Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing It Up: Pumpkin-Oat Muffins

I thought I'd interrupt the fat-fest that is this site with a little healthy something I came up with at about 4 o'clock this morning. I was wide awake and bored, so you all get to reap the benefits.

Most folks know that you can substitute applesauce for oil or butter in a muffin recipe to reduce the fat and amp up the nutritionl value. Did you know you can do the same thing with pumpkin? I was inspired by an oatmeal muffin I saw, but I wanted to make it a little more seasonal and a little more figure-friendly. Let's face it: I'll be doing enough damage to my hard-earned waistline over the next two months, I need all the fiber and vitamins I can get.

Two fun facts before we get on with the recipe:

1) The secret ingredient here is Chinese five spice powder, and you need to try it. It adds great depth of flavor to savory AND sweet foods. It's become common enough that you'll find it in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores.

2) This recipe makes one dozen standard muffins plus one dozen mini muffins. It's also safe for your incredibly spoiled dogs to eat, so save the minis as dog treats.

Because he didn't get this awesome on puppy chow alone...

So here we go


2 1/3 cups oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup oat bran
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 heaping cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 cup water, heated to boiling

Preheat the oven to 375. Generously coat a standard size muffin tin and a mini muffin tin with cooking spray (I like baker's joy), or use muffin papers.

Combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, oat bran, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and pumpkin till smooth. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir just till combined. Quickly beat in the boiling water then let stand for about 5 minutes. Divide evenly among standard muffin cups, filling 2/3 full, then divide the remaining batter among the mini muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes (they won't rise a whole lot).


Serve warm, or let cool completely and store in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Then just thaw them out and warm in the microwave for a few seconds when the muffin mood strikes. To really put these over the top, sweeten softened cream cheese with honey to taste and slather all over a warm muffin. That may cancel out some of the healthy on these, but it's soooo yummy!

Hope you like them!

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