Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Smarter Peach Muffin

The goal of my cooking and baking is to make substitutions or additions to recipes that will boost the nutrition while reducing the carbohydrates and sugars without compromising flavor or texture. These wholesome muffins are a fine example. I have taken a traditional peach muffin recipe, substituted almond flour and oats for most of the nutritionally-empty white flour and further boost the nutrition by sneaking in pureed squash. (Use your own leftover cooked butternut squash or substitute canned or pumpkin.) By doing this, I have created a delicious muffin bursting with fresh fruit flavor that is an excellent source of potassium, Vitamins E, C and A, beta-carotene, magnesium, Vitamins B2, B6 and niacin. You'll never get all of that from a traditional peach muffin made from white flour and sugar! While all of this is good to know, what really counts is the taste. Trust me, these are delicious, especially warm out of the oven on a frosty morning.

Smarter Peach Muffins
(Makes 12)

1 large ripe peach (or 1 cup thawed from frozen), chopped into small pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
¾ cup rolled oats
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Grated rind of 1 small orange or large lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
¼ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup pureed butternut squash or pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Spray twelve muffin cups with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Break up any lumps in the almond flour with a fork; set aside. Chop peach and set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg, citrus rind, brown sugar and Splenda with handheld or standing mixer until well combined. Add oil and vanilla and beat for 1-2 minutes until thick slightly increased in volume. Add squash puree and beat until combined.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Mix quickly with a wooden spoon, just until the dry mixture is moistened. Fold in chopped peaches. Using a ¼ cup measure or large cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers may be frozen.

Nutritional Information per muffin: 151 calories, 16.3 g carbohydrates, 8.7 g total fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 2.2 g fiber, 3.6 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with a traditional peach muffin made with white flour? This recipe is packed with more fiber, vitamins and minerals (as mentioned above), plus it is 100 calories less and only half the carbohydrates! For comparison, the nutritional information for a traditional peach muffin is 258 calories, 36.6 g carbohydrate, 10.8 g total fat, 0.3 g fiber, and 3.5 g protein.

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