Saturday, March 05, 2011

Recipe for Made-from-Scratch Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Bran Muffins with Apple and Walnuts

Here we are on a weekend when so many food bloggers are talking about festive Mardi Gras Foods, and I'm giving you Made-from-Scratch Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Bran Muffins.  Oh my.  I hope that's not a sign that I am hopelessly un-hip, but I did promise on Twitter that I would share this recipe over the weekend, and I'm a woman who keeps her promises.   Besides, I like bran muffins, and my body reminds me often that eating more fiber is a good thing! 

When I saw a recipe for made-from scratch pear bran muffins (with no bran cereal) in the The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook it turned into one of those baking experiences where I have to make the recipe several times before I'm happy with it.  Right away I switched pears for apples (because I never have pears in the house, but almost always have apples.)  I made these three times, with quite a few changes from the inspiring recipe, but I thought the final version was just right.  These muffins are just slightly sweet, and to my taste they're much better than all those bran muffin recipes that use bran cereal as one of the main ingredients.

I used a mixture of Splenda and brown sugar in this recipe, which I've found gives better flavor than just Splenda alone. (Edit:  Nowdays I would probably use Stevia in the Raw Granulated in place of the Splenda.)  Of course if you want to use all Splenda (or even all brown sugar if you don't care about the whole low-sugar thing) please adapt to what works for you. I also used a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and almond meal in my muffins, but if you don't want to buy those I'm guessing white whole wheat flour would probably work.  (If people try variations of the recipe that are a success, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.)

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, wheat bran, Splenda, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

In a smaller bowl, beat the two eggs, then add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine.

You'll enjoy the muffins more if you take an extra minute or two and make sure the apple is very finely diced before you add it to the liquids.  I used an apple corer, then peeled off the skin and diced up the apple pieces.

I also took a couple of minutes to toast the walnuts in a dry pan before I chopped them, which also adds flavor.

I don't like big chunks of walnuts in cookies or bread, so I chopped them pretty finely.

Mix the finely chopped apples and walnuts into the wet ingredients.

Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just enough that all the dry ingredients are moistened.

Spray muffin cups or muffin pan with nonstick spray or oil, then divide the mixture among the muffin cups.  (If you use the small muffin cups like I did, they will be pretty full.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean.  Let muffins cool a little before eating.  You can keep these muffins in the fridge for quite a few days, and I am sure they will freeze well, although I haven't frozen any yet because I keep eating them!

Made-from-Scratch Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Bran Muffins with Apple and Walnuts
(Makes 12 small muffins; recipe adapted with quite a few changes from Pear Bran Muffins in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook.)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal (this is coarser than almond flour, but I'm guessing almond flour will also work)
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup Splenda, Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sweetener, or sugar (use Splenda or Stevia for South Beach Diet)
2 T brown sugar (or use 2 T more Splenda or Stevia if you want even less sugar)
1 1/2  tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
3 T grapeseed or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 apple, peeled and cut into very small dice (1/4 inch or less)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (preferably  toasted before chopping; can also use other nuts of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Spray muffin cups or muffin pan with nonstick spray or oil.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, wheat bran, Splenda (or Stevia Granulated or sugar), brown sugar (or more Splenda or Stevia Granulated), ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  

Beat eggs in smaller bowl, then stir in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.  Remove apple core and peel the apple, then finely chop apple pieces and add to liquid ingredients.  Toast walnuts for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan over high heat, just until they start to become fragrant.  Then finely chop walnuts and add to liquid ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just enough so that all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Use a large spoon to divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Bake at 350F/180C for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out completely clean.

Let muffins cool for a few minutes before eating.  These muffins will keep well in the fridge for quite a few days.  I am sure they would freeze well, although I haven't frozen any yet.  To reheat, microwave for about 30 seconds.  (I like to eat them hot with Brummel and Brown Natural Yogurt Spread.)

South Beach Suggestions: 
Even with the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar that I used, these muffins are pretty low in sugar and I would eat them for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  Using almond meal makes the muffins more low-glycemic, but nuts are a calorie-dense food, so use portion control. I'd probably limit it to one muffin for phase 2 and two muffins for phase 3.

Ten More Whole Wheat Muffins You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Pecans from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Low-Sugar and Flourless Zucchini Muffins with Pecans from Kalyn's Kitchen
Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins with Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins from Pinch My Salt
Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins from Joy the Baker
Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffins from Farmgirl Fare
Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Ricotta Muffins from Andrea Meyers
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins from Eat Me, Delicious
Whole Wheat Quinoa Muffins from Enlightened Cooking
Whole Wheat Muffins with Raisins and Dried Cranberries from Daily Musings
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I adore bran muffins, and I've always made them with bran cereal, but this recipe looks like a great alternative. I often have pears in the house, but not always apples. I think ripe pears have more moisture than ripe apples, so I wonder if that will change the texture of the muffins.

