Photos and Words by Daniela Ratner
You see them every time you wait in line to order coffee at Starbucks; they are never missing behind the glass case at your local bakery shop. These delectable, little things come in any flavor--from double chocolate chip to maple spice. Their puffy tops may be garnished with pecans, almonds, cinnamon sugar, or blueberries. And yes, I am talking about muffins. Whether they are baked to perfection or topped with sweet honey, you can never go wrong by starting your morning with a fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin. Whenever I get a whiff of the cherry-almond muffins at Espresso Royale, I instantly curse the day I decided to maintain a low carb diet Mondays through Fridays. Why shouldn’t we enjoy muffins everyday? A muffin a day keeps the doctor away, doesn’t it? Sadly, it doesn’t. We would probably gain some unwanted weight if we devoured them whenever we wanted.
But wait fellow muffin lovers, I found a solution! Now you can eat a muffin top without gaining one. All it takes is a little bit of time in the kitchen and a healthy recipe. The recipes below are two different flavors. The first one is a scrumptious chocolate-zucchini muffin--don’t be skeptical about the combination, trust me. And at just 90 calories per muffin, they are pretty amazing. The second recipe is an oatmeal-blueberry muffin. This one is just under 130 calories and also delicious.
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (adapted from Happy Herbivore) Makes 12 muffins
- 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 whole banana, mashed
- ½ cup raw sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup plant-based milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- ½ cup raw sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin pan and set aside. If using paper liners, lightly spray the inside with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- In a medium bowl whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. In another bowl, cream mashed banana with applesauce and sugar--use extra 1/2 cup for a very sweet, dessert-like muffin. Add in soy milk, vanilla, zucchini and any other optional add-ins you might like such as vegan chocolate chips or chopped raw walnuts. Stir until evenly combined.
- Add flour mix to wet mix in three batches and stir until just combined.
- Spoon batter into greased pan and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Chef's Note: These muffins store well both in the fridge and freezer & the raw sugar in this recipe may be reduced to 1/2 cup.
Blueberry-Oatmeal muffins (adapted from Happy Herbivore) Makes 12 muffins
- 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¾ cup wild blueberries, frozen
- Preheat oven 350 F. Grease or spray a muffin tin or paper liners if using.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together until well combined. Add applesauce, sugars and maple then stir until almost combined. Add blueberries, stirring until just combined.
- Spoon into muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional oats and brown sugar on top if desired. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Both of these muffins are a great way to get proper nutrients in your body. They are great as a snack for anytime of the day; they also make a great breakfast combined with fresh fruits or greek yogurt. One of the best ways to control your calorie intake is by cooking your own meals. That said, put your aprons on and go bake some healthy muffins.