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.
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.
Per serving (one muffin): 236 calories (62 calories from fat), 7 g fat (3g saturated), 43 mg cholesterol, 40 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 21 g sugars, 5 g protein.
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.