Category: Muffins

Chilli and olive muffins

Here’s a lovely thing. Heavy, dough like muffins with a cheesy spicy flavour and crispy polenta baked on top.

They’re not your average muffin. If you throw one at someone while they’re not paying attention it’ll hurt (I said I was sorry, I really thought they were looking at me).

Easy as pie to make.  Easier in fact, as pie is much harder to make than muffins (oh, come on, I had to say it!).

No need to stand on ceremony with these muffins. You just throw all your ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. It’s a good bicep workout.

Then spoon the mixture in to your prepared muffin tray.

And sprinkle the polenta on top.

Easy. And also quite low on calories. Bonus!

Ingredients
1 egg
3/4 water
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups grated lite cheese
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced (I go for the ones in the jar that are already pitted and sliced, but cutting them up from scratch would be lovely)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, or slice a whole dried chilli very finely
2 tablespoons polenta (cornmeal)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Mix together all ingredients except cornmeal. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more of water if needed – I often find it does. The mixture will be very solid and dough like.
  3. Spoon in to your well-greased muffin pan and sprinkle with the polenta. Press down on the top of each muffin slightly to help the polenta stick to the muffin.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Makes 12 smallish muffins.

Note: The muffins are quite small, but I wouldn’t recommend making fewer and larger muffins. As they’re quite solid, the small size and crispy top works well. Best served warmed.

Healthy? At 130 calories they’re a good little snack.

Gluten free? No, and I haven’t tried adapting.

Storage:  They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Source: modified from the Muffin Bible olive & chilli muffins.

Low fat apple oatmeal muffins

These muffins remind me of warm apple and cinnamon porridge on a cold winter’s morning.

They also remind me of being backstage while in a play. My other love, besides baking (read: eating), is treading the boards in community theatres. It’s a very welcoming place where you instantly inherit an urban family. Something very handy when you tend to move home towns a bit.

I’m a theatre school drop-out. I switched to a business degree in my second year at university; I lacked the courage those in the arts have to embark on what is a rather uncertain career.

Luckily I really enjoy my day job in Communications. It was a good choice for me. Then I run off once or twice a year when a kindly director lets me pretend to be someone else for three weeks.

Globe theatre in London

These muffins, being full of oats and apples, tend to be my mid play snack of choice. They’re healthier than most and I kid myself that there as good as eating an apple. Then I follow them up with an entire pack of sour worm lollies. Mmmm.

I also learn lines while I bake. I used to bribe my little sister with said baked goods to sit in the kitchen while I cooked and test me. Now my dear patient boyfriend has inherited the task. Chocolate chip cookies work well on both of them.

So without further ado, let me present low fat apple oatmeal muffin!

Ingredients
4 large apples
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain fat-free yoghurt
2 egg whites

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Peel and grate the apples, should make around two cups worth. Blot shredded apple on paper towel to get rid of a little of the excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix with a whisk.
  4. Combine milk, oil, vanilla, yoghurt and egg whites. Stirring until well blended. Add wet ingredients to flour bowl, add apple and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden. Makes 12.

Healthy? Awesomely so. One of the most delicious and moist low fat muffins I’ve ever found. 165 calories per muffin.

Gluten free? I have done this. Substitute the flour and oats with GF versions of each and it converts across really well.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days.

Strawberry almond muffins

This week I haven’t blogged much as I’ve been in Paris (tough life, huh). It has been a very indulgent six days. My left kidney is currently on e-bay to pay for my extravagances if you know an interested buyer.

I must say though, by the time I get home from such fun, I’m usually very glad to see my kitchen. I fall on my muesli box with delight, pat my toaster lovingly and open my pantry with a sigh of relief. Healthy, simple food.

I think there is nothing quite as nice as when berries come in to season and what was unaffordable, can now be used in large quantities.

To start off my week, here is some strawberry and almond muffins.  You know a recipe which uses two full cups of strawberries is going to be fun. I find cutting them all up and looking at the large pile waiting to be turned into muffins very satisfying.

