Monday, October 15, 2007

A healthy kickstart to summer!

Right. Now that summer's rolling around and race season's round the corner, it's probably a good time to start making the transition from my usual sugary treats to more healthy, waist & heart-friendly options. For someone with a serious sweet tooth such as myself, flipping through the numerous recipes in search of healthy baked goods was pure torture. Cherry tarts, crimson red and luscious, seductively dark chocolate gateaux and creamy lemony cheesecakes seemed to leap right out of the pages screaming "Pick me pick me!!!". I needed way more than a foodie-equivalent of a crucifix to fend off all these sinful sights that made me weak in the knees. Still, I wasn't about to be pushed around by these little desserts. Nah, not me. So I anchored myself in front of my laptop, salivating (but still very much in control) and sifted through recipe after recipe.

Just as I was about to throw in the towel and give in to making a deliciously looking guiness-chocolate cake, one last recipe caught my eye: Baked bran muffins from 101 cookbooks. Wholesome? Check. Like museli/bran? Love it! Check. (I have museli practically every weekday morning) Allows me to incorporate the Leatherwood honey I bought? Check. Parfait! :)

Happily, I penned the recipe and trotted my way down to the little supermarket down the road which stocks plenty of specialty foodstuffs. This is my first time cooking with organic ingredients such as whole wheat flour since they are usually quite expensive to fit into my student budget, so I was pretty excited to see how they'll turn out. They certainly didn't disappoint. The floral notes in the honey stood out brilliantly and I couldnt help congratulating myself silently for the excellent choice as the scents wafted up from the muffin batter. I folded in sunflower seeds as well for a little added crunch - I love having different textures in a bite.

There's only one problem - I kind of made too much, and these dont keep very well unless you have an airtight container (which incidentally, i dont). So the next thing to do was to experiment ways to finish these, and it's funny how inventive you can suddenly get. Ate them deliciously warm straight out of the oven, slathered with a bit of salted butter, paired with a little teaspoon of yoghurt, a teeny knob of honey... I even dunked them in milk this morning with a handful of sultanas and sunflower seeds thrown in and ate them as I would normally eat museli. Yum. Hope you'll like them!

Baby Bran Muffins (slightly adapted from 101 cookbooks)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oat bran (or any kind of bran you like - personally I cant tell the difference)
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups natural yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey (i would add a bit more as i love my muffins a bit more moist)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup of add-ins of your choice - raisins, chopped dried fruit, nuts, etc (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees, racks in the middle.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, bran, salt, baking soda and sugar.
Beat together the yogurt, egg, honey, and butter in a second larger bowl. Add the dry ingredients and fold in until everything comes together. Fold in any optional add-ins, raisins, nuts, and the like. Resist overmixing.
Either grease a mini-muffin tin with butter or line the tin with small muffin papers. Fill each 3/4 full. Bake 10 -15 minutes, until muffins are golden on top and cooked through. You can also make larger muffins in a standard size muffin pan with this batter, you just need to bake them about 5 minutes longer.
Makes about two dozen tiny bran muffins or one dozen larger ones.


Anonymous said...

I love what you did with your photos, and header image!!

teach me!! ;D

Anonymous said...

gimme some of those pls..


Cynthia said...

hahaha thanx!
sure i'll make some for you when i get back ;p