Monday, August 22, 2016

Muffins – a baking quest



yummy muffin with blueberries inside and walnut garnish








This starts out as a quest to find eatable muffins that ARE NOT suffused with sugar and other sweetening agents, except for naturally sweetness occurring in the ingredients. It all started when "Doctor, Doctor" proclaimed that I was having a high blood sugar problem and diagnosed me as having Diabetes 2 (about 15 years ago). So slowly over time I changed my diet and drink to eliminate added sugar (in its various forms), added salts, and added fats.
My latest escapade in this quest was to find muffins that did not have a lot of refined products in them such as white sugar and white flour in them. Unfortunately it turns out that store muffins, baked on site or prepackaged were loaded with all the ingredients I did not want in my treats.

SO I DETERMINED TO MAKE MY OWN!















First I headed to the internet and did some searching for sugar free oatmeal muffins. Well I found that most of them substituted man-made sweeteners like Equal and Sweet & Low for the sugar. Yuck!
Then I found one that I was sure I could modify for my own uses and so the “Baker in me” was born.

With a recipe in hand I proceeded to attempt my first, no-sugar, naturally sweetened muffins. I'm sure that those of you that know baking are wondering what's the big deal. This, to my knowledge, is my first ever attempt at baking muffins.















Don’t they look just wonderfully delicious? The first batch was banana/oatmeal with whole blueberries and walnuts as a topping. The fully ripe bananas added sweetness along with the whole blueberries and two tablespoons of clover honey.

Here’s the basic recipe:


2 cups old fashioned oats
2 very ripe bananas large

2 tablespoons (tbsp) clover honey
2 large eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup whole blueberries

1 teaspoon (tsp) aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Here’s how I made them:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Uh, you may want to take anything in the oven out first. No need to preheat your frying pan or pot, besides you need the center rack free of obstacles so you can put your muffin pan there. J

2. I just happen to have a food processor and a blender but you can use either.
First I put the 2 cups of oatmeal in the food processor with the blending (steel) blade in place. Then I chop the oatmeal up until it looks like flour with a few bits here and there. Just a few minutes will do it. If you only have one machine, pour the powder out into a bowl to hold it while you do the wet ingredients.

3. In the blender I put the bananas, eggs, honey, yogurt, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla extract. Then I blended them all together until they looked like a smoothie. Finally I added the chopped up oats and blended them into the smoothie. Just a few seconds (5 or 10?) until everything is blended together into a nice batter.















4. Finally, add the whole blueberries. DO NOT BLEND! Just mix them into the batter with a spoon or spatula. You want them to stay whole. Set aside while you get your muffin pan ready.

5. Lightly butter up (or use a cooking spray) your muffin pan. I don’t bother to use paper liners but if you want to, consider spraying the insides of them.

6. Add the batter to the muffin pan cups. Fill them about ¾ full. Top with extra blueberries, nuts or both. I keep any extra batter to make soft cookies.
7. Bake for 20 minutes and give a few of the muffins the toothpick test. Insert a toothpick in the center and pull it out – clean is good, if there is wet batter bake for a few minutes (maybe 5) more.

8. Pull the pan out of the oven and set on a wire rack to keep the hot pan off your counter until the pan cools down. Then eat a muffin or two. ENJOY!
















This is what happens if you fill the muffin cups to the top. The batter flows out and forms a mushroom top. These tops were really cooked too, almost crispy.

Soft Cookies

The extra batter I used to make a few soft cookies. They tasted just like the muffins just thinner. You can add something else to the leftover batter if you want. I added peanut butter to the last batch for a different taste.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and put the batter in cookie shaped ovals on a flat pan. I use a solid pizza pan.
Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, pull them from the oven, place the pan on a wire rack and let the pan and cookies cool down. Then enjoy one or two while you clean up.

Options


1. I have used 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of the 2 large ripe bananas.

(Note: this is now my "go to" formula. I just can't seem to let the bananas sit around long enough to get real ripe - they get eaten way before that happens.)
2. Instead of blueberries, my last batch was made with semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I could not find unsweetened chocolate at the store I went to). You can use just about any fruit you like. I chopped up an apple and added that to the batter with cinnamon - tasty!

Hope you enjoy the trials. At least you can eat your errors. I sure have.