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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

Anytime you read a health magazine or pick up one of those "Eat This, Not That" books in the bookstore, you'll likely read about the calorie bombs that muffins are. The articles complain that the breakfast pastry is chock full of white flour and sugar, making it more of a decadent dessert than a nutritious breakfast option. With this in mind, I tend to shy away from picking a muffin from the display case in a coffee shop or cafe, no matter how tempting it looks.

But Cooking Light has proven that muffins don't have to be the diet-wrecker than many make them to be. Instead, their recipe features whole wheat flour, oats, and minimal oil, bringing each muffin under 200 calories...definitely a better breakfast option and an ideal accompaniment to some yogurt or fruit to make for a more complete meal.

I slightly adapted Cooking Light's recipe, substituting frozen cranberries for the blueberries it suggested and keeping my oats whole rather than grinding them in the food processor. Feel free to change up the fruit in here or even try a variety of berries or fruits. Next time I may use all whole wheat flour because thanks to the buttermilk, these muffins were moist and not at all heavy; using all whole wheat flour shouldn't affect the texture too much but will boost the nutrition a bit more!

Coffee shop muffins, like everything else, can and should be enjoyed in moderation. But if you're someone who craves a muffin for breakfast every morning, this allows a more nutritious option than the neighborhood Starbucks!

One Year Ago: Spring Green Risotto

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light August 2010

-1 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats
-2/3 cup (3 oz.) all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup (2.33 oz.) whole wheat flour
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp salt
-1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
-1/4 cup canola oil
-2 tsp grated lemon rind
-2 large eggs
-2 cups frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
-cooking spray
-2 tbsp turbinado (or granulated sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat 16 muffin cups (or 12 regular sized and 12 mini sized) with cooking spray.
2. Stir oats, flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk with oil, lemon rind, and eggs. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
4. Gently fold cranberries into the batter and spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp turbinado sugar/granulated sugar. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes (large muffins) and 12-15 minutes (mini muffins) until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Remove from muffin cups immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.

This content was originally posted on Honest Cooking in my featured column "Cooking the Magazines".