January 29, 2012

The Easiest and Most Delicious Healthy Muffins You'll Ever Make

It's a long title for a muffin, I know. But I had to describe these muffins accurately. 

These muffins are healthy! And ridiculously easy! And simple! Best yet, they are absolutely delicious. 

Actually, they are based on a scone recipe. Have you met a scone that wasn't baked with layers of cold butter? I hadn't, until I came across this South African scone recipe. It was fabulous, and I didn't have to travel to South Africa because instead it came to me. 

An intern at work, who was in the States for grad school, but was originally from South Africa, gave a presentation.  After her slide show she passed around her freshly baked scones, which she explained were her grandmother's recipe. When I looked at the accompanying recipe I was shocked that there was no butter and that they were remarkably simple. I went home and immediately adapted the recipe for breakfast the following morning. I wanted the scones to be even more nutritious. I swapped the oil with pumpkin puree, and the white flour for wheat. 


I had a scrumptious fat-free, light and fluffy pumpkin "scone". 

Since these are baked in silicone muffin cups, I am going to just go ahead and call them muffins instead of scones.... but wonderfully, they bear the same airy, moist crumb as a scone. 

For this batch I stirred in fresh cranberries. When they baked, their beautiful magenta juice burst into whimsical swirls against the backdrop of orange batter. Doesn't it almost look like a flavor ribboned scoop of ice cream? 

You can make your own flavor combinations in these muffins, which is what's fun about it. Keep the base the same, but you could substitute apple sauce for the pumpkin puree, or toss in nuts, dried fruits, or blueberries. You could even get a bit decadent with chocolate chips. There have been far worse combinations than pumpkin and chocolate...

Enjoy these muffins gently warmed, with a smear of jam or butter. I'll warn you that they will disappear quickly (they do in my house), but they are so easy to make that you could put another batch on the table just as fast.... which is why they certainly deserve their long, descriptive title, and I hope that you agree!

...The Easiest and Most Delicious Healthy Muffins...  adapted from "Ma's Scones"
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
zest of 1 orange
2 cups white-wheat flour (I use Trader Joe's)
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Whisk together the pumpkin, milk, egg, and orange zest. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just incorporated (do not over stir, you will get tough baked-goods!). Gently fold in the cranberries. Divide evenly among 8 silicone baking cups or greased and floured muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean. 

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