins April 13, 2014

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 5:14 PM
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Between the rising temperatures outside and the end-of-school-year discussions inside, my mind has already been jumping ahead to summer. Last weekend I woke up in a baking mood, but the only treats I really wanted to make were Ellie Krieger’s summer-y Better Blueberry Muffins. I first made these muffins last August when fresh blueberries were at their peak; the delightful lemon-blueberry flavor of the muffins immediately won me over. Because it is too early for fresh blueberries to be in season, I whipped up this Comfort Food Fix recipe using frozen blueberries instead. I typically am not a fan of frozen blueberries in baked goods because everything they touch turns dark purple. And indeed, the frozen blueberries “dirtied” up the muffin batter, even when I slowly folded them in.

 

I was surprised when my batter yielded 18 muffins rather than 12, as both times I made these muffins last August I got the typical 12 muffins from each batch. The difference may have come from the fact that my muffin tin liners that I had in stock last August were slightly larger than standard muffin liners, which is what I used this time. At any rate, I didn’t mind the extra muffins too much, especially as making 18 muffins dropped the PointsPlus value of each one from 5 to 4.

 

Upon tasting the muffins, I still found them light, yummy, and yes, summer-y. The lemon flavor did not shine through as much as I remembered, despite using 2 full teaspoons of lemon zest, but the lemon was definitely discernible and I would still rate them 4.5 stars. I do prefer the muffins with fresh blueberries over frozen ones, so I plan to wait until blueberries overrun the produce stands before I make my next round of these muffins.

 

Comfort Food Fix recipes made: 21
Comfort Food Fix recipes still to make: 132

 

Better Blueberry Muffins

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ cup nonfat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1½ cups fresh or frozen (unsweetened and unthawed) blueberries

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs, until the mixture is light yellow and slightly frothy. Whisk in the applesauce, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just enough to combine them. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the blueberries.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

5. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around them to loosen and unmold. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 muffin). Per serving, 5 PointsPlus.

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Yippee Chippee Chocolate Chip Muffins (New Recipe #91) November 28, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:25 PM
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Muffins are among my favorite baked goods to make from scratch. They are slightly sweet, warm, and fluffy as they emerge from the oven in handy, single-serve portions. Best of all, they make the house smell like a bakery. So when I come across a new muffin recipe, I am inclined to try it. Thus it was with the Hungry Girl’s Yippee Chippee Chocolate Chip Muffins.

 

This particular recipe drew my attention because it gave me an excuse to buy a carton of Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I have seen Almond Breeze on numerous ingredients lists (most of them by Hungry Girl) and always have been intrigued. While this recipe calls for light vanilla soymilk, I substituted the Almond Breeze instead. I also used regular milk chocolate chips in place of the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, not having any of the latter on hand.

 

For being a “diet” recipe, these muffins turned out surprisingly delicious. They had just the right amount of chocolate in them and were light and fluffy, just as muffins should be. They are perfect for both breakfast and a sweet bite at the end of the day. John and I gave them 4 stars, and I promptly made a second batch a couple of days after the first, as John and I gobbled them up in record time.

 

Yippee Chippee Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
3 TB brown sugar (not packed)
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup light vanilla soymilk (I used Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
¼ cup sugar-free pancake syrup
¼ cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
2 TB light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
2 TB no-sugar-added applesauce
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used regular milk chocolate chips)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a standard 6-cup muffin pan (or 6 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan) with foil baking cups or spray with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, Splenda, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. In another large bowl, whisk all other ingredients except chocolate chips. Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

4. Evenly distribute batter among the 6 lined or sprayed cups of the muffin pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 muffin). Per serving, 5 PointsPlus.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (New Recipe #72) August 15, 2013

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My sister-in-law, Kalyn, made these muffins for John and me on a visit to Ardmore a few months back. She had found the recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website, and she and her family had grown to love the muffins. John and I did, too. I had assumed that the muffins would not be Points-friendly, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a muffin with chocolate chips could also be healthy. Ever since then, I have been wanting to make up a batch of my own.  This week, in which I’m trying to stock up my freezer with homemade goodies before the back-to-school rush begins, was the perfect time to try out this muffin recipe.

 

I did make one alteration to the original recipe in the interest of lowering Points. The original recipe calls for one full cup of chocolate chips, but I reduced that to ½ cup and thereby saved one Point per muffin. The ½ cup of chocolate chips was still more than enough to imbue each bite with chocolate-y goodness. These muffins are fantastic and earned a high, 4.5-star rating from the Pierces.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup low-fat milk, divided use
1 whole egg
⅓ cups packed brown sugar
¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cups flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup oats, and ½ cup of milk. Let the oats soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and brown sugar until smooth. Add applesauce and vanilla, mixing well. Mix in flours, soaked oats, flax meal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the remaining ½ cup milk. Fold in chocolate chips.

4. Fill muffin cups with batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Best served warm.

5. Store in an airtight container. Can easily be frozen.

Yield: 12 servings. Per serving, 4 PointsPlus.

 

Better Blueberry Muffins (New Recipe #60) August 2, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — skpierce12 @ 7:45 PM
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Early in our relationship, I made John a batch of one of my favorite foods, Ellie Krieger’s Apple-Pecan Muffins. He loved them, perhaps even more than I did. Nearly two years later, John still claims those muffins are his favorite food I make.

 

I was curious to see what both John and I would think of Ellie Krieger’s Better Blueberry Muffins from her Comfort Food Fix cookbook, which I recently spent hours poring over. We both tend to prefer apples over blueberries in our baked goods, but with blueberries being in season and my interest in Ellie Krieger recipes reawakened, I wanted to give these blueberry muffins a try.

 

As soon as I began to zest the lemon peel, I knew these muffins would be good. The lemon zest smelled so fresh and summery, and I simply love the lemon-blueberry combination in foods. I could not wait to get the batter divvied up and into the oven.

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I checked the muffins after 15 minutes, but the insides were still gooey. At 19 minutes, they were slightly browned and perfectly done.

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The muffins looked so enticing while cooling on the counter that my stomach rumbled repeatedly while I waited for my first bite. (Washing dishes was–for once–a welcome distraction.) After dutifully waiting the stated 15 minutes (I am such a rule follower), I dived in, and I was not disappointed. Each mouthful was bursting with blueberries and a subtle taste of lemon. They were just right for a summer breakfast treat. I gave the muffins 4.5 stars; John gave them 4. We both maintain that the Apple-Pecan Muffins are superior to these blueberry ones–but not by much.

 

Better Blueberry Muffins

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ cup nonfat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
1½ cups fresh or frozen (unsweetened and unthawed) blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs, until the mixture is light yellow and slightly frothy. Whisk in the applesauce, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just enough to combine them. Do not overmix. Gently stir in the blueberries.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

5. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around them to loosen and unmold. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or wrap individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Yield: 12 muffins (serving size: 1 muffin). Per serving, 5 PointsPlus.