This recipe requires a nice amount of folding (so as not to mush all your precious strawberries) so don’t forget the tips in step-by-step how to make muffins.

Ingredients
½ cup butter (about 115 grams), softened (or 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup natural yoghurt for a healthier version)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup lite milk
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup slivered almonds

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar with electric beater, or you soften the butter in the microwave on defrost and hand whisk.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time and blend until fluffy. Mix in the milk.
  4. Add flours, baking powder and salt, fold in until just combined.
  5. Fold in the strawberries and almonds. Mmm…look at ’em all! That’s a good amount of strawberries.
  6. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden. Makes 12.

Healthy? With ½ cup butter (as written) it’s 258 calories, with ¼ butter and ¼ natural yoghurt it’s 226.

Gluten free? No, I haven’t tried to adapt these.

Storage:  They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Source: Modified from Sue’s strawberry almond muffins on food.com.

Chocolate carrot muffins

Pop quiz time!

Would you like:

a) Some dark chocolate
b) A carrot
c) All of the above

If you answered c, then boy do I have a muffin for you!

Before…(well kind of, you use grated carrot, but it wasn’t as pretty to get my point across)

After! (like magic)

These are SUPER moist and dense. You can thank the all the carroty/oaty goodness for their texture. Plus they have vitamin D.

At 140 calories a muffin, these are also one of the healthiest muffins around. Especially as most sweet things this low in calories would contain some god-awful sweetening agent. And you can taste that stuff. Word.

Ingredients
1 cup raw oatmeal or quick oats
1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup flour / rice flour or a gluten-free alternative
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup grated carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup (about 100 grams) of dark chocolate chips

Note: I cut up some of a block of dark cooking chocolate for the chocolate chips, the recipe tends to lend itself to the rough kind of chocolate chips you get by doing it that way.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Soak the oatmeal/oats in the milk while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder together, then add the rest of the ingredients, including oats/oatmeal (don’t over mix!).
  4. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and they bounce back to touch. Cool on wire rack. Makes 12.

Healthy? 140 calories a muffin.

Gluten free: I have made these with rice flour and they work really well. No one even noticed. This muffin is moist enough to handle GF flour well. Make sure your oats are GF too.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Healthy spinach and feta muffins

Healthy is a namby pamby word. What is that all about? These muffins are healthy, but totally accidentally, because you’d never think so. I am healthy (because I say so), but am eating trifle straight out of the bowl as I write this.

So now we’re just arguing over semantics. Let’s not argue.

I joined a gym when I first moved to London and the next day I used my break clause to quit that same gym. It smelt, and quite frankly, I thought the money could be better spent.

So I made a deal with myself. I would always walk up and down the escalators at tube stations and then we (‘we’ being me and my alter ego) could use the spare money to go on more holidays! Yay! Total win-win.

For those of you who also think gyms smell, this recipe might come in handy. It might be because it’s made with water instead of butter, but at 120 calories, it’s a great snack. It’s healthy.

How is it still healthy with three different types of cheese? Because I say so.

So let’s not argue, let’s do this instead:

Take a cup of baby spinach and 100 grams of feta

Show the spinach who’s boss. Chop it good.

Put the rest of your ingredients in a bowl. Not too fancy. Just chuck it all in.

Spoon in to your trusty muffin tin. Top with parmesan.

Be healthy.

Ingredients
1 egg
1 cup water
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 grams low-fat feta cheese, crumbled or cut into 1cm cubes
1 cup of finely chopped baby spinach
2/3 cup low-fat grated cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, to top muffins

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Mix all ingredients together except parmesan. It will be very solid.
  3. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with parmesan
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until muffins are golden. Makes 12.

Healthy? 120 calories. So yea.

Gluten free? Swap out the flour for a GF alternative and these work well.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in an airtight container.

Source: modified from the Muffin Bible spinach and feta muffins.