A few weeks ago, my parents (whom I affectionately refer to online as Mama T and CuteDad) decided to have some people over for mahjong. They obviously had to buy food for their guests, so they went to Costco and bought so many raspberries, strawberries and blueberries that it probably worked out to a punnet per person. Needless to say, most of the fruit was left untouched (including a pack of Asian pears that eerily did not go soft or brown for 2-3 weeks), and since my siblings have not fully grasped the benefits of eating fruit (or adequate sleep, or regular physical activity, for that matter), I was virtually left to deal with it alone. Sure, smoothies are great, and so is the simplicity of topping a bit of thick, creamy Liberté 0% Greek Yogurt with some fresh berries, but the only surefire way to get rid of a lot berries at once (and get people to eat them!) is to turn them into baked goods.
These muffins can actually be traced back to Cook's Illustrated, which peskily asks you to sign up in order to view the recipes on their website. Obviously, I will save you the trouble of having to give your address to yet another corporation and tell you that versions of the recipe actually appear at least three times in the blogosphere - on Simply Recipes, Smitten Kitchen and montcarte.
Of course, I couldn't help but "healthify" the recipe - it is a muffin, not a cake, after all - and used whole wheat flour instead of white. Since we have an ample supply of oat bran and ground flaxseed at home I find that I often swap out a tiny bit of the flour for it in my baked goods. I cut down on the sugar a little bit and I used salted butter and took out the added salt - one day I will have to figure out how much salt is in salted butter to see if that's a worthwhile swap.
Despite all the modifications, the muffins were still a hit! They've probably lost their "perfect"/"Better-than-the-bakery" status, but they were moist, fluffy and exploding with berries.
This recipe doubles quite easily (what I did), but make sure you have the equipment to be mixing such a big batch of batter! Otherwise your muffins end up with little clumps of flour floating to the top :(
I made these again with strawberries instead of blueberries, and tried to make them the smaller size that Deb (Smitten Kitchen) recommends. Strawberries don't look as pretty when they're baked into muffins (they take on this greyish hue and get all slimy) and I lost control of the temperature a bit and burnt the bottoms. (Oops!)
One of the girls at work has been bugging me for this recipe and for one reason or another I haven't been able to put it up until now - this one's for you, Tara.
Whole Wheat Blueberry Oat Bran Flax Muffins
Adapted from Simply Recipes, Smitten Kitchen and montcarte
Makes 16-24 muffins (recipe doubles and halves easily)
- 2½ cups (625 mL) whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup (60 mL) oat bran*
- ¼ cup (60 mL) ground flaxseed*
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
- 10 tbsp (150 mL, or 1¼ stick) butter, softened
- ¾ cup (185 mL) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 1½ cups (375 mL) plain yogurt
- 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon peel
- 2 cups (500 mL) blueberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted
Nutrition Info (for 1 of 16 muffins): 216 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated), 46 mg cholesterol, 29 g carbohydrate (4 g fibre, 13 g sugar), 6 g protein, 208 mg sodium. An excellent source of manganese and selenium. A good source of magnesium.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C). Line a standard (not mini) muffin tin with paper liners, or grease each muffin cup individually. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, oat bran, flax, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each one. Beat in grated lemon peel.
- For this step, make sure that you beat the ingredients until just incorporated. Do not over-beat. Beat in half of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Beat in a third (½ cup/125 mL) of yogurt. Beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Beat in another third of the yogurt. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, then the yogurt. Fold in the berries. If you are using frozen berries, defrost and drain excess liquid before tossing them in about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of flour.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups - for bigger muffins, fill the cups until they are nearly full, for smaller muffins, fill only to three-quarters full.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
*If you don't have oat bran or flaxseed, feel free to just substitute with more flour, or better yet, any other ground up healthy stuff like wheat bran, psyllium, hemp seed, chia seed or ground nuts.