Saturday, August 14, 2010

Raspberry Orange Muffins

Raspberries are both hard to come by and expensive for those of us living in Tokyo. Normally, I wouldn't think of doing something as "frivolous" as putting them into a baked item, but one of the local discount green grocer had a freezer case chock-full-of 1.1 lb. (500 gram) bags of frozen raspberries. "Oh happy day!" Unfortunately, I've had the experience all too often of these types of treats coming and going in a heartbeat never to return. I have the extremely temporary freedom to experiment with raspberries in my cooking.

Raspberry Orange Muffins (sugar-free, whole wheat, low-fat):
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
finely grated zest of one medium orange
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Splenda granular
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup frozen raspberries
  1. Add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the applesauce, egg, milk, orange zest, oil, vanilla, salt, and Splenda together.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the liquid mixture and gently stir just until the flour is moistened. Allow this to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C.). Spray the bottoms of 6 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle the baking powder over the mixture and stir until just mixed.
  6. Stir in the frozen raspberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the tins for at least 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen, pat gently if they stick to the bottom. Place on a rack for cooling.
It's very important to allow them to cool for awhile since the high fruit content will make them fragile until they are close to room temperature.

These were light and very tasty, though the orange zest gives them just a hint of bitterness on the first bite. If you're particularly sensitive to such flavors, you may want to simply omit the zest.

They are best within a few hours of baking, but you can revive the texture to near-fresh status if you freeze the leftovers (as early as possible-freezing stale muffins won't fix their staleness), thaw, then wrap in foil and heat them for about 5 minutes in the toaster oven. This is how I usually have my muffins since it takes several days to eat a batch of six of them.

Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:

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