Apricot and Pecan Muffins
Packed with fresh fruit and nuts, and delicately spiced with cinnamon, these homemade apricot and pecan muffins are lower in fat and sugar than store-bought muffins, and contain no trans fats or preservatives.
2 1/4 cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) wheat bran
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 large eggs
6 tbsp (90 mL) light unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (250 mL) skim milk
5 apricots, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped, about 1 cup (250 mL)
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped pecans
• Health experts recommend increasing the amount of fibre in our diet. These muffins help to do just that, especially when made with 1 cup (250 mL) chopped dried apricots instead of fresh ones. The muffins contribute both soluble and insoluble fibre, which is good for digestion, and also helpful in controlling the fat in our blood.
• Wheat bran is the indigestible outer fibrous part of the wheat grain. It is one of the richest sources of dietary fibre and helps keep the digestive system healthy.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, wheat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until frothy and light yellow. Beat in the butter, then the milk, until well blended. Pour this mixture into the well in the centre of the flour mixture. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not overmix the batter or the muffins will be tough. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the apricots and pecans.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups 3/4 full. Bake the muffins until they are peaked and golden brown, about 20 minutes. The muffins are done when a wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean, with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 3 minutes before removing them. These muffins are best when served piping hot or within a few hours of baking.
Preparation time 25 minutes; baking time 20 minutes; makes 12 large muffins
• Banana-nut muffins: Use 1 cup (250 mL) mashed ripe banana instead of the apricots.
• Blueberry-nut muffins: Substitute 1 tsp (5 mL) grated orange zest for the lemon zest. Substitute 2 cups (500 mL) fresh blueberries for the apricots and 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped walnuts for the pecans.
• Strawberry muffins: Substitute 2 cups (500 mL) coarsely chopped, ripe strawberries for the apricots.
• Peach muffins: Use 2 cups (500 mL) coarsely chopped, peeled peaches instead of the apricots.
• High-fibre muffins: Use 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup (50 mL) of whole-wheat flour.
Each serving (one muffin) provides: calories 236, calories from fat 62, fat 7 g, saturated fat 3 g, cholesterol 43 mg, carbohydrate 40 g, fibre 2 g, sugars 21 g, protein 5 g.
Choices per serving: Carbohydrate 2 1/2, fat 1 1/2