Tuesday, April 23, 2013

(Seriously!) Healthy Oat Chocolate Muffins

Our good friends Mike and Erika gifted a beautiful teapot for Karla’s wedding last fall, and we had been planning to have a tea party for a while so we could use it. So a couple weekends ago we got together to have refreshing tea with cookies and muffins. That was my first attempt at baking oat muffins, which turned out okay, but not quite how I wanted. They were not as moist as I thought they would be, and the texture was a bit dense. So after making some modifications to the recipe (and a few spills and burns later), I am pretty happy with the result – a light and moist chocolate muffin, which really is healthy!

Ingredients (Makes ~12 regular or ~36 mini muffins)
1 ¾ cup old fashioned oats
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp cream of tartar (or 2 tsp. vinegar)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup agave nectar (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup yogurt (I used low fat)
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup hot water (1 cup water if using granulated sugar instead of agave nectar)
Chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners (or prepare any other baking pan by lightly greasing).
In a food processor, grind all the dry ingredients together (except chocolate chips). Add the wet ingredients and blend. The hot water should be added in the end, just before you start blending, or you might lose all the fizz from the baking soda which helps with the airy texture.
Fold in the chocolate chips in the batter. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full, and bake for 10 min. After 10 min, sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the muffins, and bake for another 3-4 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with some cooked batter stuck to it (not liquid!). Do not wait for the toothpick to come out clean, or the muffins might be too dry.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tea and crumpets! Well, just the crumpets.

One day, several years ago, I had a near-insatiable craving for oatmeal raisin cookies. Fortunately, I had a container of Quaker Oats, which always has a recipe for their Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin CookiesUnfortunately, I didn’t have half the ingredients, and didn’t really want to run to the store just to indulge my sweet tooth. So I started researching substitutions for ingredients – oil or margarine for butter, Splenda instead of sugar (since I had neither granulated nor brown), wheat for all-purpose flour, cranberries for raisins, etc. The end result? Instead of oatmeal raisin cookies, I got miniature cranberry oatmeal scones! Thankfully I took note of all the substitutions, and over the years have refined the recipe – relatively easy to whip up and not all that unhealthy!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter/margarine (I use ¼ cup all-natural, no sugar added apple sauce, and just under ¾ cup canola oil)
1.5 cups sugar (Splenda)
2 eggs (EggBeaters)
1.5 cups flour (super fine whole wheat flour)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
~2 cups Quaker Oats (quick 1-minute or old fashioned)
~1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat together butter/margarine (or apple sauce/oil) and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the oats and cranberries. Drop rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake roughly 15 minutes or until the tops and edges start to brown. Cool for a minute or two before serving. Makes a great snack or after-dinner-with-coffee-or-tea treat!