Writing recipes for a health/diet oriented magazine, requires experimenting with transforming “regular” recipes to ones that will be friendlier to the readers’ requests. It’s not so easy, especially when it comes to cakes and desserts. The results are not always edible, to put it mildly, and it requires quite a few trials in order to come up with a texture that’s moist and flavorful, yet not rubbery or heavy due to using whole wheat flour and less fat and sugar.
I found out that the best results come when you’re not trying to be an over-achiever. Totally non-fat-no sugar concoctions will just not do it in the long run. There’s so much hay one can eat in a lifetime, and life is really too short for such tortures… On the other hand, I’m not going to tell you that these muffins taste like a rich chocolate muffin with a cream cheese frosting – they’re just not. Yet, they are tasty and light and will be great as a quick breakfast or a lunch snack.
* The “Five spice Powder” (a mixture of Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and Fennel seeds) is not commonly used in cakes, but I find it gives cakes a great aroma and taste. If you don’t have it, or prefer not to use it, just use an Apple Pie Mix, or just cinnamon. Whatever works for you.
If you feel like topping the muffins with frosting, just mix some thick yogurt (2% fat at least; the o% are just plain awful) or sour cream, with some honey or brown sugar.
Makes: 18 med size muffins
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
½ cup golden raisins
¾ cup whole milk
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup roughly chopped carrots (from about 2 ½ carrots)
1 cup roughly chopped, peeled, Granny Smith apple (from 1 medium)
¾ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp “Five spice Powder”
¼ tsp salt
1. In a large bowl, soak the raisins in the milk for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 380F (190C). Line 18 holes in 2 medium size muffin pans, or place 18 heavy-duty foil/paper muffin cups on a large pan.
2. With a potato masher, roughly mash the bananas into the milk and raisins. Add the carrots, apple, brown sugar, oil, and eggs, and mix well.
Combine the flours, baking powder, salt and spice mix in a bowl and whisk together (or sift through a sifter) and add to the bowl. Mix just until combined.
3. Fill the muffin cups up to ¾ of their height. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out almost clean. (Do not over bake – the muffins should be moist). Cool on racks to room temperature. The muffins can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to a month.