Breakfast Blueberry Muffins
I have recently started on a mission to eat healthier meals. Breakfast is a big challenge for us, as I believe I discussed in my “Gourmet” Breakfast Sandwiches post, because all I want to do in the mornings is sleep, so actually preparing something is not really a viable option. Whatever we eat on a weekday morning has to already be put together. The most I will do is put it in the toaster and spread butter, or spoon it into a bowl.
When I found this recipe on Real Simple, I was excited to try it out. (Fortunately I didn’t read the reviews – not very positive!) The ingredients weren’t things I had in my pantry already, but they were easy enough to find. I even found the Flax Seed at Giant, which was a surprise. I don’t believe in nuts, so I skipped the pecans entirely and used extra flax seed and extra oats instead. For the blueberries, I found frozen Maine blueberries, which are smaller and sweeter and taste delicious in a muffin.
The best thing about these is how easy they are to make. Other than lugging my Cuisinart out of the cabinet, which admittedly is a pain – but that’s my cabinet’s fault, not the recipe’s, no part of this process is more complicated than pouring things into a bowl or pressing the “on” button. And there is something incredibly soothing about watching flour, oats and flax spin around in a food processor.
The recipe calls for low-fat yogurt, but I figured since I was trying to make a healthy breakfast, I’d use Greek yogurt and get the protein in there, too. It works just fine, but you might need to add a bit of milk just to keep the liquids even – Greek yogurt is really thick!
Zesting is a lot of fun, but the first batch of these muffins was much too orangy. Calin didn’t really like that part of the flavor, and I’ll admit it turned me off a bit, too. The second time I made them, I included the orange juice but I skipped the zest. The flavor was much more muffiny.
If you’re using zest and juice, you really only need one orange (I was over zealous). It takes about half an orange to make enough zest, and 3/4 of the orange to make the juice. If you’re going to skip the zest, skip the oranges entirely and just use carton orange juice.
You have to admit, though, the zest is pretty.
It was really hard not to over-blend the batter. Since there’s so little liquid, it doesn’t feel like it’s all getting mixed together unless you keep going. That said, I’m sure I over-blended, and they came out just fine. Just make sure that you don’t have little pockets of dry flour in the bottom, and the blueberries are evenly distributed.
I used my silicon muffin pans, since I didn’t want to have to bother with muffin cups. We’re just eating these for breakfast, so I don’t need them to be pretty, I just need them to be delicious. I did learn, though, that the silicon pans take longer to cook by about 5-8 minutes.
They aren’t the most beautiful muffins. Since there’s very little liquid, the don’t really puff up much – they just stay pointy and uneven the way they are put in the muffin tins. So if you want them to be rounder, I would recommend smoothing off the batter in the cups before you bake them. That just seemed like too much work to me, so I didn’t bother.
Breakfast for a work week! Just a warning, though: keep these in the fridge if you’re going to take a week to eat them. My first batch was in tupperware on the counter for a whole week. I made them on Monday and we ate most of them during the week, but we skipped Saturday and when I went to finish them off on Sunday they were definitely past their prime. The second time, I kept them in tupperware in the fridge and we ate them fast enough to be done by Friday, which was perfect.
Whole-Grain Blueberry Muffins
Serves 12| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 40m
- 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled*
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal (available at natural-food stores)
- 1/4 cup pecans (I omitted and increased the oats and flax)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used Greek, and added a tiny bit of milk to help with the moisture)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 1/4 cup orange juice (I skipped the zest the second time – too orangy)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh blueberries or one 8-ounce bag frozen blueberries
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. (I skipped the papers and used a silicon pan.)
- In a food processor, process the flour, oats, flaxseed meal, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until finely ground.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, butter, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
- Fold in the blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.