This is the last muffin….
A few more on the plate would sure make for a prettier picture.
I think I may have eaten them with each meal of the day….
Muffins that Taste Like Donuts
This morning my mean kids hauled me out of bed at the crack of dawn, 8:00 am, and demanded food. The nerve!
One of my lofty goals for the summer is to cook more with my kids. Since I have recently become a Pioneer Woman addict and she highly recommended this recipe, I decided the kids and I would give the recipe “Muffins that Taste Like Donuts” a try.
Who can resist a name like that anyway? Not only did it sound good, but the little blurb at the top claimed “tastes like a donut but healthier.” Add to this the fact that this was the easiest recipe ever and I was sold!
Now before my excitement gets the best of me let me, just take a moment to clarify. The word “muffin” generally makes a person think they’re making a healthy choice. Please forgive me, I hate to be the Negative Nancy in the room, but I’ve got bad news to impart.
A muffin is basically just a cupcake without the sexy frosting. Yes, I know, having no frosting does make it a healthier choice, but it’s still cake. And, if it’s been bought at the coffee shop, grocery store or comes in a box then it’s usually going to have more calories, sugar and sodium than any muffin you’d make at home. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the nutrition facts of a Costco muffin. It’s astounding!
Back to the muffins!
Okay, so I understand that these muffins aren’t going to be the healthiest things we’ve ever consumed. After all they’re dipped in butter and rolled in sugar! However, there’s potential for improvement here. We can make these babies glide instead of race through the blood stream. I want these to be a “muffin” instead of “cake.”
There are 3 steps to make just about any recipe that contains sugar and flour healthier:
Make it yourself (from scratch)!
Replace part or all of the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat pastry flour
Reduce sugar or replace part or all of the sugar with a healthier alternative.
Number one doesn’t need further explanation. So let’s move on to #2.
*Whole wheat pastry flour is my secret ingredient in all quick breads, cookies, waffles, and pancake type of recipes. It doesn’t impart the strong earthy flavor that typical whole wheat does. It’s also not as heavy; and when you’re making any of the items listed above you don’t usually want a dense, firm texture. A light and moist texture is more palatable. (To learn all about whole wheat pastry flour, click here)
In the case of the donut muffins we substituted a little over half whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour. All purpose white flour is like no other. If you’re making a treat and you don’t want to compromise flavor or texture at all then you still have to have the majority of the flour you use be white (preferably organic). In the case of waffles and pancakes, and even certain types of cookies like oatmeal or chocolate chip, you can replace all of the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. The trick is to let the batter sit (refrigerated) for awhile (about an hour for cookies and about 10 minutes for waffles and pancakes) to let the moisture absorb and soften the flour.
On to item #3, Reducing Sugar
I’ve tried all sorts of tricks to lessen the amount of sugar in my recipes and many have failed miserably. Fortunately, coconut sugar, palm sugar, rapadura and sucanut are all less refined than regular granulated white sugar, and are a much healthier choice than conventional white sugar. You can use them in a 1:1 ratio when replacing white sugar and they are typically not as sweet.
Muffins that Taste Like Donuts, Healthified!
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (brand I recommend)
3/4 cup organic all purpose flour (brand I recommend)
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cups coconut oil
1/2 cups coconut sugar
1 whole egg
¾ cups milk (or dairy alternative)
For the Topping:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup organic white sugar or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.
Shake muffins out while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool.
*Whole wheat pastry flour does not have much gluten in it so it should not be used in place of whole wheat or all-purpose white flour in recipes, such as bread, that contain yeast.