When I was in college, I thought it would be nice if I made breakfast for everyone on Christmas morning. I ordered a special pancake mix, had real maple syrup, purchased sausages and tried to find a special coffee. During those days, none of us thought much about calories, carbohydrates, fats, or...well...much of anything else. Still, the family liked it...sort of.
I still haven't given up on making breakfast for the family for Christmas morning and this year was no different. This year, though, I decided to make muffins. Maple-glazed pumpkin-walnut muffins. I've made them before and people who love pumpkin tend to love these muffins. These muffins are incredibly easy to make and quite rich in flavor. I highly recommend them. The recipe is from the American Diabetes Association's The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts:
1/3c chopped walnuts
3/4c all-purpose flour
3/4c whole wheat flour
1/2c light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1c solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3c plain low-fat yogurt
1/4c canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (REAL maple syrup preferred, NOT a low-sugar substitute or a maple-flavored syrup)
Preheat the oven to 350F (176.7C). Line muffin tin with liners and coat the liners with cooking spray, set aside. Place walnuts on baking pan, single layer, and bake until lightly toasted, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool and keep oven at same temperature.
Combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk until well-blended. My aunt sent some organic graham flour with our Christmas presents, which I used instead of the normal whole wheat flour. It's a wonderful substitute and I highly recommend using graham flour in place of the standard whole wheat flour.
Next, combine pumpkin, yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl, whisking the ingredients until smooth. Carefully add flour mixture and walnuts to the mixture and stir with wooden spoon (my preference) until just moistened. This last instruction is the key to making tender muffins. If you over-stir muffin batter, muffins will become tough.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, dividing the batter equally between each muffin and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean.
Immediately brush the tops of the muffins with the maple syrup and allow the muffins to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on the rack. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature. These muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for 2 months. Makes 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffins. If making mini muffins, bake for 8-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Watch mini muffins closely, as they can burn quickly.
Each muffin has 174 calories, 8g fat, 24g carbohydrates, and 3g protein. Because of the whole wheat flour, these muffins aren't as bright orange as most pumpkin muffins are. While the maple is brushed on the top and not baked in, it's not an overwhelming flavor. Adding extra pumpkin pie spice makes for a spicier muffin, more like a pumpkin pie, and doesn't add any calories. There are lots of ways to make these muffins your own, so don't be afraid to experiment!
Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!