Top tips for muffin magic
WHO doesn't love a freshly baked muffin with a cuppa?
I know it's one of my favourite treats, but be aware they can be very high in fat.
I remember years ago buying one from a muffin shop and when I got it home, the bag was saturated in oil. That is when I started making my own low-fat versions.
Making the perfect muffin does take a little skill as muffins are a little delicate. You mustn't overbeat the mix, otherwise they come out rubbery and tough.
If you have overbeaten the mix, you get what looks like a nose on the side of the muffin instead of a nice round top. When you make low-fat muffins, as in my cookbooks, you get to enjoy your favourites guilt-free, so here are some tips for muffin fans:
Muffins are very versatile and can be sweet or savoury, freeze well and are loved by many.
Grated carrot or zucchini are great in sweet or savoury muffins.
They add fibre and help protect the ingredients from getting tough when being stirred.
I make a few batches and individually wrap them before freezing so that the family can grab one for school or work and they will be defrosted by morning tea.
Commercially bought muffins can be high in fat, especially when they have cream cheese on the top or are spread with butter. They often are quite large, too, so beware they can be high in calories.
It is much better to go for low-fat options where possible.
Adding dried fruit or mashed banana to the mix means you can reduce the amount of sugar used in the recipe. Dried fruit adds fibre so is a better choice than cane sugar.
I replace the butter, oil or margarine in muffin recipes with half-a-cup of apple sauce and three-quarters of a teaspoon of bicarb soda. This cuts the fat count considerably and the bicarb will lighten the texture.
Doing muffins this way means they will be very low in fat. They are even more delicate so handle with care when folding the mixture.
Instead of putting loads of nuts into the mixture which can bump the fat count up, sprinkle some chopped nuts on top of each muffin before baking.
This way, you use fewer and reduce the fat count but you still get to enjoy the taste of the nuts.
Annette's cookbooks Symply Too Good To Be True 1-6 are sold in newsagencies or visit Annette's website at symplytoogood.com.au.
APRICOT AND ALMOND MUFFINS
3/4 cup dried apricots chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup (250ml) boiling water
2 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond essence
2 cups self-raising flour
20g blanched almond flakes
Preheat oven 180ºC fan-forced.
Mix together apricots, bicarb soda and water in a small mixing bowl, then let stand for 15 minutes.
Beat egg whites and sugar together in a medium-size mixing bowl for 1 minute.
Add almond essence and apricots to egg mixture. Gently fold flour into mixture in one go, treating as a sponge.
Do not beat as this will make the muffins tough. Once ingredients are just combined, spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans, dividing equally into 10 cups.
Sprinkle almond flakes over the tops of muffins then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked.