Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins


I love blueberry muffins. In fact, they're the only way my mother ever got me to eat blueberries when I was a kid and in what I'm sure was some state of denial, I referred to them as purple muffins and ate them primarily because they were pretty.


That being said, I've rarely touched a blueberry in any other way for most of my life... A smoothie now and then or the occasional blueberry pancakes will tempt me, but I've never been one for eating blueberries raw and on their own. There's something about the texture that I've never really liked. That said, blueberries are an amazing source of antioxidants and touted as a superfood by many, so I like to incorporate them into my diet however and whenever I can.

Similarly, I've never been a fan of oatmeal, or porridge as it's called here in the UK. First of all, it's grey and dreary looking... Secondly, it slightly resembles slop. Getting me to eat such un-pretty food as a child was impossible. Getting me to eat it now is nearly as difficult, but oatmeal is also a worthy source of goodness in a diet, chiefly because it's praised for lowering cholesterol and containing antioxidants of its own. Read about 10 health benefits of eating oatmeal here.



So, reason tells me that if there's a way I can trick myself into eating two superfoods in a way I can enjoy, then we have a winner! And the winner is Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins - they're delicious and the oatmeal gives a moist bit of texture to the muffins that I love. In fact, I love these muffins more than any other blueberry muffins I've ever had.

The downside to this is that there is sugar in this recipe. My opinion may be unpopular amongst the healthy eaters of the world, but I figure if it gets me eating superfoods that are good for me that I might not eat otherwise, I'm incredibly happy about overlooking a bit of sugar.


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (350g) plain white flour (or all purpose flour)
3/4 (175g) cups rolled oats (these are the flat ones - not steel cut)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup (about 175ml) non-fat skim milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (about 125g, but best to measure in 1/2 cup measuring cup if possible)
1/4 cup (60g) granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
1 vanilla pod seeded or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175g) fresh or frozen blueberries (I've used both - both work well)


Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cups.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a whisk or fork.
  4. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, create a well in the center of the bowl and set aside.
  5. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, brown sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir together with a whisk until combined.
  6. Add the egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture, pouring it into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula if you have one, just until moistened and lumpy. Muffin batters are always best when lumpy. 
  7. Fold the blueberries in gently until they are mixed in well with the batter.
  8. Spoon the batter into the cups of the muffin tin. Sprinkle a tiny bit of granulated sugar on the top of each soon-to-be muffin (optional). This creates a bit of a crispy muffin top that's just delightful.
  9. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 16 to 20 minutes. 
  10. Cool for 5 minutes on a plate in their cups. Best served warm, but delicious when cool too.
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