Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Recently, I was thinking about zucchini bread. In fall in rural Pennsylvania, where I grew up, we were inundated with zucchini at this time of year and my grandmother used to make delicious zucchini bread. I decided that I'd try to modify that recipe to make it sugar-free and low-fat, but I found that it was rather tricky to get the correct moisture balance. My zucchini bread variation came out dense, wet, and with an unappealing texture. Any time that I work with a new fruit or vegetable, the ratios have to be carefully altered to avoid this soggy outcome.

For these blueberry muffins, and my earlier raspberry orange muffins, I had to work with a stiffer batter whereas I had to work with a wetter one for the chocolate muffins. If I overload a batter which includes added fruit or vegetables (or a puree of either), it's important to reduce the milk and applesauce to stop it from getting too mushy. The chemistry of baking seems simple until you start to tweak things, and then it can easily fall apart.

Fortunately, these blueberry muffins were an easy variation on the raspberry orange recipe and came out with a great texture and balanced moisture despite being liberally speckled with blueberries. I used unsweetened frozen blueberries from Radar Farms (a brand that Costco carries). You can use fresh ones, but that may affect the texture because frozen ones tend to have a fair amount of frozen juice around them. The baking time will definitely be affected if you use fresh because the frozen berries lower the overall temperature of the batter. If you use frozen berries, I wouldn't recommend thawing them out unless you want purple muffins.

Blueberry Muffins (sugar-free, whole wheat, low-fat):
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
juice of half a small lemon
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup Splenda granular
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
  1. Add the vinegar to the milk, stir, and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the applesauce, egg, milk, lemon juice, oil, 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 blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups.
  7. Bake for 30-35 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.

Nutrition calculations courtesy of the Sparkrecipes calculator:


  1. Well you have certainly made me hungry! I LOVE the fact that you are working with whole wheat with foods I LOVE. I had been buying whole wheat but at the retail price, I'd love to know where I can buy a larger bag, after I make one pizza (medium) I don't have enough for the next recipe...

    So, I'd love to save money there. I really do, love, apple sauce! My grandmother had moved to a rural area in PA, called the town of "Pillow", not too far from Harrisburg, and Lancaster. For me, it was like visiting another country, a bit of dutch with german, and nice, kind caring people, the carnivals and bake sales, shoo-fly-pie... I miss that place so much!!!!

  2. In Japan, the best place to get cheaper whole wheat flour is Tengu Natural Foods:

    A 5 kg. bag is only 1678 yen through them, though you do have to pay a little shipping. ;-)