Most of the time I really don’t love it when food that is supposed to be indulgent is transformed into something “healthy.” It usually isn’t even worth eating. It’s kind of mean even. Who wants to find out that delicious looking brownie is actually a piece of cardboard? Or dates? And isn’t it sad when your mac and cheese isn’t creamy? It’s sad. You know what else is sad: this empty coffee mug. Someone fill it up please?
I’m a “give me the real thing and I will try to just eat less of it” kinda gal. I very rarely succeed, but that’s what spinning is for. Right?
Muffins, to me, are really the only thing that could be considered an indulgence that I will allow us to tweak and make healthy. Ok and bread. We can reduce the fat, we can add things that are good for us. But that is only because they are supposed to be breakfast. And every doctor ever just wants us to eat a healthy breakfast. Like, put down that donut. Immediately.
So rather than eating cake for breakfast, but not trying to cut out the parts that taste good, I’ve made these antioxidant muffins. First of all, if you haven’t heard, pumpkin is an amazing superfood. It dons capes and rescues damsels from the clutches of donuts. It’s full of fiber, it’s loaded with beta-carotene (an antioxidant that is linked to cancer prevention), IT PREVENTS WRINKLES (by neutralizing free-radicals), and it’s high in potassium and vit C AND it will keep baked goods moist, while allowing you to significantly reduce fat. Whoa. Then we’re going to add cranberries, dark chocolate, and honey, all known antioxidants
whose who’s whose benefits are also multifaceted (even if the chocolate’s only other benefit is being delicious).
Pumpkin Antioxidant Muffins
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Yield: 16 muffins
2 large eggs
1 c 2% milk
1 c canned cooked pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 c honey
1/4 c extra light virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla2 c ap flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 c dark chocolate chips
1 c fresh cranberries
1/2 c chopped walnuts
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°.
Grease a standard muffin pan or line with paper or silicone liners. Because these muffins are lower in fat, if you use paper liners you will want to also spray them with cooking spray to prevent the muffins from sticking to them.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or cream, sugar, butter or oil, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, about 12 to 18 minutes depending on how big the muffins are. (Muffins with fruit in them will take longer.) Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack. Serve as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours of baking.
My table is a mess. #Noshame.