What is the perfect fall muffin you ask?
Well, first, it's absolutely delicious: moist, flavorful and filling.
Second: it's good for you – both your health and your soul – not only because of the flaxseeds that contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, but also because it's packed with fiber from oat bran, fresh fruits and vegetables. You'll feel full longer with less of a sugar crash than most muffins, as much of its sweetness comes naturally.
Finally, this muffin has the taste of the harvest season: warm cinnamon with a touch of vanilla, rich fruits and a comforting wholesomeness. Combining apples, raisins, carrots and oranges with whole wheat flour, flax seeds and oat bran, you'll get the right sustenance to rake through a pile of leaves, dodge raindrops or haul the world's largest pumpkin home this season.
Heat up The Perfect Fall Muffin and enjoy with hot apple cider and a dab of butter for breakfast, eat it alone as a fulfilling afternoon snack, or savor it as a delicious dessert with a snifter of apple brandy after dinner – or do all three!
Ever made a muffin with a blender? Grab these ingredients and get ready to bake – and remember to buy organic whenever possible:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 ¾ cups oat bran
¾ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup nonfat dry milk
¼ cup flaxseed
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrot
2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple, with or without peel
1 cup raisins
1 cup milk, fat-free or skim is fine
¼ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1 juicy orange
(Makes approximately 28 muffins)
1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Line cupcake pans with muffin cups and coat the cups lightly with cooking spray.
2. Spoon flours into measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine the first ten ingredients (all-purpose flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Stir in carrot, apple and raisins.
3. Peel and quarter the orange, removing seeds and the central part of the pith. Combine milk, oil, vanilla, egg whites and orange (with rind) in a blender (or food processor) until smooth.
4. Slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
5. Spoon 3 tablespoons of batter into each cup, and bake for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove muffins from pans immediately, cool and enjoy!
• Use dried cranberries instead of raisins, two tangerines instead of one large orange, and add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg for a "winter" version of this fall muffin.
• The flaxseed may be ground for a bigger health benefit, as whole flax seeds sometimes pass through the body intact.
• Bake as a bread in a 9"x 5" loaf pan – just lower your oven's heat to 350° and cook for 25 minutes; if it does not spring back when touched lightly, add an additional five minutes. Also, great as a gift.