Healthy muffins made from oats, some whole wheat flour and apples. No oil, dairy, butter or refined sugar!
Not surprisingly, I love baking. Mixing everything together, licking the wooden spoon, enjoying the smells wafting from the oven, eating the final product – I love the whole shebang.
But, for me, baking usually comes with a peculiar side effect: my brain’s overwhelmed by a sugar high and I feel like jumping off the walls. And I’m hungry like a possessed cookie monster.
I’m serious about that last point. There were plenty of instances in my childhood when I’d help bake cookies, and then a significant portion of the batch would ‘disappear’ within minutes of coming out of the oven.
Generally, I find that eating some fruit and yogurt along with my cookie/muffin/etc. helps the situation. Nevertheless, earlier this year I made it my mission to bake some muffins that didn’t give me the same reaction.
Lo and behold, my very oat-y muffins.
Truth be told, I think part of my reaction to baked goods is due to excitement. So part of me did still want to bounce off the wall when making these (yes, baking does turn me into a two-year-old).
But I didn’t get the same sugar-rush, and these muffins were surprisingly filling.
There were three things that I did to make these sugar-rush-free: changed the flour, replaced the refined sugar, and added a little extra protein (without using protein powder).
First, the flour. There’s still some all purpose flour in this recipe, but it’s largely been replaced by a mixture of ground oats and whole wheat flour. Oats also add texture, and that oat-y flavor that I love.
Second, the sugar. While I generally try to make my baked goods on the healthier side, I’ll usually include some brown sugar for flavor and texture. But this time I completely replaced it with pure maple syrup and applesauce.
I know many people are wary of maple syrup and honey, but I adore them. Unlike sugar, they don’t give me a case of the crazy brain, and they add tons of flavor to everything! I’d much rather enjoy the natural sweetness and flavor of maple syrup than (heaven forbid) eat artificial sweeteners.
Or stevia, for that matter. I don’t know exactly what stevia is, but I do know that it (a) tastes horrible to me; and (b) gives me headaches.
The applesauce also adds some natural sweetness. You can make your own applesauce by simply blending/pureeing some cooked or canned apple slices.
Thirdly, there’s the protein. I’m not about to tout these as ‘high protein’ or anything, but I’m pretty sure they contain a little more protein than your average apple and cinnamon muffin. This is due to the oats and almond butter.
Oats naturally contain more protein than all purpose flour, and we all know that almond butter is high in protein. Between the almond butter and applesauce, there’s no need for butter or oil in these muffins.
Of course, for some more protein you could always add some chopped nuts to these muffins – I imagine walnuts would be delicious!
Just one note about the muffin batter, and baking in general: use your common sense. Since flours can vary, and applesauces can vary too (some applesauces are more watery than others), you may need to add a touch of milk or more flour to the batter.
Muffin batter is supposed to be quite thick, but if the flour isn’t mixing in because the batter’s too dry, pour in some milk (dairy or non-dairy).
Conversely, if the batter seems too thin, stir in some extra ground oats (alternatively add whole oats, or all purpose flour).
Last but not least, this is an easy recipe to halve! So if you only want six muffins, rather than twelve, then you’re in luck. As long as you remember that half of ¼ cup is 2 tablespoons (assuming you’re using the standard 15mL tablespoons), the rest pretty simple.
And I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!
Now it’s November, we only have 54 days until Christmas – which is either exciting or terrifying or both.
(Ok, for me it’s very exciting!)
- 1 ¼ cups (130g) rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup (190g) applesauce
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- ¼ cup (70g) almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 small apple, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup (65g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (75g) whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Extra rolled oats, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with cooking oil spray.
- Use a coffee grinder (or food processor or blender) to grind 1 cup (105g) of the oats into a flour. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Add the applesauce, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix until completely combined. Stir in the chopped apple.
- Add the ground oats, the remaining ¼ cup (25g) of whole oats, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared muffin holes, filling the holes approximately three-quarters of the way up. Sprinkle over some extra rolled oats.
- Bake for 15 - 19 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean (or with a few dry crumbs). Allow the muffins to sit in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve with coffee (or tea).
Use a smooth applesauce, and not a chunky one. You can easily make applesauce by using a blender or food processor to puree cooked (or canned) apples.
Make sure you chop the apple into small cubes (preferably, about ¼-inch cubes).
Instead of grinding 1 cup of rolled oats in Step 2, you can use 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of oat flour.