Morning Muffins

The first weekend in May had Bryan and I relaxing.  We did not travel anywhere except to the next town over while on a bike ride.  We woke up early, cleaned the basement, we grilled out, visited with friends and enjoyed the wonderful weather.  I got up on Sunday morning to make a pie, but since I was out of bed before 8:00, I decided that the morning needed muffins.  I can’t remember the last time I made muffins, probably not since I worked at a bakery.  My early years of muffin baking consisted of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, and Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffins – the “high end” mix with a tin of wild blueberries and struesel topping!! I decided on muffins because Bryan and I have been attempting to eat more healthy, wholesome, nutritious ingredients.  Scones, which are usually what I eat to feed my “morning splurge” are just not quite the same without butter and cream.

I flipped open  Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce and settled on using her recipe for Ginger Peach Muffins as a guide.  I made quite a few substitutions, since I didn’t have peaches and was going for a “healthy” version.  First, I used Palm sugar which is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined. It’s acquired from the flowers that grow on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar.  This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins and minerals. The flavor is less sweet than sugar but has a slight earthy, caramel flavor that I really enjoy.  I then also substituted butter with virgin coconut oil.  I have used this product a few times and it has worked pretty well, it is most easy to use in its melted form.  Although it smells like coconut, I haven’t really tasted it in the things I have made thus far.  Although not a new product, I have seen it more commonly used as a “healthy fat” since it is higher in vitamin content, anti-oxidants, minerals, medium chain fatty acids, and even protein and had been touted as a “super food”.   One of the “good fats” that makes up about 50% of coconut oil, is lauric acid.  Lauric acid is a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk.  It is now being shown to have anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting properties.  Some researchers predict that lauric acid will one day become as well-known in health circles as Omega-3 is today. I found Palm sugar and coconut oil at Whole Foods.

More often than not my substitutions yield treats that are about 40% as good as the original, however these muffins were absolutely delicious! The crumb was more like a coffee cake, which I personally like and was happy about.  Warm, out of the oven with the smallest amount of melted butter, they were perfect with a second cup of coffee.

Morning Muffins with Blackberries

yield = 12 medium size muffins

Dry Mix:
1 c. oat flour
3/4 c. whole wheat pasty flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. palm sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 t. salt

Wet Mix:
3 oz. virgin coconut oil melted & cooled
3/4 c. low fat milk
1/2 c.  non fat Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 tbsp. vanilla

Half pint of blackberries.

Preheat oven to 350. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine all the wet ingredients except the coconut oil in a smaller bowl and whisk.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently combine, once half way combined add melted coconut oil and mix completely.  Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, fill them half way, place two blackberries in cup and cover with batter to fill cups completely. Add another blackberry or two on top.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Take out of the muffin and cool slightly in the tins.  Remove the muffins to a cooling rack.

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