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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Low Fat Blueberry Muffins

Father's Day:

Whenever Father's Day came around as a child blueberries were always the order of the day. Blueberry pancakes were the go to staple along with t-shirts coated in fabric paint. But, as I got older the edibles I made became more complex and increasingly more heavily coated in butter cream or chocolate glaze. This year, the second year I've been home for Father's Day since college, the family is on a health binge. This doesn't happen very often and I am so excited about it that I don't have the heart to make something smothered in chocolate. These muffins were so quick and easy to make I whipped up a test batch in a little under an hour before work this morning. But, if you aren't a morning person try toasting the pecans and mixing up the dry ingredients the night before. Then, in the morning, all you have to do is grease the tins and add the wet ingredients to the dry and bake. These muffins also freeze beautifully for up to two weeks! Store in an airtight container, wrapped individually in plastic wrap first, and either thaw at room temperature or microwave for 30 seconds at half power.

I found this recipe in "Cook Healthy Cook Quick"(1994), a cookbook given to us years ago by a neighbor. Although they looked delightful and puffed up beautifully (even the mini muffins) they were just this side of bland. But at only 150 calories and 5 grams of fat a muffin I didn't want to do anything to endanger the "good behavior" these muffins encouraged. Adding a 1/4 a cup of toasted, chopped pecans to the batter does wonders to add flavor without a lot of fat. Doubling up on the amount of zest also helps brighten the flavor of the muffins. But, if it is a special occasion, say Father's Day, dust the top of the un-baked muffins with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

Did I mention that blueberries were scrumptious and are just coming into season? Seasonable fruit means student friendly prices tags. Blueberries are also an excellent source of antioxidants and the perfect companion to almost any breakfast. These low fat blueberry muffins are the perfect use for fresh berries and make a guilt-free mid morning or afternoon snack. Makes 1 dozen.

Grocery List:
Non-fat buttermilk

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen defrosted and drained)

3/4 cup non-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease muffin tins with cooking spray or butter.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and allspice into a bowl. Stir in the toasted pecans and blueberries to coat.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients.
4. Combine the buttermilk and remaining ingredients in a large cup or small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until moist. Do not over mix! It is okay if the batter is lumpy.
5. Using an ice cream scoop spoon the batter into the greased muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly and remove from the pans.

Spoon the batter into the greased mini-muffin tins until almost full. Top with cinnamon sugar mixture if using it and bake for 15 minutes at 375 or until golden. They are adorable!

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