Kalyn said...

Lydia, I'm guessing it will work with pears. At least I didn't change the amount of liquid when I subbed apples, and in fact I added more Splenda and brown sugar, so I added more dry ingredients (although almond meal is probably less dry than flour, who who knows.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kalyn, I'm always looking for healthy muffin recipes and this one sounds terrific, with whole grain flour, almond meal, apples and high fiber walnuts. I've been using almond flour in more recipes for its protein and fiber content. I'll be trying a gluten-free version of this recipe since I have a new gluten-free child to consider. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

Joanne said...

I actually think these make you decidedly hip and ahead of the game. These are what people will want to make after they've maxed on out rich king cake and beer-battered catfish. They look so good!

Elena said...

Your recipe is delicious, I tried today because I am in love wth the taste of apple-almonds-walnuts.
Congrats for the idea!

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, if you come up with a good gluten-free version would love to hear how you have adjusted the recipe.

Joanne, thanks! So happy to hear that I am at least a little bit hip!

Elena, thank you for that nice feedback! So glad you enjoyed the muffins.

Doren said...

thanks so much... just going back to phase one south beach, so will have to wait, but I always like recipes like this!

Kalyn said...

Doren, in two weeks you can make these muffins!

Val said...

These look so good. I think I will try making some soon. Or better yet I am secretly hoping you will bake them for me sometime because I think they may taste even better.

Kalyn said...

Val, would love to bake them for you. Aren't you due for a trip to Salt Lake soon?

Maria said...

I have always enjoyed bran muffins. I love the apples and walnuts in this recipe.

Kalyn said...

Thanks Maria, me too!

Elle said...

I made these today - they are wonderful!
I used all brown sugar (I don't use artificial sweetners), a combination of apple+pear and pecan nuts.

I'm just having the first one with my tea, and just might have a second also...

Thanks Kalyn! this recipe is a keeper!

Kalyn said...

Elle, thanks for telling us about your variation and so glad you are enjoying the recipe!

Mei said...

Hi Kalyn,

I was searching for low-sugar desserts or snacks and google led me to your blog. Wow you have a lot of healthy recipes shared here... I haven't browsed much yet and I'm already enjoying looking at your recipes. I'm choosing this one to try out. I'm not a very good cook so wish me luck!lol

Kalyn said...

Thanks Mei, and I do wish you luck! Hope you like the recipe.

kg said...

I made these this morning, looking for a breakfast alternative to eggs. I started the recipe before I read it, so I had to "make" my own buttermilk, pecans instead of walnuts and I substituted flax for bran. Turned out wonderful! I am phase two right now but I did not use splenda - I made splenda cookies that were just revolting! Terrible aftertaste! So I did use all brown sugar...

Thanks again Kalyn!

Kalyn said...

KG, I like Splenda best with a little brown sugar mixed with it, but do whatever works for you.

Chigiy Binell said...

Hi Kalyn, I promised myself that I would get back into baking from scratch and cooking more. i have been cheating a lot lately with boxes and ready made crap from the store:(. This muffin recipe looks like the ticket to get me started baking again. Yum.

Kalyn Denny said...

Chigiy, hope you enjoy. I would probably make these with Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sweetener nowdays.

Susannah Matthews said...

Hi are these good for phase 1? There are only so many eggs I can eat, and I need a breakfast recipe that is fairly easy as I work shifts and often have to take my breakfast in with me. If you have any other ideas I would be open to hearing them : ) thanks

Kalyn Denny said...

The phase is always given right after the printer friendly recipe. Grains aren't allowed for phase one, so these are phase 2 or 3. I haven't come up with any great ideas for phase one breakfasts without eggs, but some readers have shared ideas in the comments here.

Bonnie Olson said...

I make a similar recipe. I like to use less bran and substitute flax meal, whole rolled oats and/or buckwheat. You can also omit the brown sugar and reduce the buttermilk by adding 1/4 cup applesauce (they come in packs of six single serve containers, which are perfect for this recipe). If the muffins seem a little dry you can also substitute 1 Tbsp of honey instead of the brown sugar, as honey is a natural humectant.

Kalyn Denny said...

Bonnie I'm trying to get a recipe that's as low in sugar as possible so adding either applsesauce or honey wouldn't work for me (or for anyone else who's following South Beach) but I'm sure your recipe is delicious.

Jojo said...

Hello Kalyn! I made these muffins today and they are wow, delicious! Since I started menopause I have been craving sweets like crazy. The problem is I have type 2 diabetes, so I
am limited to my sugar intake.
So I bake my own and your wonderful low sugar, high fibre recipes are just what I need.

Thank you so much,

Kalyn Denny said...

JoJo, so glad you like them!

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